Undergraduate Research FAQ

Many common questions about undergraduate research are answered on these pages!

1. What research does your office support?

Faculty-mentored research, meaning undergraduates conduct research under the guidance of a faculty member. CCRF grants do not support “independent” research or BA/BS thesis research. Questions about research conducted solely for BA/BS theses should be directed to your respective departments.

*Please note: Questions about BA/BS thesis requirements and research to complete thesis should be directed to the granting department. CCRF cannot pair you with a faculty mentor, please refer to our faculty finding resources here, opportunities database, and #3&4 below.

2. Is undergraduate research just for STEM majors?

No! Our office supports research across all disciplines and departments. If you’re interested in humanities and social science research training and experience, remember to check out information on our College Summer Institute here

3. How do I get started in undergraduate research?

Students interested in pursuing undergraduate research should first start here and take time to self-reflect on your specific research interests and motivations. Once you have a good sense of your research interests, it’s time to reach out to potential faculty mentors. Find guidance on cold emailing and reaching out to mentors here.

4. I’ve reached out to many faculty, but no one has gotten back to me. What do I do now?

Do not give up and continue to search for potential faculty mentors. You may also try speaking to Directors of Undergraduate Studies of the department(s) for insight into which faculty you should reach out to. Consider speaking to your course professors during their office hours as well. A great starting question for your professors, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Post Doctoral Fellows, and even graduate students is, “I am interested in X; who should I reach out to for undergraduate research?”  Lastly, continue going to talks and workshops to meet with researchers and scholars who may potentially serve as faculty mentors.

Our CCRF Opportunities Database is continually updated so make sure to check the database, but there are always opportunities on and off campus not found in our database.

5. Can I get funding for my research?

Yes. Funding can come from a variety of sources, including a faculty member’s budget and federal work study funds, if you are eligible. CCRF also offers Check out our grants to support academic year, summer, and international research experiences. The Quad Undergraduate Research Scholars Program offers funding for two consecutive quarters during the academic year with deadlines during the Autumn and Winter Quarters. Remember, our office funds research across all fields and disciplines. The Quad Summer Undergraduate Research Scholars Program is portable and can be used for summer research on campus or at another U.S. institution.

6. I would like to do research abroad. Where do I start?

Our office directly supports two international research programs. The Straetz International Undergraduate Research Scholars Program provides up to $6500 to support full-time summer research abroad. Make sure to review the eligibility and application process in detail.

Students may also consider the University of Chicago and the University of Sussex International Junior Research Associates Program (IJRA) where students of the College are allowed to participate in Humanities and Social Science research at the UK’s University of Sussex.

Those pursuing independent research, or research experiences less than nine weeks in duration, should consider the Summer International Travel Grant offered by Study Abroad.

7. I will present my faculty-mentored research at a conference; can I get funding for this?

Yes! Consider applying for the Deans Fund for Undergraduate Research CONFERENCE at least three weeks in advance of your conference travel or participation. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis during the Autumn and Winter Quarters.

8. I need help writing a research abstract, creating a conference poster, or conference oral presentation.

Make sure you attend one of our information sessions. Visit the “Connect with Us” page to see up to date sessions. If you are unable to attend, visit our Resource Library for some of our previous sessions. We provide general, introductory guidance and remember your research mentors are always your best source for discipline-specific guidance.

9. Are there opportunities to present at a conference here on campus?

We are delighted to host UChicago’s annual Undergraduate Research Symposium each year in April. Hundreds of UChicago students present poster and oral presentations at this day-long flagship event and all UChicago College researchers are welcome to submit abstracts. You may browse our 2023 online proceedings here.

10. What other support do you provide students?

Our office supports undergraduate research and nationally competitive fellowships, which are prestigious nationally and internationally recognized fellowships. Many of our undergraduate researchers go on to become national and international fellows. Read more about the national fellowships we support here and browse through student stories here and here.

11. I want my bachelor’s degree to focus on research. Is there an option for this?

The bachelor of arts degree program in Inquiry and Research in the Humanities (IRHUM) offers undergraduates in any field and discipline an opportunity to develop humanistic techniques and research practices through humanistic inquiry. More detailed information on IRHUM may be found here.


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