Benefits of Undergraduate Research

Student participation in research …

Develops the kind of non-linear thinking skills that meet 21st century job market demands

Facilitates deep connections between faculty and students

Can pave the road to success in distinguished scholarships such as Rhodes, Truman, Marshall

Strengthens students’ academic portfolios for achievement in graduate and professional school

Increases campus engagement which supports timely graduation


Think and Do

Discovery is exciting, whether it involves laboratory or field studies, the development of new ceramic glazing techniques or durable and comfortable furniture designs. Mentored research allows you to work with nationally and internationally recognized scholars and professionals whether here at NC State or beyond at other campuses, state or federal agencies, or in industry. The experience is what graduate and professional schools and employers seek in applicants.

CHASS faculty member Ann Ross shows a student how to measure a skull. PHOTO BY ROGER WINSTEAD

Research is a way of learning, confirming, and retaining what you have learned in the classroom. Undergraduate research endeavors not only reduce institutional drop out rates, they increase the number of graduates eager to pursue advanced degrees.

Imagine two biology majors, each about to graduate with a 3.5 GPA and the same array of completed courses. One student decides to spend two semesters engaged in undergraduate research with a final paper and poster presentation at the NC State Undergraduate Research Symposium. The other student elects to take two additional courses in her major. Who do you think will have the best chance at a challenging position or at admission to graduate or professional school?



A recent It Takes More Than a Major – Employers Survey demonstrates that skills and aptitudes gained through research (or applied learning) are highly valued in the workplace.


Employers strongly endorse an emphasis on applied learning and view student work on applied learning projects as valuable preparation for work. Students agree that applied learning projects are valuable.

  • 73% think that requiring college students to complete a significant applied learning project before graduation would improve the quality of their preparation for careers.*
  • 60% think that all students should be expected to complete a significant applied learning project before graduating.*
  • 87% of employers agree that they are somewhat or much more likely to consider a graduate as a job candidate if she or he has completed a senior project.*
  • 89% of students agree that doing an applied learning project would increase their likelihood of being hired.*



In a previous 2013 survey, employers in the survey specifically endorse curriculum that has students “conduct research and use evidence-based analysis.” Independent research fostersinnovation and critical thinking (favored by over 90% of employers). When students direct their research toward a capstone project that will be presented to the public, they develop their written and oral communication skills, which 80% of employers prefer more emphasis on in undergraduate recruits. The survey also indicates that 79% of employers want undergraduates to “complete a project prior to graduation that demonstrates their acquired knowledge and skills.” [From “It Takes More than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success,” Association of American Colleges and Universities, 2013]

Take a look at Five Essential Skills for Every Undergraduate Researcher