DEGREE Shadowing Program


Interested in grad school? Come experience what it is like!

The Graduate Research Experience (GRE) team at the University Ottawa Faculty of Medicine is committed to organizing programs and activities that will immerse undergraduate students in life science research to discover the graduate student experience.

We hope that our activities will stimulate and encourage students to consider a future in graduate studies at the Faculty of Medicine.

"Helped clarify and better understand
what I need and want for graduate studies."

-Last year participant

What is the DEGREE Shadowing program

DEGREE is a shadowing program that will provide undergraduate students with the opportunity to experience and appreciate the cutting-edge biomedical research conducted in the Departments of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology (BMI), and Cellular and Molecular Medicine (CMM) at the Faculty of Medicine.

The diverse range of research disciplines includes but is not limited to biochemistry, immunology, systems biology, cancer, metabolism, neurology, cardiovascular biology, bioinformatics, tissue engineering, stem cell biology and more!

"Glad I was able to see what lab life is like and
that I was able to ask questions to a current masters student."

-Last year participant

In addition, all participants will receive a participant certificate, which will be awarded at the DEGREE social event in August.

During the 3-day DEGREE program, students will:

  • Be paired with graduate student mentors according to their research topic preference and will spend 3 days shadowing them in their laboratory.
  • Learn about their research topic, observe experiments and daily tasks, understand how to perform data analysis and interpretation, and participate in lab meetings and discussions.
  • Experience what it is like to be a graduate student at the Faculty of Medicine.

The role of the mentors

  • They will give an overview of their research and interact with the prospective student throughout the shadowing period, which will be at a mutually agreed upon time between the lab/mentor and student.

Who can participate

Open to undergraduate students at all levels in Ontario and Quebec provinces. There are no restrictions on the year of study or degree program.

Prior research experience is not required. However, we do seek motivated individuals with an interest in life science research.

A selection process will be handled by the GRE team, which will largely be based on responses in the registration form.

We encourage students to apply early to secure their preference of research areas.


  • Any days during the month of July. It doesn't have to be weekdays.
  • The 3 days do not need to be consecutive.
  • The time schedule will be at a mutually agreeable time between the student and the mentor.


Labs at the Faculty of Medicine (Roger Guindon Hall) and associated institutes (Ottawa Heart Institute, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Royal Hospital).

To register

Register before June 10,2022.

DEGREE social event

The DEGREE social event is to allow undergraduates the opportunity to discuss research opportunities and network with current graduate students. In addition, the participant certificate will be awarded to all students during the evening.

The event will take place in the first week of August. We will confirm the date shortly.

Please do not hesitate to contact us at if you have any questions.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Will I be doing experiments?

No, due to health and safety regulations, certified training is required to perform experiments in the lab. However, you will shadow your graduate student mentor closely to observe the experiments in action and to understand the details of each experiment. Students will also be able to participate in data analysis and interpretation.

Do I need to have a certain GPA?

While there are no GPA requirements for this program, students should possess a keen interest in scientific discovery and be motivated to engage with their graduate student mentor.

How long will each day be?

This will be dependent on the nature of the research topic and should be mutually agreeable with your mentor. Generally, this could be anywhere between 4 – 8 hours per day.

Will I get to meet the Professor?

While this is not guaranteed, there is a very good chance your professor will meet with you informally to discuss research or to gather feedback about your shadowing experience.

What if I cannot attend 3 days in a row?

It is not mandatory for the 3 shadowing days to be consecutive. The specific dates will be determined together with your mentor and set at mutually convenient times. However, if you are seeking 2 rotations, you must finish one rotation before beginning the second rotation.

Can I perform a second rotation?

Unfortunately, due to the high popularity of this initiative, this will not be possible.

What if I am from outside of the Ottawa region?

Our program is not restricted to undergraduate students from uOttawa or the surrounding region. Undergraduate students at all levels and from all universities are welcome!

Is this a real degree (diploma) program?

No, DEGREE stands for Discover and Engage in Graduate Research Experience. While there is no formal degree, students will experience and learn what biomedical graduate studies has to offer. At the end of the program, the students will receive a certificate of completion!

Will I receive a certificate of participation for the Shadowing program?

Yes, a certificate of participation will be given to all participants who have completed the three days of the Shadowing program. The certificates will be awarded at a social event that will be held early August.

If I have participated last year at the shadowing program, can I register again this year?

Yes, you can participate again this year.

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