Types of Undergraduate Research

Scholarly undergraduate research experiences at The University of Chicago and beyond occur in all disciplines. Although undergraduate research may vary among disciplines, below are some common types and characteristics of undergraduate research experiences.

CCRF recommends that all College students interested in pursuing undergraduate research should attend a quarterly Undergraduate Research Information Session. Students may also learn more information on our Getting Started page

Undergraduate Research Assistants or Associates

  • Research experience under the direct supervision of a faculty or other research mentor
  • Work alongside research mentors on their larger project(s)
  • Gain research experience and tools 
  • Develop scholarly research knowledge and skills
  • Seek opportunity for a more long-term experience (over multiple quarters/into the summer) 
  • Be engaged and maximize opportunity by committing time and energy to one project

Undergraduate Research Scholar

  •   More extensive research experience or opportunity with research mentor(s)
  •   Ability to further advance and apply research knowledge and skills
  •   Enhanced and expected scholarly research contributions and production
  •   Often funded and supported research project(s)
  •   Recognition of scholarly research engagement and potential
  •   Establishing and contributing to a research community

Domestic Research Opportunities and Programs 

  • Domestic research opportunities mirror other types of undergraduate research with faculty and research mentors at domestic locations other than UChicago
  • Formal and structured domestic research programs provide intensive and immersive undergraduate research in a variety of fields
  • Research programs typically require formal applications with strict deadlines 
  • Research programs come with established financial support and research programming
  • Research programs provide opportunities for research development, networking, and community-building with a program cohort

International Research Opportunities and Programs 

  • International research opportunities mirror other types of undergraduate research (i.e., B.A. thesis reasearch, research programs and research assistant positions) but take place outside of the U.S. 
  • Students can seek UChicago funding for thesis research abroad or undergraduate research at international research institutions 
  • Students can work with CCRF staff to successfully apply for international research program opportunities

Independent Research, directed by faculty

  • Faculty-mentored independent research for credit 
  • Usually done in the context of a Reading and Research (R & R) course. For more information, refer to the College academics page

BA Thesis Research

  • Some College departments and majors have thesis research requirements
  • Connect with the director of undergraduate studies in your department for thesis requirements and expectations
  • Students may apply for research grants, such as the Summer International Travel Grant (SITG), and department-specific grants to help fund thesis research efforts

Activities that are NOT undergraduate research:

  • Professional internships/externships/job shadowing/career treks
  • "Micro" or short-term experiences that are less than 30 days
  • Student activities
  • Course practicums, long-essays produced for courses
  • Independent study undertaken without the direct supervision of a faculty research mentor
  • Administrataive employment positions for deparatments, faculty, or labs

Please keep in mind that you should not plan to collect research experiences for the sake of padding your resume. You will get the most out of research if you commit significant time to the effort(s)!