What is undergraduate research and creative discovery?
The Undergraduate Research/Creative Discovery Advisory Committee defines research and creative discovery as “any faculty-mentored project completed by undergraduates at SFA using the scholarly/creative process with techniques of an academic discipline to produce fuller knowledge, understanding or applications to the discipline." Undergraduate research is done in individual departments at SFA and includes a wide range of endeavors, from performance arts to literary criticism to laboratory research on treatments for cancer.
Why should I participate in undergraduate research or creative discovery?
You will benefit academically and throughout your career as you engage in the pursuit of knowledge. The creativity, curiosity, ability to focus, diligence, verbal and written fluency, and respect for others’ contributions that are necessary to thrive as an undergraduate researcher are critical precursors for understanding and engaging in modern cultural, academic and professional challenges. Participating presents an advantage for success in graduate school, may help you to develop relationships with faculty and may be included on your résumé.
Can any student do undergraduate research?
Yes! It all depends on how proactive you wish to be. Some programs or departments have requirements (class standing, GPA, etc.), but there are plenty of additional opportunities to supplement or complement department programs. Talk to your professors, classmates and advisors about your interests and passions.
Do I need to have taken specific classes before I can do research?
The answer depends on what field you are in. Some professors require that you have taken advanced classes in your major while other investigators are looking for enthusiastic students without a specific background. Contact the program or professor if you have questions about the necessary prerequisites. Reviewing course and program curricula also may describe what preparations or prerequisites are needed.
What opportunities are available to undergraduates?
Research and creative discovery opportunities exist on campus for students in any college and in any major. Some programs, like forestry and chemistry, also may conduct projects through the summer. If you have an interest in finding out more about these opportunities, ask your professors, other graduate students, your academic advisor or anyone who may know of professors who are looking for assistance.
Are undergraduates allowed to conduct research outside of their chosen major or college?
Students may conduct research or creative discovery outside of their major or college. Involvement depends on the discretion of the professor conducting the research or creative discovery and not on a student’s declared major and minor. Students are encouraged to consider what they will bring to a particular project.
How soon can I get involved in research as an undergraduate?
You should begin talking to professors and looking into opportunities as soon as possible. You may even get involved in research and creative discovery as early as the second semester of your first year! Most students who participate in research tend to get involved in the second year, either with research or creative discovery embedded in their courses or by studying independently with a faculty mentor.
How much of a time commitment is undergraduate research?
The time commitment between research and creative discovery projects can vary widely. Some students work for a few hours per week for a semester or two just to try it out. For other students, this is the focus of their SFA experience.
Are there opportunities to publish and/or present at professional conferences as an undergraduate?
Can I get academic credit for research and creative discovery?
Yes, in some cases. It depends on the research opportunity and the guidelines of your department. Some experiences are part of coursework, and credit is received.
Is research and creative discovery a required part of the undergraduate experience?
While research is optional at all six schools, many departments have honors programs that require research.
Is there a research group or club I can join?
Yes, Undergraduate Research Club meetings are held from 6 to 7 p.m. in Steen Library, Room 205. Students discuss research, presenting at conferences, getting published and more.
I have a bachelor's degree and some experience with research, but I would like more experience with research before I apply to graduate school. What can I do?
Consider a post-baccalaureate program. These programs provide research and creative discovery opportunities to recent college graduates who are planning to apply to graduate school.