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Undergraduate Research: Experience Your Major

Student presenting at symposium to other students

What exactly is undergraduate research? Does research have to happen in a lab surrounded by beakers and burners? Are graduate students the only participants of university research? Research can be described in many ways and looks different for each discipline. Any scholarly and/or creative projects in which both a faculty/researcher and student are collaborative partners in examining, creating, and sharing new knowledge or works in ways consistent with practices in the discipline is considered research. 

Undergraduate research can look vastly different between disciplines, but the underlying principle is the same: exploration and discovery. Whether your research leads you out on a boat to collect water samples or is required before creating a beautiful work of art, the value of undergraduate research is priceless. Students who have participated in undergraduate research benefit in many ways, including:

1.) acquiring research, communication, and professional skills

2.) developing critical thinking, self-confidence, and creativity

3.) engaging a deeper understanding of a discipline or potential career path and

4.) strengthening preparation for graduate or professional school, or the workforce.


"I have gained many valuable skills from participating on this research project and working in a faculty-led research lab. Participating in research at the undergraduate level is teaching me how to effectively manage my time, interact within a research group and with other faculty members in a professional setting, and valuable skills that I will carry with me to graduate school. ... I am well on my way to amassing a toolbox of skills including project management, literature searching, experimental design planning, technical writing, and hand-on lab technique that will set me apart from the average ... undergraduate."

Previous UWF Undergraduate Researcher

"This [research] experience has taught me I am capable of more than I thought possible and has inspired me to pursue a possible career in research. [Undergraduate research] took my undergraduate education and made it personalized to my specific interests."

Previous UWF Undergraduate Researcher

Haley McQueen discusses the benefits of working with the Office of Undergraduate Research.