FAQ's

What is BURA?
BURA is the Biology Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship program.

BURA is the Biology Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship program.
BURA was founded to create a framework for linking undergraduates and research laboratories in the biological sciences at UMass. Every semester BURA places about 50 students in research laboratories. Our goal is to offer a straightforward mechanism for students to learn about research opportunities and for researchers to learn about great UMass undergraduates. In addition, we hope to alleviate the otherwise mystifying process of contacting faculty and figuring out which labs have undergraduate opportunities.

Who can apply to BURA?
BURA is designed to help Biology majors have a meaningful laboratory experience in the biological sciences. First years considering a Biology major are also welcome to apply.

Which labs can post projects on BURA?
Any laboratories at UMass Amherst that pursue biological research are welcome to post projects here.

Why can I only apply to 3 projects?
The three project limit is designed to encourage students to really think about the projects they're interested in, rather than just applying to all of them.

Why does BURA post the number of applications for each project?
This is to help applicants gauge the competitiveness of each position. The more applicants, the less likely it is for you to get a position. Note, some research mentors will read through all the applications; others will read through until the find a match. If you see there are 50+ applications, the odds are slim that your application will be chosen.

How important is the cover letter?
It is super important! This is your chance to distinguish yourself from the other applicants. How? Well, the fact that you’re reading this is already a great start. In the cover letter let prospective mentors know what you can contribute to the lab: e.g. the number of hours per week, your interest level, your background, evidence of worm commitment/maturity/experience working with other in any capacity. You’ll write a good cover letter if you keep in mind that it is more important to let people know why you are good for the job than why the job is good for you!

Who is running BURA and how do I contact them?
Prof. Markstein runs the BURA program and is happy to help you out. She wrote the instructions on this site and can help you out if you have questions about them and/pr questions enrolling. Send your questions to:
bura@bio.umass.edu. . Please include your SPIRE ID username in your email.

Helpful links:
Advice on Writing Resumes and Cover Letters
CNS Career Center
UMass Biology Department website
UMass home page