Here are answers to a few of the questions we hear most often.
Is undergraduate research only for students in the sciences?
No! Even though working in a science laboratory is the example of research that comes to mind for most people, undergraduate research can be done in any discipline. You should consider what your interests are and investigate options in the most likely areas. If finding a link to your academic department isn’t obvious, try speaking with your advisor or with the Center for Experiential Learning for ideas.
Can I do research in the sciences without being a Science Research Fellow (SRF)?
Yes! While Science Research Fellows is one way to get involved in research as an undergraduate, most students who pursue research at DePauw join projects by talking to faculty members and finding the right fit.
Can I do research as a first-year student?
Yes! Undergraduates may do research at any point during their time at DePauw. Some projects are better suited to different times during your education, but it’s not always obvious from the outside. Don’t rule anything out without having conversations with mentors.
Am I only allowed to do research in my major?
No! You may do research in any area. For many students, their deepest interests lie in their major, and thus it is most common for students to do research in their major. However, as a liberal arts institute, we encourage students to explore and synthesize multiple areas of interest.
Can research be done in the summer as well as during the academic year?
Yes. Students work with faculty members during both the academic year and the summer. During the academic year, progress on the project will likely be slower since both faculty and students have obligations to their course work. There is also limited funding available for students who work on projects during the summer. (Visit the Funding & Resources section for a listing of opportunities.) And some students combine academic-year and summer work for even deeper engagement.
Can I get credit for doing research?
Perhaps. During the academic year, you may be able to receive academic credit for research under some circumstances. Please talk with you faculty sponsor about this possibility.
Are there funds to help me attend conferences?
Yes. The Student Research & Artistic Grant can provide up to $600.00 per year for students who are presenting their work at conferences. There may also be some limited funding for conference attendance (without presenting) through departments. Talk with your faculty sponsor about these possibilities.
Do I need to apply to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) when I perform research with human participants?
Yes. It is important that you check the IRB website to determine whether your project requires approval from the IRB. This committee can also provide you with additional support for your research design, if you wish. However, concern about IRB approval should not prevent you from trying to identify research opportunities. The IRB process is something that is often worked through in collaboration with your faculty mentor.
May I conduct research with a faculty member on a voluntary basis, without receiving credit or payment?
The opportunity for students to work collaboratively with faculty members on research, scholarly, and creative activities is a valuable component of a liberal arts education. Whenever possible, DePauw University seeks to provide either academic credit or monetary compensation to students who engage in these activities. There are times, however, when a student is eager to pursue an opportunity for more informal collaboration for which neither credit nor funding is available. Although DePauw generally discourages these "voluntary" activities, exceptions may be made where possible, with approval from the Office of Academic Affairs, which will consult with Human Resources and Risk Management. Approval of voluntary collaboration between students and faculty members during the summer does not grant students access to University housing.