Undergraduate Research (UGR) is scholarly study in any discipline in which inquiry, discovery, and creativity culminate in advancements in science, technology, the arts, or the humanities. It is the behavioral endeavor employed only by humans and, in this case, it is undergraduates who work under the mentorship of proven scholars, experts, and professionals. Any undergraduate may participate in UGR. Students from all disciplines can engage in the excitement of scholarly research.
Examples of Scholarly Research Projects
- Going on archeological digs to learn about past cultures, societies or the evolution of life on Earth
- Designing complementary art for unique architectural settings
- Developing new ways to manage wildlife and plant populations and their habitat
- Studying ancestral lineages using the tools of modern genetics
- Defining product design based on marketing data
- Reinterpreting a literary author’s intentions based on the site where it was written
- Finding ways to grow more food on less land with less water, fertilizers and pesticides
- Predicting stock market shifts based on uncertainties of the last four years
- Developing inexpensive textile fibers that are soft, durable and easily cleaned
- Engineering nano-machines for administering potent drugs in small amounts into the body
- Want more examples? Take a look at our most recent Symposium abstract books!
Six Steps to Getting Involved
Not sure what to do or have questions about the steps below? Schedule an appointment or drop by the OUR to meet with one of our student ambassadors or staff members. We’re happy to help!
This document provides information on frequently asked questions regarding expectations and credit/paid opportunities.
In addition to the steps and suggestions below, review faculty and staff pages, research space sites, department pages (including research sections), ePack, etc. The OUR has recently retired its researcher database but will be soliciting student feedback as we create/seek out a new one (expected to launch in Fall 2024).
Meet with the OUR
There are many research opportunities and researchers at NC State. Meet with us to discuss undergraduate research and navigate moving forward.
Determine Your Interests
Think about what you want to do. What problems do you want to solve? What are you curious about? What fascinates you or makes you happy to learn about? Research can be done in your major, outside of our major, and/or as a combination of majors or disciplines.
Explore Research Happening at NC State
You should find work that aligns with your interests. Look at college and department websites’ research tabs, review lab/research space websites, go to job boards (e.g., CURiOuS, ePack). Explore current projects, labs/research spaces, research groups, and creative knowledge being developed.
Identify a few researchers whose work excites you. They might be faculty or staff associated with the previous step, a course instructor, someone you saw present at a seminar or event, or someone new to you. Review their work or attend lectures, productions, performances, etc.
Contact Potential Mentors
Write an email to schedule a meeting with them (the OUR can help with communications). Briefly tell the potential mentor your interests, why you want to work with them, and that you’d like to learn more about their research. Be concise; you’ll have time to promote yourself when you meet.
Meet In Person or on Zoom
Use this as an opportunity to learn more about the research: What motivated the faculty member to do this work? What excites them? What plans do they have for the future? If you are excited about what they are learning, show your enthusiasm.