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, and a database of faculty interested in having undergraduates work with them. Make an appointment to check out what is available in your area of interest. In addition, updated information regarding conferences, grants, and internships administered through this office will also be listed.

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 places our students in extremely valuable situations. You will have the opportunity to work closely with scholars who are experts in your interest area, gaining hands-on experience, receiving mentorship and building collegial relationships. Undergraduate research will make you look at terms and techniques learned in the classroom in a whole new way. You will 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.

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 (www.cur.org)." The University of Vermont encourages students to pursue research opportunities -collaboratively, collectively, or individually -in their area of interest. Experiments done in a laboratory, research conducted in the archives of a library, interviews taken to explore a social or political concern, fieldwork leading to a better understanding of a social or environmental situation, artistic work created, and comparisons of best educational practices are all ways to explore research opportunities. 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.

Why do research?

  • Leads to a deeper understanding of your chosen discipline's current practices
  • Provides an introduction to how work is conducted in your discipline
  • Teaches creative problem solving and communication skills
  • Allows you to apply concepts learned in the classroom to the real world
  • 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!)
  • Gives you the chance to present your findings at local, regional, and national conferences
  • Makes you a more competitive applicant to graduate and professional schools
  • Helps you explore potential career paths

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, are dedicating themselves to the enrichment of the educational experience here. Research and creative activity are being performed all throughout 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.

Whom do I contact and when?

Serious students who are ready to pursue this outstanding opportunity should contact the OUR for additional information. You should also speak with your advisor or to a faculty member in your area of interest about available options. This website also lists other resources for additional opportunities. Some of the opportunities require upper division student status but many are for all undergraduates regardless of class standing. We highly recommend that students begin to explore the undergraduate research opportunities as early as their first semester. The OUR will provide workshops on getting started in research in the future. Please review this site for upcoming dates and locations.

Last modified September 26 2014 09:37 PM