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FAQs - Undergraduate Research

1. Undergraduate Research In General

What is undergraduate research?
What are the benefits of undergraduate research?
 

2. Undergraduate Research at Texas A&M

How common is undergraduate research at Texas A&M?
What kinds of undergraduate research activities are available at Texas A&M?
What are the expectations for undergraduate research?
How do I go about finding an undergraduate research position?
Is training required for undergraduate research?
What formal programs exist to support undergraduate research?
Can I earn Honors credit for undergraduate research?
 

3. The Undergraduate Research Scholars Program

What is the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program?
What are the requirements to participate in the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program?
How do I apply to participate in the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program?
What are the expectations for participation in the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program?
How do I know what is expected for an Undergraduate Research Scholars thesis?
How does the Undergraduate Research Scholars Team program work?
How much time will the Undergraduate Research Scholars program take?
Does participation in the Undergraduate Research Scholars program qualify me for priority registration?
What should I do to best assure success in the Undergraduate Research Scholars program?
Can I create a custom time line or alter the semesters during which I participate in the Scholars program?
Can I get an extension on submitting my Scholars thesis chapters?
Do I have to enroll in any classes to participate in the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program?
Am I required to take Honors credit for my Undergraduate Research Scholars research hours?
Can I obtain W course credit for participating in the Undergraduate Research Scholars program?
Will participation in the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program be noted on my transcript?
Will I need Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval for my Research Scholars project if I am planning to work with human subjects?
Will I need Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval for my Research Scholars project if I am planning to work with animals?
Will I need Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) approval for my Research Scholars project if I am planning to work with transgenic or pathogenic organisms (microbes, plants, or animals)?
Can I submit my Undergraduate Research Scholars proposal and timeline even though I haven’t yet received IRB/IACUC approval for my project?
Can I use the work I do in my research methods class or my departmental honors thesis as a basis for participation in the Undergraduate Research Scholars program?
Can I finish the Undergraduate Research Scholars program after I graduate?
What happened to the Undergraduate Honors Research Fellows Program?
 

4. The Undergraduate Thesis Writing Course

What is the Thesis Writing Course?
How can I use the W credit from the Thesis Writing Course?
Is the Thesis Writing Course required for participation in the Undergraduate Research Scholars program?
Are there other ways to obtain W credit for writing an Undergraduate Research Scholars Thesis?
 

5. Undergraduate Research Internships and Fellowships

What types of paid research positions are available?
How do I go about finding a paid summer undergraduate research position?
 

6. Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Programs

What is an REU program?
How do I go about applying to an REU program?
 
 
 
1. Undergraduate Research In General
What is undergraduate research?
Undergraduate Research has been officially defined by the Council on Undergraduate Research as “An inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline”.  There is substantial room for flexibility within this definition, for example spanning individual or team research efforts initiated by students or faculty in research courses, internships, or paid student worker positions.  At Texas A&M, research opportunities are open to any undergraduate, being most commonly a collaborative effort between a student and a faculty member using an inquiry-based approach to generate new knowledge.  As such, undergraduate research qualifies as a “high impact educational practice”, providing students with an opportunity for integration, application, and reflection on their knowledge.

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What are the benefits of undergraduate research?
Students who participate in undergraduate research gain many skills that they might not otherwise acquire from classroom instruction.  These include practical skills for data collection and analysis as well as more general skills in teamwork, problem solving, time management, and effective communication.  Undergraduate researchers gain a deeper understanding of their chosen field not only by actively participating in it, but through mentoring relationships with faculty and graduate students.  Undergraduate research can help you clarify your career goals by identifying what you enjoy doing and gaining a better perspective on what it means to be a professional in your field.  As a result, student researchers are more likely to be satisfied with their undergraduate education and continue on to graduate or professional school.  Research experience strengthens applications for graduate and professional schools, business, or industrial positions by expanding your technical skills and professional knowledge, improving your resume, and providing opportunities for strong letters of recommendation.  Finally, it can be a lot of fun.  You generate new knowledge, meet interesting people, and you might even get paid for doing it.

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2. Undergraduate Research at Texas A&M
How common is undergraduate research at Texas A&M?
Undergraduate research exists in every department and college at Texas A&M, even in those that have no undergraduate teaching programs, such as the Bush School or the Health Science Center.   Although there is no exact count of the number of student participants (because there are so many different formats for undergraduate research), in senior surveys 20-30% of graduating seniors indicate that they participated in research at some time during their undergraduate careers. 

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What kinds of undergraduate research activities are available at Texas A&M?
Undergraduate research takes many forms: hourly paid student worker jobs, research courses (e.g., 291, 491), inquiry-based classes, formal undergraduate programs that require the completion of an undergraduate thesis (such as the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program), summer research programs, study abroad, field courses, and internships.  Almost all of these research activities are conducted under the direction of a faculty advisor.  Most commonly, students contact several faculty in their area of interest to explore opportunities, eventually agreeing on a project related to one faculty member’s research focus.   Alternatively, students can initiate their own research project and then seek out a faculty mentor who is willing to advise them.

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What are the expectations for undergraduate research?
It is important for students to gain a clear understanding of faculty expectations for undergraduate research projects, as they can vary considerably among faculty advisors.  Practical considerations include the number of hours each week dedicated to research, expected research coursework, and research credit hours or compensation.  But personality traits are just as important.  Advisors expect students to be self-motivated and work well independently.  Enthusiasm, reliability, and intellectual curiosity are hallmarks of a successful research student.  Very importantly, be sure to understand your advisor’s expectations for communication: how often are you expected to meet and discuss progress, and how are you expected to obtain help?  Be sure you understand what final products will be expected from you.  These can include written reports, oral presentations, posters, and training of new students.

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How do I go about finding an undergraduate research position?
Undergraduates have many opportunities to learn about research positions.  Departmental websites, undergraduate advisors, student organizations, and personal contacts with faculty are the most common.  LAUNCH: Undergraduate Research gives frequent presentations on opportunities in undergraduate research to classes, seminars, and student organizations, and presents a regular Friday afternoon workshop “Getting Started in Undergraduate Research”.  A description of our workshop activities can be found on our Workshops and Informationals page. There are also campus-wide events to publicize opportunities in undergraduate research, such as the Undergraduate Research Expo held in the fall semester, where faculty with undergraduate research opportunities are available to meet interested students.  In the end, students must learn about specific research opportunities by talking to faculty.  This is the only way to determine what is available, what the expectations will be, and how the research will fit into your educational plans.  Talk to faculty who you find approachable or who are doing something you think is interesting.  They can help you find opportunities.

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Is training required for undergraduate research?
All undergraduate researchers should expect to be trained by their research advisors in the basic techniques and approaches of their research discipline.  Undergraduate researchers are expected to meet the same training standards as graduate student and faculty researchers performing the same procedures.   You must ask your research advisor about required training when you begin a project and should never perform a procedure if you feel you are not adequately trained for it.  The nature of the training depends on the nature and scope of your research.  Some types of research might only require training on bibliographic retrieval systems or statistical software from your research advisor or library staff.  For research in science or engineering, however, you will probably need several levels of formal safety and compliance training before being allowed to collect data.  If you plan to work with human subjects, vertebrate animals, or infectious materials you must complete extensive on-line training before beginning your project.  This training will include not only procedures and regulations but also research ethics.  Never perform a research technique that you feel is unethical or unsafe.  When in doubt, always ask your advisor.

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What formal programs exist to support undergraduate research?
There are a variety of organized opportunities for conducting undergraduate research at Texas A&M.  The Undergraduate Research Scholars program provides the opportunity to produce an undergraduate research thesis under the direction of a faculty mentor.  Additionally, several  TAMU colleges and departments support formal research programs, both during the regular academic year and during the summer.  There are also many off-campus summer programs.  These programs are listed on our Undergraduate Research Opportunities page.

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Can I earn Honors credit for undergraduate research?
If you have been admitted to the Honors program there are two ways you can earn Honors credit for undergraduate research.  Participating in undergraduate research in the Undergraduate Research Scholars program can serve to fulfill the capstone requirement for students completing the undergraduate Honors program to receive Honors Fellows designation at graduation.  Additionally, Honors course credit for an undergraduate research class (e.g., 285, 291, 485, 491) can be obtained by completing an Honors Independent Study application.  The HIS application must indicate how the student’s participation in honors research exceeds what would be expected for other students not receiving Honors credit.  Students must have completed nine hours of Honors classes and have a minimum 3.5 GPR to be eligible for HIS approval.  Once an HIS is approved by HUR, the student will receive Honors credit for the research hours at the end of the semester when the student’s advisor confirms that the student’s work was of Honors caliber. If you are not an Honors student, you can not receive Honors credit for your research hours.

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3. The Undergraduate Research Scholars Program
What is the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program?
The Undergraduate Research Scholars program provides motivated undergraduate students the opportunity to engage in a mentored, in-depth research experience.  Undergraduate Research Scholars actively participate in an independent research project under the guidance of a faculty member, produce an undergraduate thesis, and present their research publicly to the scholarly community.  Scholars receive up to a $300 reimbursement for research-related expenses and are recognized at graduation and on their transcript as an Undergraduate Research Scholar.  Students can participate in the Scholars program either as an individual or as a member of a Scholars Team.

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What are the requirements to participate in the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program?
To qualify for the Undergraduate Research Scholars program, students must have completed at least 60 hours of undergraduate course work, with at least 24 hours at Texas A&M (exceptions require a justified request from the student’s faculty advisor).  Students should also have and maintain a cumulative Texas A&M GPR of 3.0 or higher.  Enrollment in research courses is not required, but we recommend that Scholars enroll for up to 3 hours of research credit during each of the two semesters (fall/spring) that they are participating in the program.   Each participant in a Scholars Team should meet the requirements of the individual Scholars program.

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How do I apply to participate in the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program?
You apply to the Scholars program using an on-line application.  The application must include a research proposal for your project and be approved by a faculty advisor.  The deadline dates for application to the Undergraduate Research Scholars program changed in 2014.  Instead of separate spring and fall application periods there is now a single open application period from May to September.  Applications are reviewed as they are received.

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What are the expectations for participation in the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program?
All students participating in the Scholars program must submit a proposal with a completed application identifying a faculty advisor before mid-September.  All participants are then are expected to attend the Scholars Orientation session in early October.  If you are working with vertebrate animals, human subjects, or biohazardous materials you must provide evidence of approval of your work by the appropriate compliance committee.   In order to successfully complete the program, you must submit a final thesis and make a public presentation of your research results before the final deadline in April.  During the year, there are additional deadlines to assure that you are making adequate progress: progress reports and progressively larger draft installments are due in late November, late January and late February.

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How do I know what is expected for an Undergraduate Research Scholars thesis?
We will provide you with an Undergraduate Research Scholars Thesis Manual and Thesis Example describing the format of the thesis.  Theses that do not follow this format will be rejected.  To assure that you are aware of the required format well before the final submission deadline, the installments you submit in November, January and February will be reviewed to assure that they match the format described in the Thesis Manual.  Students who fail to respond to requests to bring their thesis format in line with the Thesis Manual requirements will not be allowed to submit a final thesis.  The content of your thesis should be consistent with conventions in your discipline based on discussions and agreement between you and your advisor.  Previous undergraduate research theses are available for you to peruse at the Texas A&M Digital Repository.

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How does the Undergraduate Research Scholars Team program work?
Each Scholars team should be composed of 2-4 students working together on a single project under a single faculty advisor.  Each individual Scholars Team member should complete a Scholars application.  Team members must also submit individual proposals and theses. Draft installments due in November, January and February are submitted by the team's primary contact, but all team members must submit a progress report. All other requirements remain the same as for the individual Scholars program.

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How much time will the Undergraduate Research Scholars program take?
This varies considerably depending on the nature of the research project and your commitment to it.  Generally, faculty expect students to spend at  least 10 hours per week (corresponding to 3 research credit hours) on their research project.  In reality, you should expect to spend considerably more time if you must learn complicated techniques, conduct interviews or travel, interact extensively with research staff, or attend  research meetings and make presentations.   Research is not something that you do in your spare time.  You must make a serious commitment to assure that you fully understand your project, conduct it productively, and communicate it effectively.  The writing often takes considerably more time than anticipated, so you must plan to begin well in advance of deadlines.  You may find that you enjoy research to the point that you reduce your participation in your other activities.

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Does participation in the Undergraduate Research Scholars program qualify me for priority registration?
Yes.  Students who have proposals accepted for our fall deadline will qualify for priority registration for the following spring semester.  Priority registration may only be used while students are actively participating in the Scholars program.  Priority registration is provided to enable you to schedule your coursework so that you may meet the additional research and writing obligations required to complete the Research Scholars program.  Prior to registration, be sure to discuss with your research advisor his or her expectations for your time commitment to your research project, particularly the schedule for regular research meetings, writing assignments, presentation rehearsals, and the venue for your research presentation. You will then have the ability to arrange your course schedule to accommodate these expectations.

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What should I do to best assure success in the Undergraduate Research Scholars program?
Come to our orientation session and Thesis Formatting workshops.  There we will provide advice on the most serious problems students have encountered in the past.  You must stay on schedule with your writing and presentation deadlines.  Even if you have made less research progress than you’d hoped, you can still communicate the objectives and methods of your studies in an intellectually stimulating way that will satisfy the requirements of the program.  Most importantly, work closely with your research advisor.  Make sure to keep in constant touch as your research progresses.   He or she can provide you with valuable guidance on the progress of your research and the content of your thesis.  Give them plenty of time to review your installments and your final thesis.  You don’t want any surprises when you ask them to read your final product.

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Can I create a custom time line or alter the semesters during which I participate in the Scholars program (e.g., can I complete the program in one semester, or start in the spring or summer and finish in the fall)?
No.  The Undergraduate Research Scholars program is designed to take two full semesters, beginning in fall and concluding in spring.  This schedule is based on our experience that students need that much time to effectively formulate a project, gain the necessary approvals, undertake productive research, make a public presentation, write the thesis to our specifications, and successfully submit it to the digital repository.  Additionally, the resources we provide to assist students with their writing are all geared toward thesis submission in the spring.  For these reasons, we don't have an established thesis submission system for the Fall semester.   We have no accommodation for students who think they can complete the program in one semester, want to start in spring or summer and finish in fall, or want to split the program over alternate semesters in multiple years.  If you want to participate in the program, you must plan far enough in advance to arrange your project to conclude in the spring.

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Can I get an extension on submitting my Scholars thesis installments?
Please do not ask for extensions on deadlines for submitting installments of your thesis unless due to a health or family emergency issue.  By applying to participate in the Scholars program you commit to a specified timeline for installment submissions. These installments do not have to be final drafts. The objective of progressive submissions is to assure that you continue to follow the format and style guidelines of the Thesis Manual as you are making progress. This will prevent any serious concerns about your thesis format or style when the final thesis is submitted in April.  Even if you are not as far along as you would like you should still be able to include additional text with each subsequent installment submission describing what you anticipate the installment will include when your project is finished.

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Do I have to enroll in any classes to participate in the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program?
As of 2013 there is no longer a requirement that students in the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program enroll for research credits (e.g., 285, 291, 485, 491) while they are participating in the program.  Although you are not required to take research hours, we still strongly recommend that you enroll for 491 hours while working on your Scholars project.  Enrollment documents on your transcript the efforts that both you and your faculty advisor put into your research project, helps us keep track of research effort on campus, and provides your advisor with an opportunity to formally grade your research performance, helping to keep you productive. 

NOTE: If you need to know if you have been accepted into the Undergraduate Research Scholars program before you enroll for 491 research hours in the Fall semester, you must submit your Scholars application before August 15 to assure adequate time for approval prior to the end of Fall course enrollment (the 5th class day of the semester).  If you wish to receive W course credit for writing your Scholars Thesis, you must enroll in the Thesis Writing Course for 1 credit hour during the spring semester of your Scholars year.

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Am I required to take Honors credit for my Undergraduate Research Scholars research hours?
No.  However, any Honors student, whether using the Undergraduate Research Scholars program as their capstone activity or not, has the option to request Honors credit for their 491 hours.  This is achieved by filing an Honors Independent Study request for the 491 course they are using to satisfy the Scholars research hours requirement.

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Can I obtain W course credit for participating in the Undergraduate Research Scholars program?
Yes.  There are two ways to obtain W course credit for participating in the Scholars program.  Your department may already have a 491W established for your major.  Ask your departmental academic advisor if such a course exists.  If it does, writing a thesis to satisfy the Scholars program usually qualifies as a W-worthy activity.  Your academic advisor should be able to guide you in enrolling for this 491W while you are participating in the Scholars program.  If your department does not have a 491W course that you can use, you have the option of enrolling in the 491W Thesis Writing Course offered by LAUNCH: Undergraduate Research.  This Spring semester course is reserved only for Undergraduate Research Scholars.

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Will participation in the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program be noted on my transcript?
Yes.  Successful completion of the Undergraduate Research Scholars program will be noted both on your transcript and in your graduation program.

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Will I need Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval for my Research Scholars project if I am planning to work with human subjects?
Any research performed by Undergraduate Research Scholars involving interactions with human subjects (including surveys, questionnaires, interviews, and observations) must be reviewed by the TAMU Institutional Review Board  (IRB) before the research is initiated.  This includes research done in a research methods class, as your  Scholars Thesis will be published in a public repository.   If you plan any human subjects research, talk to your advisor about IRB approval before you begin to prepare your proposal.  If your advisor does not have IRB approval for your study you will have to obtain it, which can sometimes take over two months.  If your proposal includes the possibility of human subjects research, the Undergraduate Research office will automatically route it to the IRB.  You will be contacted directly by the IRB staff, who will help you initiate your IRB approval.  Approval will include online training using the CITI training program.  Your Scholars proposal will not be approved by Undergraduate Research until we receive evidence (e.g., a PDF of an approved IRB application) that you have obtained any necessary IRB approvals.  If you have not provided Undergraduate Research with documented IRB approval of your project by the first installment deadline, you will be dropped from the Undergraduate Research Scholars program.  More information can be obtained at the IRB website.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you have already collected data from human subjects without IRB approval (e.g., a questionnaire  during a trip abroad last summer or a research project in a class last year), YOU MAY  NOT USE THOSE DATA for your Scholars project.  You must reinitiate data collection after obtaining IRB approval.  When in doubt, always ask BEFORE collecting data on human subjects.

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Will I need Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval for my Research Scholars project if I am planning to work with animals?
Any research performed by Undergraduate Research Scholars involving vertebrate animal subjects (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, non-human mammals) in which the natural lifestyle or movements of the animals are materially altered requires approval of an Animal Use Protocol (AUP) by the IACUC before the research is initiated. Use of animal carcasses, tissues, and fluids obtained specifically for research purposes is also subject to review according to applicable regulations.   If you plan any animal research, talk to your advisor about IACUC approval before you begin to prepare your proposal.  In most cases, your advisor will already have an approved AUP for your study and can add you to it by amendment.  The amendment process will still take time, however, as you will be required to take on-line animal use training.  If your advisor does not have an approved AUP for your study, he or she will have to obtain one for you, which can sometimes take several months.  For this reason, we strongly recommend that you do not propose studies requiring new IACUC approvals.  If your proposal includes the possibility of vertebrate animal research, Undergraduate Research will automatically route it to the IACUC.  You will be contacted directly by the IACUC staff, who will help you initiate your IACUC approval.  Approval will include online training using the CITI training program.  Your Scholars proposal will not be approved by Undergraduate Research staff until we receive evidence (e.g., a PDF of an approved AUP) that you have obtained any necessary IACUC approvals.  If you have not provided Undergraduate Research with documented IACUC approval of your project by the first installment deadline, you will be dropped from the Undergraduate Research Scholars program.  More information can be obtained at the IACUC website.

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Will I need Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) approval for my Research Scholars project if I am planning to work with transgenic or pathogenic organisms (microbes, plants, or animals)?
Any research performed by Undergraduate Research Scholars involving the use of biological materials (e.g. bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc.) that could pose a threat to plans or animals, especially humans, or the environment. Biological materials that include human or non-human primate cells, blood, or tissues, recombinant DNA, select agents and toxins, or anything that requires a CDC or USDA permit requires review and approval by the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) before the research is initiated and all personnel must have completed all necessary training for the lab they will be working in.  If you plan any of this type of research, talk to your advisor about IBC approval before you begin to prepare your proposal.  In most cases, because you should be working on an established project in a University laboratory your advisor will already have IBC approval for your study and can add you to it by amendment.  Be sure to ask your advisor about mandated safety training.  If your advisor does not have IBC approval for your study, he or she will have to obtain one for you, which can sometimes take several months.  For this reason, we strongly recommend that you do not propose studies requiring new IBC approvals.  Your Scholars proposal will not be approved by Undergraduate Research until we receive evidence (e.g., a PDF of IBC approval) that you have obtained any necessary IBC approvals.  If you have not provided Undergraduate Research staff with documented IBC approval of your project by the first installment deadline, you will be dropped from the Undergraduate Research Scholars program.  More information can be obtained at the IBC website.

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Can I submit my Undergraduate Research Scholars proposal and timeline even though I haven’t yet received IRB/IACUC approval for my project?
Yes, but you can’t start collecting data until IRB/IACUC approval is received.  Go ahead and submit your Scholars proposal to HUR for approval even if you have not yet received compliance approval.  As part of the review process, we will contact you if we feel that your proposal needs approval by any of these compliance committees, and will forward your proposal to the appropriate committee.  The committee will contact you to assure you are properly approved.  We will not grant final approval to your proposal until you send us assurance that you have received your necessary compliance approvals (either an email from the compliance committee or a copy of an approved protocol number on which you will be working).  You may not begin your research until you have received confirmation that it has been approved by the appropriate committee.  If you have not provided Undergraduate Research staff with documented IACUC approval of your project by December 1, you will be dropped from the Undergraduate Research Scholars program.

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Can I use the work I do in my research methods class or my departmental honors thesis as a basis for participation in the Undergraduate Research Scholars program?
Yes.  Many departments offer one or two semester classes in which students develop independent research projects to become more familiar with research methods in their discipline.  Other departments require an original research thesis to graduate with Honors.  Material from these activities can be developed into a Research Scholars thesis.  Regardless of what the expectations were for the class or thesis (e.g., deadlines, materials submitted, faculty interaction), if you intend to participate in the Undergraduate Research Scholars program you must still meet all of the required Scholars deadlines during fall and spring semesters.  These include submission of a proposal signed by a faculty advisor, chapter and progress report deadlines, public presentation, and preparation of a final thesis using the Scholars thesis format.  If your project involves human subjects or animal research, it is essential that you confirm from the appropriate compliance committee (IRB or IACUC) that your study is approved for external publication (Scholars theses are published to a public digital repository) even if the course already has its own IRB approval.  If your class only lasts one semester, you will still be expected to submit the required Scholars documentation (proposal, progress report, chapters, presentation form, final thesis) on our two semester schedule.

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Can I finish the Undergraduate Research Scholars program after I graduate?
No.  Your thesis must be approved and filed before graduation.

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What happened to the Undergraduate Honors Research Fellows Program?

The undergraduate Honors Research Fellows Program, which was reserved for Honors students with a greater than 3.5 GPR , was discontinued in 2012.  Beginning in Fall of 2012 Honors students wishing to participate in a one year research project culminating in a thesis should participate in the Undergraduate Research Scholars program.  Successful completion of the Scholars program will qualify as a “capstone experience” required for graduation with Honors Fellows distinction.

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4. The Undergraduate Thesis Writing Course
What is the Thesis Writing Course?
The Thesis Writing Course (UGST 485) is a 1-credit, seminar style course available each spring only to students participating in the Undergraduate Research Scholars program.  The course is designed to provide you with guidance in preparing abstracts and public presentations, creating graphics, understanding your legal responsibilities as an author, and writing your Scholars thesis.  By registering for the course, you will receive W credit for writing your Scholars thesis.  The syllabus for the course is located on Howdy as UGST 485W, Section 900.

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How can I use the W credit from the Thesis Writing Course?
You may use the W credit from the Thesis Writing course to satisfy one of the two W course requirements necessary to graduate in your major.  To assure that you receive this W credit, your departmental undergraduate advisor must have submitted a form requesting W course approval for your major for the UGST class.  If you are unsure whether your department has submitted this form talk to your undergraduate advisor or contact ugr@tamu.edu.

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Is the Thesis Writing Course required for participation in the Undergraduate Research Scholars program?
No.  Students participating in the Scholars program may elect to take the Thesis Writing course to satisfy one of their W course requirements, but it is not required. 

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Are there other ways to obtain W credit for writing an Undergraduate Research Scholars Thesis?
Some departments have established their own 491W course for this purpose.  Check with your undergraduate advisor to see if you qualify.
 
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5. Undergraduate Research Internships and Fellowships
What types of paid research positions are available?
 Many faculty hire paid student workers to participate in research projects.   Some of these are hourly jobs which have very specific duties critical to a larger, ongoing project, such as maintaining equipment, washing dishes, caring for animals, writing code, analyzing samples, or collecting data.  Often these paid positions do not give you the freedom to develop your own project, but they do offer great entry-level research experiences and provide the opportunity to conceive your own project based on the experience you have gained.  Occasionally faculty will have funded  projects that specifically include support for undergraduate research.  This is common for projects funded by major federal granting agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, NASA, or the National Institutes of Health.  You find out about these positions by talking to faculty, staff, and fellow students, asking questions at informationals and student organization meetings, from signs posted around buildings, and checking to see if any have been listed at hireaggies.com.

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How do I go about finding a paid summer undergraduate research position?
Finding a paid summer position requires planning.  Because all summer positions require a faculty recommendation letter, it is important that you get involved in undergraduate research at Texas A&M as early as possible.  Talk to your faculty mentor or academic advisor about your interest in summer programs during the Fall semester.  Many application deadlines are in December or January.  The Career Center and LAUNCH: Undergraduate Research jointly hold workshops in December and January on how to find a paid summer internship or research position.  The Career Center also maintains an extensive catalog of internship and summer research opportunities, including searchable online databases, that are available to you.  You should begin looking around Thanksgiving and narrow your choices to complete your applications over the winter break.  Dr. Gita Bosch has published an excellent article about summer research participation and its importance to your future in the 2014 SACNAS newsletter.

 
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6. Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Programs
 
What is an REU program?
Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) programs are summer research programs funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).  NSF REUs pay students to participate in an immersive research experience during the summer.  Typically, university programs apply and receive support for a cohort of students to work on related projects during the summer.  Alternatively, individual faculty can apply to receive a supplement to their NSF grants to support a single student for the summer.  At Texas A&M, there are about fifteen REU programs each summer in engineering, science, liberal arts, and agriculture.   They provide support for groups of 10-12 students to participate in 10 weeks of full time (40 hours/week minimum) science, technology, engineering, or mathematics research in an academic department.  Students also have the opportunity to engage in professional development activities such as GRE preparation courses, research ethics and career planning workshops, facility tours, and social events.  The objective is to provide students with experiences and knowledge that will increase the likelihood of continuing on to graduate school in STEM fields.  You can search for REU programs of interest at the NSF REU website. 

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How do I go about applying to an REU program?
Visit the NSF REU website and search for programs that are of interest to you.  Visit the web pages linked from the NSF site to learn more about how to obtain additional information and apply.  Also, you can check out the NSF REU programs at Texas A&M.  Although these programs primarily accept students from other institutions, their Directors can provide information on other programs that might interest you.  If you are already involved in undergraduate research, talk to your research advisor about the possibility of applying for an REU. If your advisor has NSF support, he or she may be able to obtain a supplement for your research.  NSF REU APPLICATION DEADLINES ARE TYPICALLY EARLY IN SPRING SEMESTER, so you should identify programs and begin your application process in the Fall.

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