Preparing for Undergraduate Research

The benefits of an undergraduate research experience are profound. Participation in a challenging, scholarly project can be the single most important experience that a student will have in college and the training and knowledge gained from this experience is often a deciding factor in the acquisition of professional positions and acceptance into post-graduate programs.

During Week 6 in BGS, you will have the opportunity to hear from upperclassmen regarding their own experience with research and discuss what opportunities may be available for undergraduates in your field.

To prepare for this opportunity, you should conduct a bit of preliminary research:

  • Go to the departmental website of your major and/or minor. If you haven’t decided on a major yet, go to the site of a department you are considering. Look through the faculty listing and get an idea of what faculty in your department are researching and publishing.
  • Also, go to the URCA Archives and see what type of projects URCA has funded in the past. Visit the Glance At Research tab as well. Click around and see what other students are doing and have done in the past.
  • The Council on Undergraduate Research has links to a number of undergraduate research journals. Check out some that look interesting to you.

Use these resources to answer the following questions:

  1. What does undergraduate research look like in your discipline? What are scholars in your field doing, and how do you envision yourself becoming involved as an undergraduate?
  2. What do you see as the value of undergraduate research? How do you think it will contribute to your education? How do you think it will help you to achieve your future goals?
  3. Identify one or two CofC professors in your proposed major or minor discipline whose work you find interesting. What kind of research are they doing now?
  4. Come up with a few questions (2-3) that you would like to ask students about undergraduate research. Be prepared to share these during class!

Include your responses to these questions in your BGS portfolio behind the Artifacts tab, and be ready to ask some of your questions in class!

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