Prospective students, Johnson Lab

Thanks for your interest in the Johnson Lab!

We are always interested in finding exceptional and highly motivated students to join our team. The Johnson Laboratory strives to create a safe and inclusive environment to support individuals from all backgrounds. We are committed to learning from each other, and we highly value the perspectives and contributions of our lab members and colleagues. Together, we wish to create an atmosphere that fosters personal growth and success.

Students in the lab employ a diverse range of approaches, including laboratory experiments, field research, and modeling, to address broad questions in ecology. Because much of our work is collaborative, students should be able to work effectively in a group dynamic. Students interested in joining the Johnson Lab for undergraduate, graduate, or postdoctoral research should contact Dr. Johnson directly with a letter of interest in PDF format.

Undergraduate research opportunities in the Johnson Lab are available both during the academic semester and over the summer. Undergraduates interested in summer research should contact Dr. Johnson early in the spring semester to ensure ample time to develop a research plan and secure potential funding. It’s a good idea to explore the lab website, read some recent publications, and identify the types of projects or questions that resonate with you. You should also explore potential funding opportunities such as those provided through CU’s Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) and the Biological Sciences Initiative (BSI). By contacting our lab early in the spring semester, we can develop a research plan that both fits your long-term research goals and your busy schedule.

Graduate research opportunities in the EBIO department involve first making contact with a prospective advisor prior to applying (see EBIO) so make sure you reach out well in advance of submitting an official application (typically in late summer or early fall). We encourage prospective students to read about CU’s Advantage Program which supports applicants from traditionally underrepresented and underserved backgrounds.


Whether you are interested in undergraduate research (e.g., volunteer to get lab experience, pursue and independent study or honors thesis, etc.) or a graduate degree (e.g., Ph.D.) 
For more information on graduate degrees, check out our departmental webpage. For undergraduates interested in honors, see here:


UPDATE FOR 2021: The Johnson Laboratory at the University of Colorado is actively seeking applications for a new Ph.D. student position to begin in summer (ideally) or fall 2022. We are looking for an independent, self-motivated student who is passionate about pursuing research in aquatic ecology, disease biology, and conservation. The project involves field-based investigations at our long-term study sites in California (during the summers) while the academic year is based in Boulder, Colorado. It offers a unique opportunity to develop exciting questions at the interface of disease ecology and conservation biology, including how severe drought and biodiversity losses alter patterns of parasite transmission and disease pathology. It also affords an opportunity to conduct fieldwork and experiments on a broad range of taxa (amphibians, fishes, macroinvertebrates, zooplankton, waterbirds).

If you are interested in joining our lab, please send a letter of interest to Dr. Johnson ( with the following information:

  • Curriculum vitae or Resume
    If you haven’t drafted a CV or resume before, see this guide for information on getting started.
  • Your general research interests, previous experience, and how you will contribute to work already being pursued in the lab.
  • Why you are specifically interested in the work being done in the Johnson Lab?
    Read some of our latest papers, current projects, and grad student bios to get a feel for research areas that align with your interests.
  • Whether you have applied for any external fellowships?
    Unlike professional training schools (medical school, veterinary school), you will not need to pay your own tuition to attend graduate school in the EBIO department. Rather, your tuition will likely be covered by a combination of external fellowships (national or statewide agencies that provide funding), internal fellowships (college-wide funding opportunities), research assistantships and teaching assistantships. In addition to covering your tuition, these forms of funding also provide you with a salary to support you financially during your time in graduate school. All students admitted to EBIO are guaranteed 5 years of funding through TAships, although we strongly encourage students to apply for external fellowships. External fellowship opportunities include: NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, Ford Foundation Fellowship, among others.
  • How you plan to contribute to efforts promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in science?

We look forward to hearing from you!