The University of Texas at Austin serves Texas and the nation as one of the most highly rated public research universities in the United States. Researchers at UT are leaders in a variety of fields that touch our daily lives and shape our future. Whether they study nanotechnology or musical composition, child welfare or popular culture, UT faculty and students pursue, produce, and publish innovative research every day. Their work fuels the teaching, lectures, and other events that help make UT an exciting and vibrant intellectual community of scholars, teachers, and learners. As a UT student, you can become an active member of this community by participating in undergraduate research.
The benefits for students engaged in research and creative work are numerous.
Undergraduate research usually takes the form of either a student-initiated individual project or assistance on a faculty member’s project. In both cases, the faculty member serves as a mentor to the student, in the sense that he or she teaches the student about the techniques, skills, and culture that accompany that field of research.
The specific tasks that undergraduate researchers carry out are as varied as the interests of UT’s faculty. Some representative tasks include
Depending on your major and the details of your research project, you may be able to earn course credit through the School of Undergraduate Studies.
Individual research includes theses, independent studies, and creative projects. The Undergraduate Research Journal provides excellent examples of what a student can accomplish in an individual research project. The journal is student-edited and publishes an array of multidisciplinary work from undergraduates across campus.
As an undergraduate researcher writing a thesis or independent project, you have the opportunity to create a product that reflects your unique interests, as well as your passion and commitment to learning.
Assistance on a Research Project
Serving as a research assistant involves working with a faculty member or graduate student on an existing research project. Such an experience can provide you with valuable training in how to conduct research. You also get the chance to work closely with renowned faculty and with members of a research team. As a research assistant, you typically assist with a project rather than conduct your own study.
Much of the research activity carried out by UT faculty and students takes place on campus, whether in labs, classrooms, archives, or libraries. In some disciplines, work is conducted at field sites in Austin or throughout the region, including local businesses or non-profits.
Research can also take place while studying abroad, which can provide excellent opportunities to gain cross-cultural skills and experiences. The Study Abroad Office helps make international learning experiences available to every student. Advisors in that office can help connect you to programs that include a research component. A variety of partners and programs can facilitate research abroad.