Undergraduate Research


Whether you intend to enter the job market upon graduation, or plan to apply to graduate school, internships will give you the experience you need to differentiate yourself from other candidates.

Benefits

Involvement in research allows students to develop relationships with faculty members and Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA) outside of the classroom. Those relationships are key to obtaining strong letters of recommendation. And, in the same way that students at internship sites benefit from working with people who are established in their career fields, undergraduate researchers can obtain invaluable advice from faculty researchers. 

Curious about what is involved in completing a doctoral degree? Seeking input on a statement of purpose that you have prepared for grad school applications? Wondering how your research interests might fit with job options outside of academia? All of these areas of inquiry are good to discuss with a faculty member or GTA.  

Skills You Can Gain

Along with advancing your knowledge of a subject area, conducting research will, at minimum, help you improve upon your critical and analytical thinking, increase your ability to locate and evaluate information and advance your technical writing skills. Many employers report that recent graduates are lacking these same competencies, making participation in research a great strategy for increasing your overall qualifications.

Starting Your Search

The Undergraduate Research Office (URO) is a great place to start your search! You’ll find information about many on and off campus research opportunities, obtain tips on conducting and reporting on your research, and learn about sources of funding. If you can’t find a research position through URO, consider contacting a faculty member who is engaged in research related to your interest areas. 

After you decide on a possible faculty advisor(s), do a bit of background reading on his/her field, then schedule a meeting. You will want to discuss possible projects and what the faculty member's expectations are in relation to how many hours you would be needed and which aspects of the research you would work on (e.g., literature reviews, data collection, data analysis, etc.). You can also meet with a Career Prep Advisor in Arts and Sciences Career Services to obtain assistance with searching for research positions outside of central Ohio.

Getting Support

The College of Arts and Sciences provides multiple forms of support for undergraduate students involved in research. There are funding sources, options for obtaining course credit (see your academic advisor about registering for ARTSSCI 4998, ARTSSCI 5193 or ARTSSCI 4998H/4999H), and events held throughout the year for you to showcase your research project. Whether you are conducting individual research or looking to be a part of a research team, faculty is a key resource for you to engage with. 

Arts and Sciences event options

University event options

Funding Your Research Project

Research Thesis (Graduating with Distinction)

There are three options for students in the College of Arts and Sciences (ASC) interested in pursuing graduation with research distinction or with distinction:

  • Graduation with research distinction in [the major field] recognizes those students who demonstrate excellence in the study of a discipline both through major course work and by completing an independent research project culminating in a thesis.
  • Students majoring in mathematics may choose the graduate-level course work option to graduate with distinction in Mathematics.
  • Graduation with research distinction recognizes those students who complete and successfully defend a thesis in a discipline other than the major.

For complete information, review the Graduation section with Advising and Academics.

Student Profiles

  • Walt King.

    Walt King

    Economics

    I've always been a huge baseball fan and the book "Moneyball" inspired me to explore what could be done quantitatively within the game.

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  • Casey M. Saup

    Casey M. Saup

    Geological Sciences

    The most valuable thing I have learned thus far from this experience is what I can expect in graduate school. I feel like I am much more prepared for graduate school with this undergraduate research experience under my belt than I would be without it. 

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  • Christina Zerda

    Christina Zerda

    Earth Sciences

    My work focuses on mid-ocean ridges which can be found throughout every ocean on Earth. We are interested in how the magma, that later becomes the ocean floor, is stored in the subsurface. The entire dynamics of that system are complex and will help us better understand plate tectonics and how these features work.

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  • Emily Schueller

    Emily Schueller

    Anthropological Sciences

    I employed an ethnographic approach, which emphasizes a holistic understanding of culture and how it impacts individuals’ lives, to study access to education for conservative Muslim women in the Old City area of Hyderabad, India.

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