Undergraduate Research at Vanderbilt
Undergraduate research comes in many flavors at Vanderbilt. It is integrated into many of our academic courses and is featured as the capstone experience in a number of majors at the University.
It features in some of our most prominent summer programs; the VUSRP and an array of parallel programs housed in colleges and schools and their departments and programs offer summer support on a competitive basis to a number of undergraduate students seeking to collaborate with Vanderbilt’s esteemed research faculty.
It is found in an array of volunteer- and student-initiated opportunities that reflect the broad interests of the undergraduate population at large.
Vanderbilt also sponsors special undergraduate research opportunities for students from other colleges and universities, giving students from across the nation (and the world) a chance to experience the intensity and rewards of Vanderbilt’s research mission.
Finding Research Opportunities
In addition to courses and course sequences in various departments and programs, students at Vanderbilt often participate in research informally or through independent study or summer work. Department and laboratory websites, discussions with academic advisers, with directors of Undergraduate Studies, and with other faculty, attendance at research colloquia and poster sessions, and consultation with returning students may give students insights into avenues they might pursue.
- Office of Honors Scholarships (OHS)
- The Office of Honors Scholarships provides information, outreach, and support to Vanderbilt students who have the potential to become candidates for nationally-competitive fellowships; see the list of successful candidates from the 2011-2012 national scholarship competitions.
- A separate OHS page summarizes opportunities for Vanderbilt sophomores and juniors.
- The School of Engineering provides guidelines for undergraduates seeking research opportunities in its programs.
- Through the Blair School of Music, undergraduate students have annual opportunities to audition for the Blair School of Music Student Showcase and for the Vanderbilt University Concerto Competition; the final round of the Concerto Competition is open to the public.
- At Peabody College, undergraduates frequently work on research projects with faculty through VUSRP projects, research classes, and on a voluntary basis. The Peabody Library provides an overview of library services for students.
- The College of Arts and Science describes its academic resources for research opportunities.
- Undergraduate students with research projects at the Kennedy Center can compete for recognition through the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center’s Science Day ; see a description of the 2012 winners.
Note: University policies on technology transfer apply to student projects; questions can be directed to the Center for Technology Transfer & Commercialization. The full policy is also available.
Summer Research Programs
Vanderbilt offers a rich array of summer research programs, including:
- Vanderbilt Undergraduate Summer Research Programs (VUSRP)
- Systems Biology and Bioengineering Undergraduate Research Experience (SyBBURE)
- An article on SyBBURE appeared in Vanderbilt Magazine recently.
- Vanderbilt School of Engineering Summer Research Program
- Vanderbilt Summer Science Academy (VSSA), targeted at students from other colleges and universities; offers biomedical research opportunities
A number of other summer offerings are housed at the department level of the four undergraduate colleges and schools.
Summer Opportunities Away from Campus
Most individual departments track opportunities for summer research within particular disciplines; a departmental adviser or Director of Undergraduate Studies will be able to guide you toward resources.
Rising Juniors and Seniors with a commitment to eradicating racial disparities in graduate school may be interested in the Moore Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (MURAP) at the University of North Carolina.
Recognition for Undergraduate Research
- Vanderbilt Undergraduate Research Journal (VURJ) – an annual peer-reviewed journal designed to publish outstanding scholarship by Vanderbilt undergraduates in any academic discipline.
- Past VURJ issues are housed at the Vanderbilt Libraries.
- The Vanderbilt Writing Studio sponsors an annual Undergraduate Writing Symposium.
- An array of prizes for undergraduate research are offered each year by departments, programs, and the undergraduate colleges and schools.