In CEOAS, undergraduate research refers to a wide range of research activities that take place in classrooms, computers, fields, labs and libraries. Undergraduate research establishes mentoring relationships between faculty and undergraduates in their academic programs at OSU. Engaging in undergraduate research helps students build confidence, develop problem-solving skills, and establish relationships with faculty members. In addition, it augments an undergraduate student’s coursework and can help solidify career plans and graduate school admissions.

There are many benefits to doing Undergraduate Research. Here are our top 5:

  1. Develop creativity, communication, problem-solving, and intellectual independence
  2. Engage in mentoring relationships with faculty outside the classroom
  3. Solidify career plans & graduate school admissions
  4. Present and/or publish research ideas and findings
  5. Earn academic credit in your major and/or Transcript Notation

Connecting and engaging with faculty members in your area of interest early is key. Here are our top tips to get you started:

  1. Engage in your classes, consult with professors in office hours
  2. Attend an URSA research workshop
  3. Consult with the Office of Undergraduate Research and the Arts (URSA)
  4. Attend a Faculty Research Showcase
  5. Volunteer, work, or intern with faculty members in labs, on field sites, or on projects.
  6. Browse the CEOAS faculty directory or other colleges’ faculty directories to access faculty webpages and learn more about faculty research and areas of expertise
  7. Check out the CEOAS research pages, then drill down by research subjects areas to identify areas of focus and affiliated faculty within the college
  8. Check out ongoing annual research opportunities on our curated spreadsheet Internship/Research Programs
  9. Explore Summer Research Opportunities through the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates
  10. REU
  12. Konza REU

Get engaged and involved in research early. Start by learning more about it. From professors, teaching assistants, and other undergraduate student researchers. In classes, lectures, seminars and at faculty-student research mixers. Continue by volunteering or working in a research lab, in the field, or on a research project. Take it to the next level by developing a research proposal of your own with a faculty mentor.

Can I get academic credit for research? Yes!

Advance approval is required and cannot be granted for research already completed.

To be approved you must demonstrate that your research project is independent and original and that you have a qualified faculty mentor to guide you.

NOTE: If you are otherwise engaged in research activities through work, volunteer, or someone else’s project, etc.) see the Internships page.

There are two paths:

You can choose either academic credit or non-credit, depending whether you need credit to graduate, for financial aid enrollment level, or other reason. 

Academic Credit Non-Credit
  • Non-tuition bearing
  • Does NOT count toward:
    • Institutional/total credits
    • Experiential learning in major
    • Upper division credits
    • Enrollment for financial aid
  • Graded “SC” or “NSC”*
  • Does NOT impact GPA
  • Transcript visible
  • May be repeated multiple terms
  • ≥ 3 hours/week x 10 weeks to earn SC*
  • Non-credit Research Agreement Form

*"Successful Completion" or "Non-successful Completion"


Approval Process


Thesis and research both represent independent research. However, thesis credit is typically granted for writing a thesis, after you have completed or are close to completing your research. Thesis credits also culminate in a thesis report and a public presentation of the thesis work.

Geology & Geophysics Day ~ every spring term
Geography Day ~ every spring term

Celebrating Undergraduate Excellence (CUE) ~ every spring term
Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium (SURS) ~ every summer term

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.

Potential Funding Resources:

Transcript notation is OSU’s recognition of significant engagement and accomplishment in undergraduate research and the arts with the honor distinction on your transcript “Research Fellow.” Learn more on the Transcript Notation page

Questions? Ask Mary.

Mary Chuinard
Director of Undergraduate Student Services and Head Advisor