Frequently Asked Questions
Here you will find quick answers to common student questions about research involvement and how to get started.
- What exactly is undergraduate research?
Research is an independent or collaborative project focused on discovering answers to questions or showcasing creative analysis in a specific discipline. Undergraduate researchers are usually assisted by a faculty or graduate student mentor.
"Undergraduate Research is a mentored investigation or creative inquiry conducted by undergraduates that seeks to make a scholarly or artistic contribution to knowledge."The Council on Undergraduate Research 2021
- What are the benefits of doing undergraduate research or creative activity?
Undergraduate research allows you to develop many skills, including critical thinking, problem solving, data analysis, scholarly article comprehension, and learning through hands-on experiences. These skills can help with all future college and career endeavors, especially if you’re interested in graduate degree programs.
- Can I do undergraduate research, even if I do not want to be a professional researcher
or go to graduate school?
Of course! The benefits of undergraduate research extend to all students, regardless of career path. One of these benefits include clarifying your interests and future career aspirations. All students can be undergraduate researchers.
- Can I do research if I am not in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)?
Absolutely, professors in all departments throughout CAS conduct research and creative inquiry. You should seek out research opportunities that spark your curiosity. It's very likely there is a research mentor at OSU who will be excited to work with you!
- Can I do research in a department outside my major, or with a professor whose class
I have not taken?
Of course! Many professors are open to mentoring new undergraduate researchers, even if they have not had the student in class.
- Can I still do research if I was not part of the Freshman Research Scholars program?
Absolutely, there are many opportunities available for OSU students beyond Freshman Research Scholars. You can get started at any time. Reach out if you want assistance taking the first steps.
- Can I do research if I am a freshman, first-year student, or transfer student?
Yes! Research and creative activity experiences are for everyone.
- Do I need to have previous research experience in order to be an OSU student researcher?
No, you don't! Research is for everyone and you do not need prior experience to try a new research opportunity.
- What can I do to get started on a research or creative project?
There are many ways to get started but a great first step is to attend one of our "Get Started" workshops for more information on getting involved in research. See our Resources page for this semester's workshop schedule.
- How do I find out what kind of research a professor does, so I can see if that topic
There are many places to look for potential research mentors. Some good first steps include browsing faculty profiles on department websites. OSU's searchable research database is at experts.okstate.edu. Search by research topic or mentor name for more information.
- How do I find out which professors are looking for researchers, and how do I contact
those I am interested in working with?
Reaching out to potential research mentors via email is common. You might also speak to a professor after class or during their office hours if you would like to ask them more about research projects and opportunities.
- Can I get paid to do research, or do research for work-study?
Often, yes. If you are looking for a paid research position, you should speak to potential faculty mentors about paid opportunities to work with them. They might have an open position for you! If you are eligible for work-study financial aid, you may be able to do research as a work-study job. Check out the AURCA program in CAS for more information about work-study positions in research and creative activity. Many summer programs at OSU and other campuses offer paid undergraduate research experiences. Reach out to us for help browsing paid summer opportunities.
- Can I do research for course credit? Will research experiences show on my transcript?
Yes, many departments offer research courses that allow you to conduct research or creative activity with a faculty mentor and receive course credit for the work you do. These credits show on your transcript and may contribute to degree requirements just like classroom-based courses. OSU also offers the Undergraduate Research Scholar Transcript Designation, which entails certain requirements and shows your participation in research as a special designation on your transcript. For a more in-depth experience, you can aim for the Undergraduate Research Certificate.
- How do I prepare a research abstract, poster, or presentation?
OSU offers training sessions for students need assistance preparing a research abstract, poster, or presentation. Be sure to register with the CAS Research Office and follow @CASResearchOSU for updates on upcoming workshops. You can reach out to us with specific questions as you prepare an abstract or presentation. CAS Research is here to help!