Undergraduate Research

Many research laboratories in the Department of Biomedical Engineering accept qualified undergraduate students into their research programs. Students can participate in research either as a work-study student (if he/she qualifies) or a paid undergraduate research assistant.

Research Internship Program

While students can sign up for BMEN 3998 as often as they wish, only 3 credit points can be counted towards technical elective requirements. The research credit may be considered engineering content depending on the nature of the project. At no time can a student be both paid and receive credit for performing research.

Students interested in doing research should identify their research interests and contact individual professors for possible research positions in their laboratories. At the end of the semester, a report detailing your research must be submitted to your adviser. The report and your performance during the semester will form the basis of your grade.

Research conducted outside Biomedical Engineering may be taken for credit (if appropriate) by signing up for BMEN 3998 under your Biomedical Engineering academic adviser, who will serve as an administrative liaison between your research supervisor and the Department. The following conditions must be met by the research project to be appropriate for BMEN E3998:

  • The research project must fall within the large subject area of biomedical engineering and contain sufficient engineering content. This can be judged from a short description of the project (< 1 page) which will be assessed by your BME adviser.
  • Your external adviser must provide the following information (an email is sufficient)
  1. that you will not be paid for the research
  2. that you will be performing the work for credit
    • 1 credit = 5 hr. per week commitment
    • you can enroll for up to 3 credits per semester
  3. that you will be assigned a letter grade for your performance
  4. a description of how you will be assessed, e.g., a final paper, a poster, a presentation, etc.

At the end of the semester, in addition to your research activities, you are required to provide your BME advisor a written report detailing your research activities. The report should take the form of a scientific paper of no more than five single-spaced pages, structured into these four sections: introduction, methods, results, and discussion . The report and your performance during the semester will form the basis of your grade.

Summer Research

Many research laboratories in the Department of Biomedical Engineering also accept qualified undergraduate students into their summer research programs through internship, research assistantship, or work-study. During the summer research, students can elect to receive credits for their technical elective requirement by taking BMEN E3998: Projects in Biomedical Engineering. Many faculty members also participate in the University-wide SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship) program. Qualified students are encouraged to participate in this University-wide competition.

Research at BME

Our Department hosts an exceptional range of cutting-edge and world-class research laboratories housed in over 50,000 square feet of space in the Morningside Heights and Health Sciences campuses.


Contact individual faculty to inquire if you can volunteer in their lab.

SURF Program

The Department of Biological Sciences at Columbia University offers Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships to a select group of motivated undergraduate students who will benefit from the opportunity for hands-on biology related laboratory research.