University of Vermont

Office of Undergraduate Research


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who are we?

The University of Vermont Office of Undergraduate Research provides a central location to find out more about research and creative activities available to all undergraduates. The OUR provides research-related opportunities and information to students interested in pursuing a deeper learning experience. Opportunities for undergraduate research are extensive and limited only by your imagination. Research can be conducted independently, on a team, directed by a faculty member, within the university, or in an outside facility. The Office maintains this website detailing opportunities and resources from across campus. In addition, updated information regarding conferences, grants, and internships administered through this office is also be listed. Check out the contact page to find a time when you can come discuss how you can get involved in undergraduate research! 

Who is the Office here to serve?

OUR is here for any undergraduates interested in experiential learning through research. If you are in the Social Sciences? Fine Arts? STEM Field? Humanities? No matter which you answered yes to, there is an opportunity for you to partake in research. We work closely with students that pursuing both an Honors College degree and College Honors but we are not exclusively for those students.

Does my major do research?

Yes! No matter what school or department at the University of Vermont, there are research opportunities just waiting for innovative students like yourself. If you are interested in finding faculty to work with, click here for our How-To Guide.

Why Undergraduate Research?

The University of Vermont is one of the top-ranked, small, public research institutions in the country. Our gifted faculty contributes enormously to their disciplines and to the lives of our students. Undergraduate research helps place our students in extremely valuable situations. You could have the opportunity to work closely with scholars who are experts in your interest area, gaining hands-on experience, receiving direct mentorship and building collegial relationships. Undergraduate research can make you look at terms and techniques learned in the classroom in a whole new way. You can build a very impressive resume and academic record, which will promote you to the graduate school, professional school, or position of your choice. Above all, you will learn about yourself, what interests you -and sometimes what does not! But always something to build towards your future. Below you will find a list of reasons YOU should be participating in Undergraduate Research:

  • Research leads to a deeper understanding of your chosen discipline's current practices.
  • It teaches creative problem solving and communication skills.
  • It allows you to apply concepts learned in the classroom to the real world.
  • Research challenges you to demonstrate the ability to finish a project.
  • Offers you the chance to work closely with a faculty mentor (this is great when it comes time for you to ask for letters of recommendation!)
  • It allows you to build your resume while learning indepth skills you will be able to use in your life post-grad.
  • It helps you explore potential career paths and fields.
  • Research provides an introduction to how work is conducted in your discipline.
  • It gives you the chance to present your findings at local, regional, and national conferences.
  • It makes you a more competitive applicant to graduate and professional schools.

What is research?

The Council on Undergraduate Research defines research as, "An inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline (" The University of Vermont encourages students to pursue research opportunities -collaboratively, collectively, or individually -in their area of interest.  Research at all levels contributes to our understanding of our world, and encourages you to grow as a scholar and a person. Undergraduate research requires collaboration between students and faculty that engages the student in critical inquiry and exposes the student to the foundations of research and exploration in their chosen discipline. Research can culminate in numerous ways. Published manuscripts or oral presentations deliver the knowledge gained through the research experience to others in the academic community and to the community at large. Artistic projects, musical compositions, or theatrical presentations showcase the creative endeavors of the students. Websites can be created, databases or models can be constructed, and posters can be exhibited. All of these enhance our knowledge and enrich our community. And of course, the Student Research Conference is held every April and offers the best opportunity for students to showcase their research and/or creative scholarship on the UVM stage. Below is a few of examples that have been done over the years through OUR:

  • Writing sensory fiction in Montreal
  • Engineering and building a better shrimp trap on Lake Champlain
  • Measuring tooth crown size to determine ancient health patterns
  • Creating a forest inventory to teach legislators about forest ecosystems
  • Filming a documentary on student experiences at uvm
  • Modeling sustainable tea tourism in Nepal
  • Studying literature by charting Woolf’s life through London
  • Being a team member striving for a common goal in a laboratory

Does OUR have a list of available research opportunities?

OUR serves as a resource for students at every stage of the research process. We do not operate with a database of research opportunities but we can advise you on how to use the UVM Website's Faculty lists (within Departmental pages) as one. We are classified as a "high research activity" university and therefore all tenured faculty members on campus are participating in independent research and thereby contributing to their individual fields. What this means is that by searching through the departments that you are interested in you can explore what faculty are researching currently. When you stumble upon someone or multiple professors who are doing research of interest, contact that them with a well-informed and well-thought email asking if they are looking for help.

For more information, please see our How-To's.

How do I get credit for my research?

This is not really our area. We suggest that you contact your faculty mentor/adviser and/or department chair for more information on how your major department handles research credit.

What is a research internship?

An internship with an organization outside the University that consists largely of a research project or multiple smaller projects.

Who are the faculty researchers and what goes on in their work?

The faculty who invite undergraduates to join in their research, oversee and provide valuable mentoring and have dedicated themselves to the enrichment of the educational experience here. Research and creative activity are being performed throughout every part of campus, and opportunities abound for students from every discipline to get involved and gain more expertise in their chosen fields. To get a glimpse of the extraordinary work directed by our faculty, visit the web sites of those faculty we selected to highlight here. We will update this site from time to time in order to highlight many of our faculty on a rotating basis. You can also explore the home page of your major to find more information on faculty research and interests. See this guide for more information on finding a faculty mentor.

Whom do I contact and when?

Serious students who are ready to pursue this outstanding opportunity should fill out this form for more information. Once we have this information we will contact you to discuss how we can help you in the research process. You should also speak with your adviser or to a faculty member in your area of interest about available opportunities. We highly recommend that students begin to explore the undergraduate research opportunities as early as their first semester. OUR can be found in the Hub twice a week for drop-in meetings that last about 10 minutes. They will be in the Hub in the fall semester on Wednesdays from 10-1 and Thursdays from 10-3.

How much time should I be dedicating?/What if I only have a couple hours a week?

By researching with faculty members, you are automatically working with someone who understands your workload. As such, no matter the amount of time you can commit, if you tell your mentor up front they will know what kind of dedication to expect from you. The average amount of time undergraduate researchers commit a week is between 5 and 10 hours – but you may not have time like that. Take a careful look at your schedule and then contact a professor with that number in mind.

Last modified August 26 2015 02:14 PM