Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate research and creative activity foster independent learning and complement coursework in meaningful, self-enriching ways. It is an academic inquiry conducted by an undergraduate that employs discipline-specific methodologies and results in a product notable for its originality, rigor and/or creativity.

Suitable products include essays, reports, experiments, artworks or performances. Research opportunities are available in all fields of study, including the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, applied sciences and fine arts. Much undergraduate research is interdisciplinary and collaborative, either amongst a group of students or through working with a faculty mentor.

The Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity (OURCA) supports the work of students in all disciplines, programs and majors. We encourage you to visit us to discuss your interests.

The Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity (OURCA) facilitates the integration of student learning through research and creative activity beyond the traditional classroom. We provide opportunities for undergraduates to expand research literacy skills and engage in projects that put classroom coursework and academic theory into practice.

We view research as a deep learning experience, which motivates understanding of basic concepts through their application to a question or problem to help students develop a deeper understanding of more complex issues.

The OURCA is open to all students, regardless their major or stage of educational development. We advise and prepare undergraduates on how to find research opportunities, how to work with faculty and how to collaborate with each other in innovative and interdisciplinary ways.

We support the presentation of research and creative activity in local (including the annual Paideia research conference), regional and national conferences, juried shows, performances, competitions, other presentation modalities, and journal publication (including The Cupola).

The OURCA values and respects:

  • Each student’s individual learning path
  • The discovery of new knowledge(s)
  • Intellectual risk-taking
  • An opportunity for active learning, beyond the classroom
  • An opportunity to think about the relationships within and across disciplines

The OURCA values undergraduate engagement in research as a path to afford faculty members:

  • Fresh points of view that may reveal new ways of articulating established theories
  • The chance to communicate joy and passion about their research to undergraduates
  • The opportunity to invite new students into their disciplinary fields
  • An atmosphere in which undergraduates operate as active cooperators in the search for new knowledges rather than as passive recipients of what the faculty member already knows

The OURCA values the role that undergraduate research plays in relationship to:

  • Each student’s holistic undergraduate experience
  • classroom learning
  • Personal growth and development of long-term educational and career plans
  • Building a community of scholars

The OURCA values the public presentation and dissemination of each student’s work as:

  • A completion step in the research or creative process
  • A means by which undergraduates more fully develop research literacy competencies
  • A way to help students develop skills that are applicable and transferable to their development as future citizens

  • Research Apprentice Program
  • Summer Scholars
  • Research LENS Grants
  • Research LENS Travel Fund
  • Paideia
  • The Cupola

Which program fits my needs?

  Research LENS Travel Fund Research Apprentice Program Summer Scholars Independent Research Grants The Cupola Paideia
I'm traveling to a conference to present my research or creative work. Y, up to $500          

I’m traveling to take a master class.

Y, up to $500          
I'm traveling to conduct research. Y, up to $500          

I’m in the initial stages of a new research or creative project.

  Y   Y    
I’m looking to conduct ongoing research or creative project.   Y Y Y    
I’m looking to collaborate with a faculty member on research or a creative project.     Y      
I’m looking to conduct research or a creative project over the summer.     Y Y    
I’m looking to publish my research or creative project on campus.         Y Y
I’m looking to present my research or creative project on campus.         Y Y

What are the deadlines?

Research LENS Travel Fund Deadline
For conference / performance travel between January 1 and March 31 December 1
For conference / performance travel between April 1 and June 30 March 1
For conference / performance travel between July 1 and September 30 June 1
For conference / performance travel between October 1 and December 31 September 1

Program Fall Deadline Spring Deadline Summer Deadline
Research Apprentice Program Mid-March    
Summer Scholars     Mid-February
Independent Research Grants June 1 December 1 March 15
The Cupola (publication in June)   Early May  

Please review application guidelines on the OURCA website to determine eligibility before applying to any of these programs.

Please direct any questions to Dr. David A. Salomon, Director, OURCA, at david.salomon@cnu.edu or (757) 594-8587.

  • Advising conference and publication opportunities for undergraduates
  • Help with designing conference posters
  • Help with designing PowerPoint demonstrations
  • Mock run-through and critiques of presentations


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