Oregon State University

Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate research is "An inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original, intellectual, or creative contribution to the discipline..." (Council on Undergraduate Research).

In the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, undergraduates have access to world-class faculty conducting research in a variety of fields (see the CEOAS Research webpage). As a student in CEOAS, you have an opportunity to engage in scholarly pursuits by contributing your creativity, elbow grease, and enthusiasm. You can also choose to develop a research project into a Senior Thesis, and/or earn transcript notation as a Research Fellow. Research can take many forms, including field work, laboratory work, literature investigations, cultural inquiries, or a combination of these and other approaches. The underlying principle is simply that you develop your skills for independent inquiry in partnership with your faculty mentor.

By engaging in undergraduate research, you will have the opportunity to:

How to Get Involved in Undergraduate Research

The one thing that is absolutely essential for engaging in undergraduate research is cultivating a relationship with a faculty mentor. You start this process by:

Earn Undergraduate Research Credit

You may earn from 1 to 16 credits for your research by registering for credit (ATS/ENSC/GEO/OC 401). There are no formal college requirements for completing research credits; the requirements of the final product, typically a written report, are determined by your faculty mentor. Prior to registering for research credits, you should establish a written agreement with your research mentor clearly defining the expectations and outcomes of your research project (i.e., a research project proposal).

Research credits are graded on an A-F basis, and your faculty mentor will grade your work. An override is required to register for 401 credits, also approved by your faculty mentor.

Senior Thesis

A senior thesis is the completion of an undergraduate research project culminating in a written thesis and a short presentation of the work. Any student in CEOAS may complete a thesis, and this is excellent preparation for similar work in a graduate school or a career field. If you are interested in completing a thesis, plan well in advance (i.e., your junior year) and discuss this with your faculty mentor.

Finding Undergraduate Research in CEOAS

To learn more about who's doing what in terms of research within CEOAS, consider the following resources to learn more about the research and identify faculty members conducting that research:

Funding Research

While funding support for research can provide resources for materials and compensation for your time, funding is NOT required to begin engaging in research. In fact, the most successful pathway to finding research support is by first engaging in research without funding. This helps you gather the experience and knowledge necessary to then be successful finding support. So, do not let a lack of funding deter you from pursuing research opportunities.

Funding Specific to OSU and Oregon University System (OUS):

Regionally & Nationally Competitive Funding Opportunities:


If you have additional questions regarding undergraduate research in CEOAS, please feel to contact these people:

- Andrew Meigs, Program Head of Earth Sciences - Geology meigsa@geo.oregonstate.edu
- Rob Wheatcroft, Program Head of Earth Sciences - Earth Systems raw@coas.oregonstate.edu
- Julia Jones, Program Head of Earth Sciences - Geography Julia.Jones@oregonstate.edu
- Larry Becker, Program Head of Environmental Sciences beckerla@science.oregonstate.edu
- Kaplan Yalcin, Senior Instructor and REU Coordinator yalcink@science.oregonstate.edu

Additional general information can be found at Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and the Arts (URSA), OSU's portal for information on undergraduate research.