Research projects

Research projects

Project work is built into our degrees from the beginning. There's a week-long field course based in Sheffield in your first week of university, and research projects based around first and second year modules on genetics, computer modelling, behaviour, species interactions, conservation and climate change.

This training is designed to prepare you for a major research project in third year and, if you do one of our MBiolSci courses, a more advanced research project in fourth year.

Third year projects

A big part of third year is devoted to a major research project. You'll choose a topic and be allocated a supervisor who will help you decide what you're going to investigate, design your experiments, write up your findings and draw your conclusions.

It's a great opportunity to pull together all of the scientific skills you've developed so far, and produce a substantial piece of work that you can put on your CV. 

Fourth year projects

– MBiolSci students only

If you do one of our MBiolSci courses, you'll do a more advanced research project in your fourth year. You'll be based in one of our research laboratories, working alongside professional scientists and with access to state-of-the-art equipment.

You'll get extra training for a career in research, including data analysis, applying for grants and publishing your findings. Some students' research has appeared in peer-reviewed academic journals before they've graduated.

Example projects

  • Using crowd-sourced data to perform a genome-wide association study of handedness in humans
  • Are urban invertebrates influenced by invasive plants?
  • Managing grasslands for productivity and carbon sequestration in the face of climate change
  • When is ecotourism useful for tropical conservation?
  • An investigation into factors affecting grey squirrels’ food-hoarding decisions
  • An investigation into the genetic basis for ‘skin-teeth’ in the small-spotted catshark
  • How do ducks distribute themselves in relation to their food?
Ecology and Conservation Biology
  • The impacts of selective logging on Bornean birds
  • Preservation of agricultural peatlands using water table management under ambient and elevated levels of CO2
  • The long-term effects of grazing on oak- birch woodland biodiversity and invasion in the Peak District National Park
Plant Sciences
  • Are there biomechanical constraints on seed size between and within species?
  • Autumn leaf colouration: Testing the two main evolutionary hypotheses
  • The role of soil mycorrhiza in sustainable agriculture


Undergraduate research on BBC News

Research project

Undergraduate students Charlotte Atherton, Thomas Gomersall, Marcus Wells and Benjamin Boxall worked with Dr Donatella Zona and postgraduate Samuel Musarika on a project looking at the relationship between the water table in agricultural peatlands and the UK's greenhouse gas emissions.

The work was published in the journal Science of the Total Environment and was covered by BBC News.

Full story

Sheffield Undergraduate Research Experience

Each year undergraduates can apply to join the Sheffield Undergraduate Research Experience scheme. This gives you a bursary to spend around 10 weeks working with one of our department's research groups over the summer break.

You'll be able to get first-hand experience of major research projects and can even lead to your name appearing in an academic journal.