What is undergraduate research?

Undergraduate research programs at Mizzou allow you to explore the unknown through hands-on work with faculty members. Delve into questions that interest you, work with a faculty mentor and build a foundation for professional or graduate work. You may do undergraduate research in your major or another field of interest. Undergraduate research encompasses arts, humanities, social and physical science. For example:

  • Explore immigration issues through visual communication;
  • Design a miniaturized oscillating nano-fluid heat pipe;
  • Understand perceptions of responsibility for crimes of passion;
  • Discover why toddlers learn words for objects before words for actions;
  • Quantify medicinal compounds in various elderberry tissues in response to genotype and environment;
  • Target proteins involved in chemotherapy drug resistance.

Can you do undergraduate research only if you are a science major?

You do not have to be a science major to participate in undergraduate research. Many students each year do undergraduate research in the social sciences, fine and performing arts, humanities, etc. Almost every discipline has undergraduate research opportunities.

Do I have to be an upperclassman to participate in research?

You do not need to wait until you are an upperclassman to participate in research. Many freshmen begin working with faculty mentors by performing support work as volunteers or earning an hourly wage.The Honors College Discovery FellowshipEXPRESS and FRIPS programs offer freshman research opportunities.

Do I have to do research in my major?

You do not have to do research with a faculty mentor in your major –– you can do undergraduate research in virtually every academic discipline at Mizzou. For example, if you are a psychology major, you can do research with a sociology or marketing professor, or if you are a biology major, you can do research with faculty in veterinary medicine, natural resources, or anthropology.

If I plan to go to graduate or professional school, do I need to do undergraduate research?

Undergraduate research is generally not a requirement for admission to graduate or professional school. However, it is one aspect of your application that can demonstrate your intellectual abilities, academic engagement, critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Put your energy and enthusiasm into undergraduate research that reflects your interests and passions.

How early do I need to start thinking about a project and finding a mentor?

You can get involved with undergraduate research any time throughout a semester, especially if you volunteer. Typically, faculty mentors look for students at the beginning of a new semester. Additionally, if you want to apply for a funded program, you need to have a faculty mentor and research proposal by the application deadline, which is typically in February. In this case, you will want to find a mentor by the prior November.

How do I find a mentor?

First, consider your research interests. After you have some ideas, there are several ways to find a faculty mentor. Look at the part-time research job listings on the Office of Undergraduate Research Web site. Ask your adviser, other students in your department, class instructors, or teaching assistants for names of Mizzou faculty members who are doing scholarly work in your area of interest. Peruse departmental Web sites for potential faculty mentors.

Do I get paid for doing research?

There are several opportunities for undergraduate researchers to be paid by a mentor, earn work-study funds, or receive a stipend. Mizzou offers several different, funded research program.

A formal research program is not required to participate in research or creative activities. You only need to find a willing mentor and work out an arrangement with them. Many undergraduate researchers volunteer or earn academic credit.

To earn academic credit, you need to talk to the academic adviser in your major department. You may get paid and receive academic credit at the same time.

What kind of funded research programs does Mizzou offer and when are their deadlines?

Several programs, each with their own specific qualifications, provide funding for undergraduate research. Each program gives the student a research stipend for their work with a faculty mentor. Most programs have deadlines in February.

Where is the Office of Undergraduate Research located?

Even though we’re housed in 150 Bond Life Sciences Center, we help students from all academic disciplines. Whether you have a question or want more information, contact the Office of Undergraduate Research.