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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 in 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 are 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.


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



"Thank you [to my mentor] for showing me how amazing research is. As a transfer student, I was lost in a new setting during my first term on campus. By taking your interdisciplinary research course, you opened my eyes to how transformational research can be for the researcher. Without you and that course, I would not have found my passion."

A 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