Claim your curiosity.

What is Undergraduate Research?

Students participate in research in various ways, often changing from one model of participation to another at different points in their time at KU.  Each department also has different expectations of how undergraduate students will get involved.  Below, you'll find just a few of the typical ways that undergraduates participate in research at KU:

Assist on a Faculty-Initiated Project:

Under this model, students join a research project that is already established. In some disciplines, this might entail a student working individually with a faculty member by transcribing interviews, finding relevant sources, or helping to write a paper. In other disciplines, this might entail joining a research lab, either as a volunteer or as an employee. This model can be helpful for students interested in learning about the research process, but who aren't ready to launch their own project quite yet.  If you're considering doing research over the summer, visit our Summer Research page for more information about structured opportunities. 

Student-Initiated Research Project:

Under this model, students work individually or with a group to devise and carry out their own faculty-mentored research or creative project.  Working with a research mentor on campus, the student is able to pursue his/her own interests and ideas.  Depending on the student's department, there are often opportunities to receive course credit for independent research projects, though students can also conduct research without receiving credit.  Individual projects often result in a senior thesis, publication, or presentation wherein the student can share his/her research results with others.


Why Do Undergraduate Research?

Participating in undergraduate research is a great way to enhance your KU education while contributing to your field and developing your professional opportunities.  Take the time to familiarize yourself with research and the opportunities available to you!

Educational Benefits

  • Learn to apply what you learn in class to real-world problems and issues.
  • Develop strong faculty relationships.
  • Improve your creative and problem-solving capabilities.

Professional Benefits

  • Explore potential careers.
  • Gain valuable work experience.
  • Develop strong references.
  • Network with experts in your field.

Personal Benefits

  • Build confidence in your creativity and problem-solving skills.
  • Find a way to connect with your KU experience in a more meaningful way.

Connect With Us
Research teaches critical thinking and problem solving — top skills sought by employers
The Research Experience Program has certified more than 2,000 students since 2005
KU is a member of the Council on Undergraduate Research
More than 1,200 students have received Undergraduate Research Awards since 1986
More than 150 mentors sponsored undergraduate projects through the Center for Undergraduate Research each year
KU's first valedictorian, Flora Richardson, conducted research as an undergraduate before graduating in 1873
Highlight your research on your transcript: Get certified through the Research Experience Program
Use research to apply what you learned in the classroom to a real problem
Students who perform research develop strong relationships with KU faculty
Research is a hands-on way to explore career options
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report