Undergraduate research is a unique opportunity available to all undergraduate students. It enables undergraduates to participate with guidance from a faculty mentor in an inquiry, investigation, or experiment to produce an original intellectual or creative contribution to a discipline.
Research experience provides undergraduate students with a wide range of intellectual, professional, and personal benefits. While each experience is different, research participation can enable students to: apply classroom knowledge to address research questions; better understand the concepts under investigation as well as the scientific process; learn new technical skills as well as develop analytical, problem solving, and communication skills; form working relationships with a faculty mentor and research group members; clarify interests and goals; build confidence; and prepare for graduate school or a future career.
Ways to Participate
There are many different ways for undergraduates to get involved in research on campus. Eligible students from all departments can receive credit for research participation under the guidance of a faculty mentor by registering for courses such as Individual Investigation or Senior Honors Thesis. Undergraduate research assistant positions (often volunteer but sometimes paid) are available in many departments. Local, national, and international undergraduate research opportunities are also available. Internships or research programs, such as the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program sponsored by the National Science Foundation, offer intensive research experience and can include a stipend or other compensation. Fieldwork is another exciting option for those with interests in disciplines such as anthropology or geology.