As one of the world’s top environmental science institutions and with public and private funding of more than $173 million annually supporting faculty, staff, and students working on climate, ecology, natural resource management, marine, earth and space processes, opportunities for undergraduates to get involved with research in College of the Environment as early as their freshmen year abound.

Finding research opportunities

One of the best ways to find a research opportunity at UW is to ask a professor whose work you are interested in about opportunities in his or her lab. Talk to your graduate student TA’s to learn about the labs they work in and who they work with. The Office of Undergraduate Research also maintains the Research Opportunities Database which has a listing of research opportunities.

FieldNotes Journal

Undergraduate students in our College created this journal to provide undergraduates with diverse ways to share their environmental research and engage a broader community. Visit the FieldNotes website to learn how to get involved. It’s also a great resource for learning about the kinds of research current students are involved with. Plus the photography is phenomenal!

Undergraduate Research Symposium

The annual Undergraduate Research Symposium is one of the largest undergraduate research symposia in the country, with over 1,000 students presenting. Held each spring, the Symposium offers students the opportunity to present their research experiences to a larger audience. Attend the symposium and talk to your peers about the research they’re working on, who they work with and how they got involved.

Mary Gates Research Scholarships

Mary Gates Research Scholarships provide funding for undergraduates to engage in research guided by faculty. The scholarships are designed to support students financially so that they can focus more time and attention on their research project.

GEODUC Scholars

Incoming transfer students have the unique opportunity to participate in a two-week immersive experience aboard our research vessels and at Friday Harbor Labs, our marine field station. You’ll learn how to create your own independent research project, conduct hands-on field and laboratory experiments, and gain practical experience in marine sciences! All expenses are covered, and you’ll receive a $1,400 stipend upon program completion. Learn more about the GEODUC program and apply here.

IBIS: Identity, Belonging, and Inquiry in Science

The Identity, Belonging, and Inquiry in Science (IBIS) program offers sophomore+ marine science undergraduates a chance to develop and execute a research project under the guidance of a graduate student mentor. You’ll be paired with a mentor based on your research interests, and will work with them throughout the school year before presenting your research at the UW Undergraduate Research Symposium. All sophomore+ and EOP eligible or affiliated marine science students are encouraged to apply, and program participants will receive a $700 stipend for participation.

Washington Applied Sustainability Internship

Are you looking for a summer internship that links traditional STEM education with sustainable business and industry? Check out the Washington Applied Sustainability Internship (WASI) program, open to Washington-based undergraduate juniors and seniors in business, economics, engineering, and environmental sciences. You’ll research pollution prevention opportunities for your host business and make recommendations that increase environmental health and safety, such as methods for emissions reduction, energy efficiency, and more. Internships are full-time, paid, 10-week appointments.

Applied Physics Lab

UW’s Applied Physics Laboratory hosts a two-month summer internship, the Diverse + Inclusive Naval Oceanographic (DINO) program, which offers undergraduate students the opportunity to conduct research and gain experience in the fields of oceanography, polar science, environmental engineering, data analytics, and more. You can pick from a number of themes to guide your research, and you’ll develop skills that help you navigate a career pathway in maritime and oceanographic STEM fields. DINO is a paid program, and summer housing is also provided. Members of historically underrepresented groups in STEM fields are highly encouraged to apply.


EarthLab summer interns work with partner organizations on interdisciplinary research projects, ranging from climate resiliency to wildlife conservation to environmental communications and more. You’ll be part of a small cohort of students, all working within the intersection of climate change and social justice. Receive one-on-one mentorship, professional experience, and benefit from the collaborative cohort-model! Internships are paid, and application and program information can be found here.


Spend your summer in the San Juan Islands at UW’s Friday Harbor Labs! The REU-Blinks internship program matches undergraduate students with scientist-mentors to collaborate on marine research projects. You’ll gain valuable scientific research experience through the support of 1:1 mentorship, workshops, seminars, and hands-on data collection, which will culminate in a short presentation of your results and a scientific paper. Room and board, travel, and a weekly stipend are included.

Visions Cruise

Undergraduate oceanography students can participate in at-sea research by registering for OCEAN 411: Research and Discovery. During a series of summer cruises, you’ll learn how to use Jason, a deep diving robotic vehicle, and conduct your own research projects using the data and imagery you collect. In Autumn quarter, you’ll work to finish your research project and present your results in a symposium. Hone your science communication skills and be a part of groundbreaking ocean science and exploration!


The Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team, or COASST, is a citizen science program run through UW’s School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. Recruitment for undergraduate interns takes place each academic quarter, and students receive credits for internship hours. You’ll work with staff to manage and analyze data from beach surveys, and have opportunities to participate in field work during the quarter. Learn more and apply on the COASST website!