Undergraduate Research: What recognition can you expect?

Research resembles work done in an independent study or special problems course. It must be worthy of academic credit, which is awarded for learning accomplished by the student. At the same time, it resembles student’s future careers in that a worker is being rewarded for productivity on a project.

An undergraduate student may work either for credit or for some form of a salary/stipend (when available), with the understanding that in all cases the work done by the student must be worthy of academic credit. While a student should not receive double compensation–full credit and full salary– a combination of credit and pay can be worked out.

Most departments have research or special problems courses. Students interested in receiving credit for research can obtain the necessary information from their faculty mentor. Students usually register for one to three credits of research per semester, depending upon the amount of work agreed upon by the student and the mentor. Typically a student is expected to work an average minimum of ten hours per week for three hours of credit, seven hours per week for two, and four hours for one. You should be certain that you have a clear understanding of your mentor’s expectations BEFORE registering for research. Some majors have limits on the number of research credit hours permitted for a degree. Each of the five departments, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics, and Physics and Astronomy, have specific requirements for students conducting research. You should discuss these requirements with your faculty mentor before you begin research.

Students involved in research will be expected to exhibit their projects through poster displays in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Student Research Symposium, which is held each spring. These posters are frequently displayed in the College’s departments after the symposium.  The College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics provides students with an opportunity to make oral presentations of their work through the monthly “Chalk Talk” presentations.  Students may also apply for grants to help pay travel expenses to present research at state, regional and national meetings of professional societies.