Biology Student Opportunities

From honors programs, scholarships, to engaging learning opportunities, WSU’s Biology Department provides our students with a number of resources. 

We believe that students deserve learning experiences outside of the traditional classroom setting to prepare them for their future careers. And, we give them the support they need along the way. 

Honors in Biology 

The Honors in Biology program gives high-performing students an intimate and meaningful process of biological inquiry. This is a great opportunity for students who want to advance their involvement in the field of biology. 

Any science can be described as having two major aspects:

  1. an organized body of knowledge obtained from coursework
  2. a formal way of adding new information to the existing body of knowledge

Thus, science is related to method and process, and it is not merely a collection of factual information.

Our department believes that to prepare for advanced careers in biology, students should be directly involved in the process of biological inquiry. This program is designed to provide this advanced opportunity to eligible biology majors.

Students who are admitted into the Honors in Biology Program and successfully complete the process will, upon graduation have their:

  • Official transcripts stamped with the words “Graduated with Honors in Biology”
  • Transcript show the title of their honors thesis
  • Graduation status (Honors in Biology) indicated on the graduation program

To be eligible for the Honors in Biology Program, a student must:

  • Be a Biology (any Option), CLS or Cytotechnology or a Life Science Major
  • Have completed the biology core sequence (Basics of Life, Organismal Diversity, Ecology, Cell Biology and Genetics)
  • Have a 3.75 GPA both overall and within their major
  • Identify a WSU faculty member who is willing to serve as a research advisor to the student
  • Apply for and be granted admission into the Honors in Biology Program by the Biology Department Honors Committee prior to the preliminary proposal deadline of the last Friday in September

Students will be recognized as having successfully completed the Honors in Biology Program after satisfying the following requirements:

  1. Complete two Seminars in Biology (BIOL 495) in non-concurrent semesters and presentation of their original research in one of the seminars
  2. Complete a preliminary proposal at a preliminary proposal session. The preliminary proposal sessions will be open to all interested students and faculty. The date of the preliminary proposal sessions is normally the last Friday in September. The preliminary proposal is less about the mentor’s science and more about developing a collegial exchange of scientific ideas among the students and the attending faculty.
  3. Give an oral presentation of their research at the WSU Research Celebration
  4. Submit and gain approval of an Honors Thesis in the appropriate format and style as determined by the research advisor. Evaluation and approval of the thesis will be by the major professor and one other biology faculty member of the student’s choice.
  5. Submit 2 final and fully approved copies of the Honor Thesis and an electronic copy to the committee

Students who perform research or other scholarly activity that significantly exceeds normal capstone research in quality and/or quantity may petition the Honors Committee in writing and provide a written copy of the research report.

If the honors committee is impressed with the student’s research or other scholarly activity, then the honors committee may award Honors in Biology to a student not otherwise eligible.

Research Programs


All students are expected to complete a capstone project with a mentor of their choosing. These capstone projects expose our students to the fundamental skills required to carry out research projects. 

The Biology Faculty page includes a listing of projects. Collaborations with other universities (Mayo Clinic), companies (Red Bull) and state departments such as the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) give students a glimpse into future possibilities and potential careers.

Clinical Research Projects

In collaboration with the local Winona Health Hospital, students are invited to participate in mentored clinical research projects. This new and exciting opportunity provides training and exposure to clinically-oriented research and is open to all pre-professional students. For more information please contact Osvaldo Martinez or visit Winona Health Careers.

Summer Research

A summer research project or internship can be an excellent way for students to explore new areas and get practical experience. It can also strengthen applications for jobs, graduate schools, and professional schools. 

Many opportunities exist for WSU students to take part in summer research. Talk with your academic advisor for more information.


In addition to the general scholarships at WSU, students in the Biology programs can apply for many scholarships from the WSU Foundation.

Apply for WSU Foundation Scholarships
Faculty-Led Travel Study 

The Biology Department offers several opportunities for faculty-led travel programs throughout the academic year. 

The programs are designed to encourage you to engage in critical thinking, experience first-hand the value systems and diverse lifestyles of other cultures, all while participating in a meaningful service-learning project. 

The interdisciplinary programs enhance student global and cultural awareness through constant engagement and reflection.

Explore Faculty-Led Travel Programs


Want to take your education to the next level? An internship is a great way to take classroom material and apply it to the real world. In addition to gaining real-world experience in the field, internship allow students a chance to further their education while furthering their career.

Explore these internship opportunities, and search for more internships with Handshake : 

Other Resources

Contact the Biology Department
Biology Department
Pasteur 220
Email the Biology Department
Mary Diekmann
Office Manager


Email Mary Diekmann
Dr. Amy Runck
Department Chair
Email Amy Runck
Social Media