STEM Summer Research - Glasgow Courses

You will earn 6 research credits over 6 weeks, conducting faculty-supervised, hands-on, directed study research projects with results that will culminate in the preparation of a research paper. You will complete a minimum of 240 hours on research in and out of the laboratory.

Faculty mentors will work closely with you to direct your continued growth and knowledge development in the chosen research topic discipline.

  • Make sure your courses transfer back for credit with your home school – this is your responsibility.

Choosing Your Research Project

  • Review Project titles and descriptions below.
  • List 3 (in order of preference) in your Academic Preferences Form, using GLAS as the course code.
  • Program is highly individualized, with limited enrollment.
  • You will need to complete a brief Literature Review in consultation with your research supervisor prior to departure before the start of the program. More details here.
  • We encourage you to contact Arcadia’s Associate Dean of Academic Access and Curricular Solutions, Rob Hallworth, to discuss your particular research interests further.
Course ID Title Credits Syllabus
SCOT RSLW 392S International Independent Research in STEM Fields 6 PDF

Requirements of entry to Life Science Projects:

  • Eligible students must have ideally completed 2nd year of the Undergraduate Degree, majoring in a Biological Science. A good grasp of written and verbal English is required. A GPA of 3.0 for American Students or a B grade average equivalent. Students having completed their first year of undergraduate studies may be considered for entry, this will be at the course convenors discretion.
  • Background knowledge of microbiological, molecular and microscopy techniques is desirable but not essential, training can be provided.

Requirements of entry to Chemistry projects:

  • Majoring in Chemistry or a related discipline.
  • Applicants should normally have successfully completed their sophomore year.

Requirements of entry to Psychology projects:

  • Eligible students must have ideally completed 2nd year of the Undergraduate Degree, majoring in Psychology.
  • Students having completed their first year of undergraduate studies may be considered for entry, this will be at the course convenors discretion.

Summer 2023 Research Projects


Mesophiles and Thermophiles in the Urban Environment

Discipline: Life Sciences
Supervisor: Dr. Sonya Taylor

The project will use conventional microbiological techniques to sample from a range of urban environments that present thermal challenges and seek out mesophilic and thermophilic organisms able to survive and grow in these conditions. The properties of these bacteria will be analyzed and identification will be attempted by sequencing of the 16s rRNA gene. Students on the project will develop skills in microbiology and molecular biology and the project will offer substantial opportunities for independent investigation.


Bacteria in Freshwater: A Historical Record of Past Pollution?

Discipline: Life Sciences
Supervisor: Dr. Sonya Taylor

The aim of this project will be to characterize the bacteria of faecal origin in a local watercourse, to establish which indicator organisms are present, determine if any are pathogenic to humans, and then to attempt detection of bacteriophage. Students on the project will develop skills in environmental monitoring, microbiology and molecular biology.


Using Caenorhabditis elegans as a Model Organism for Genetic Screens

Discipline: Life Sciences
Supervisor: Dr. Sonya Taylor

The aim of this project will be to establish an experimental system with C. elegans using a forward genetic approach. Using ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS), a mutagen that induces direct mutations in DNA, such as missense and nonsense mutations you will screen populations of C. elegans looking for any phenotypic changes that may be biologically interesting and attempt to further characterize the mutants. In addition, C. elegans is an excellent model organism for the study of addiction to compounds such as alcohol and caffeine, areas that can also be investigated during the project. Students on the project will develop skills including: genetic crossing using a model organism, independent experimental design and execution, critical thinking, data analysis and interpretation, time management, scientific writing and communication.


Genetic engineering for agriculture in a changing climate

Discipline: Life Sciences

One significant outcome of current climate change models is that agriculturally important species will become more susceptible to devastating diseases, leading to impacts on food supply. The aim of this project will be to investigate proteins involved in the spread of disease from cell to cell in plants. The student will conduct experiments which temporarily alter the expression levels or functions of relevant genes and proteins. The student will then investigate how different environmental conditions (temperature, light, water levels etc) affect cell to cell movement in combination with altered expression of the genes of interest. Students on the project will develop skills in experimental design, molecular biology, cell biology and fluorescence microscopy.


Exploring the Use of VR for Enhancing Learning

Discipline: Psychology
Supervisor: Dr. Jamie Murray (

Head-mounted virtual reality displays provide high fidelity graphics and immersive content to allow students to explore complicated subjects in ways that traditional teaching methods cannot. To date, much of the pedogogical research involving virtual reality has focused on surface level knowledge and does not explore deep and meaningful learning. The purpose of this project is to investigate how the use of immersive virtual reality as a teaching tool might enhance learning compared to traditional teaching methods (i.e., video presentations). The project will introduce students to basic experimental design, reproducible data analysis, and science communication.

Interested students should read the paper: Hamilton, D., McKechnie, J., Egerton, E., & Wilson, C. (2020). Immersive virtual reality as a pedagogical tool in education: a systematic literature review of quantitative learning outcomes and expeirmental design. Journal of Computers in Education, 8(1), 1-32.


Disgust Sensitivity and Mental Health Stigma

Discipline: Psychology
Supervisor: Dr. Jude Stevenson ( & Courtney Taylor Browne Lūka

Our behavioural immune system keeps us safe by alerting us to potential infection threats in our environment and we tend to avoid stimuli that display signs of infectious disease. One type of disgust, pathogen disgust, is triggered when we are exposed to infection-related stimuli (e.g., stepping in dog poop). However, the behavioral immune system has become overgeneralized and can trigger a “false positive” when stimuli are actually harmless (e.g., facial lesions, obesity).  This project looks at how the overgeneralization of the behavioral immune system may predict stigmatizing attitudes towards mental health conditions that carry no threat of infection. Students will develop skills in survey platforms and reproducible data analysis while engaging in an exciting and novel theoretical area. 

Interested students should read this paper for a fuller review of the general project area: Dawydiak, E. J., Stafford, H. E., Stevenson, J. L., & Jones, B. C. (2020). Pathogen disgust predicts stigmatization of individuals with mental health conditions. Evolutionary Psychological Science, 6(1), 60-63.


Sensory Perception and Neurodiversity

Discipline: Psychology
Supervisor: Dr David Simmons (

In the Simmons Lab we explore aspects of sensory perception and how these interact with neurodiversity. Current projects include using online and Virtual Reality (VR) drawing packages to investigate neurodiversity and creativity; using VR drawing packages to explore sensory experiences in synaesthesia, autism and aphantasia; how aspects of sensory processing vary with personality; the induction and amelioration of anxiety due to the sensory environment and the accessibility of multi-user VR for educational purposes. Students will interact with one of these projects and either gather data themselves or help in analysis of previously-gathered data.

Grade Scale for University of Glasgow - AACRAO EDGE

Grade Range Description Suggested U.S. Equivalent
A1-A5 First Class A
B1-B3 Second Class Upper B+
C1-C3 Second Class Lower B
D1-D3 Third Class/Pass C
E1 and below Fail F