Undergraduate student researchers and volunteers contribute significantly to research in the Department of Natural History. Each year, several hundred undergraduate students work on projects, including fieldwork, laboratory experiments, curatorial activities in the museum collections, and exhibit development.

These projects allow early researchers to gain experience working with research collections and analyzing and interpreting data alongside a team of professional scholars. In being part of the discovery process, students are encouraged to ask questions and develop research projects to suit their own interests and build a foundation for potential future investigations after graduation. As well as more informal work with museum researchers, there are also two competitive UF programs, the Emerging Scholars Program and the University Scholars Program, which provide stipends for selected students to work with mentors – see below for more information.


Students interested in volunteering, doing an internship, performing research for a senior thesis or class-based project, or registering for research credit, should consult museum faculty and staff in their area of focus. There is also a UF training module on how to be a successful undergraduate researcher available here.


The Emerging Scholars Program provides a stipend to undergraduate students involved in research projects with UF mentors. It is open to students in their freshman or sophomore year, with no prior formal research experience. Applications are typically due in November, and research will take place in the following Spring and Summer or Fall semesters.


The University Scholars Program provides a stipend to more advanced undergraduate students involved in research projects with UF mentors. Applications are typically due in February, and research takes place during the following Fall and Spring semester – students cannot be graduating before the latter semester.

Getting to know a museum researcher by working in their lab is an obvious advantage before considering applying for either the ESP or USP program. The FLMNH is allotted a certain number of places for these programs, and if necessary the museum’s University Teaching Committee will review and rank applications. More detailed application information will be provided here when available. If you have additional questions please contact Dr. Keith Willmott (kwillmott@flmnh.ufl.edu).