Undergraduate Research: Introduction

Q:  What is Undergraduate Research?
A:  Undergraduate research is a collaboration between a student and a faculty member in making a creative, original contribution to a given discipline, first by investigating that topic, then by sharing their findings with the academic community, usually through a conference presentation or journal publication.

This research is not limited to the traditional sciences, but includes the arts, education, engineering, health sciences, humanities, or any other topic which interests a student. Original creative work is also included (writing a short story or screenplay with a faculty mentor, for example).  Research projects can be anything from the investigation of the growth of cancer cells in cats to a study of common themes in 18th century Russian poetry, to interviewing survivors of a natural disaster, or working with a local business in designing a new marketing campaign.
 The research enhances the student’s involvement in and knowledge of a given field and brings new ideas to all who are interested in that field, therefore encouraging further research or creative work.

Q:  Why do undergraduate research?
A: Undergraduate Research…

  • Helps you obtain greater knowledge of a field beyond the classroom
  • Demonstrates application of knowledge beyond the classroom
  • Demonstrates initiative, leadership skills, and an ability to collaborate
  • Demonstrates good communication skills (i.e., conference presentation/publication)
  • Enhances your resume

Q:  Who does undergraduate research?
A:  Anyone may choose to conduct research as an undergraduate at WCU.

  • Students with declared and undecided majors
  • Students across all disciplines and majors
  • Both Honors and non-Honors students
  • Freshman and upperclassmen


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