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About Student Research

Student Research with Faculty

Undergraduate students may work with faculty members as part of a(n)

  • Unpaid internship
  • Independent study course for academic credit
  • Paid research assistant position

Laws about Unpaid, Not-for-Credit Student Researchers 

The laws that govern volunteering permit full-time, currently enrolled students or a student who is between programs (as long as no more than six months has elapsed between the end of one program and the start of the next) to accept an unpaid, un-credited research position if the experience is primarily for the educational benefit of the student. The position may be conducted as an in-person experience, remotely or virtually. A faculty member who is unclear about whether a plan for a research experience meets the standards outlined below should consult the Office of the Dean of Arts, Sciences and Engineering.

Student Classifications

The following chart provides an outline for faculty to identify which student classification best fits their needs and the operations of the department, as well as the needs of students.

Student Classification

Academic Credit

Compensation

Eligible for Grants, Stipends or Funds

Faculty Responsibility 
and Guidelines

Independent Study: Research

Yes

None

Yes

(Can be applied to living expenses, travel, room and board, meals)

This classification requires:

Research Assistant

No

Yes

Yes

This classification requires:

  • Supervision
  • Performance evaluations
  • Agreed upon schedule and terms of employment
  • Specific job description

Unpaid Research Experience

No

None

Yes

(Can be applied to living expenses, travel, room and board, meals)

This classification requires:

  • Completion of online notification form
  • An explicit educational purpose documented at the outset, as well as a clear a relationship to student’s program of study
  • Supervision by faculty member or appropriate delegate
  • Experience must have a defined beginning and end, and last no longer than one semester; if appropriate, it may be renewed
  • Student will provide a final project not to be graded (e.g., oral presentation to lab group or wider audience, written report presented to supervising faculty member, poster presented at formal poster presentation event)