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All undergraduates—including freshmen and transfer students—may participate in supervised research and creative activities as long as they have a faculty sponsor who will serve as a mentor. An early start can be valuable; but keep in mind that preparatory coursework may be required to provide the necessary foundation for doing substantial research later in your undergraduate degree program. All departments have specific academic requirements to receive credit. Some students work for pay (work study or student hourly). Others begin as volunteers in a lab. Research internships are another alternative.
Spring semester is a good time to begin contacting professors about possible fall research opportunities since many undergraduates are preparing to graduate and will be leaving behind great positions to be filled. It is best to secure a position before summer begins.
Honors status is not a requirement for involvement in research and creative activities.
Research can take place in a variety of settings, including laboratories, libraries, on the computer, in the “field”, in a studio or theatre, etc. Where research occurs depends on your discipline and the type of project your engage in.
Yes. Credit is primarily available as independent study credit, thesis or senior capstone credit Policies vary by department. Speak with your advisor!
In some instances faculty have grant resources to pay their students.
Opportunities are particularly good during the summer when many universities offer programs in a wide variety of subjects. These programs enable students to have a sustained, in-depth research experience. Participants often receive a stipend and free room and board. Most summer fellowship programs are competitive and have early application deadlines. They also typically require a full time commitment (i.e. no other coursework or employment). Go to our current research opportunities for more information.
The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) awards stipends and small travel grants through a competitive application process. For more information go to the UROP website.
Some departments offer end-of-semester opportunities for students to showcase their work. You may also participate in the annual Research and Creative Activities Symposium. Also ask your faculty about opportunities to present at state and national professional conferences.
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