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Undergraduate Research

What is Undergraduate Research?

An inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original, intellectual, or creative contribution to the discipline...(www.cur.org)

Faculty and students in our program pursue research on environmental problems to to expand our knowledge base through experimentation or exploration focused on the discovery of new observations or facets of fundamental environmentally related theories.

These research experiences can be highly varied and may be initiated by students who seek out an experience related to their chosen Learning Pathway or through faculty solicitation for help with a specific research project.  Most research in our program is presented to your peers and Environmental Studies faculty during our spring colloquium but research could also result in publication or presentation at a conference.

Why should I get involved in research?

There are many reasons why undergraduate students get involved in research and they range from educational to personal to professional.  From an educational viewpoint this is your opportunity to work closely with a faculty member, learn about how research is conducted in your pathway of study,  and to develop the ability to critically think in the situations you will be faced with in your profession. By participating in research, you will prepare for your future career through on the job skills development, learning how to work in a team, growing your experience in professional communication and finally learning how to take on a project from start to finish.

How do I get started?

The first place to start is to ask yourself a question.  What environmental issues or problems are you interested in?  Was a there an Environmental Studies class that really fascinated you? A professor whose research spoke to you? 

After you have thought about these questions do some reading in the area of research, online, through the library etc., then reach out to pathway coordinators or another faculty member and have a conversation with them about your research ideas.

Environmental Studies offers two courses specifically designed with undergraduate research in mind, EVRN 624 and EVRN 625:

Departmental Honors

Getting started on an research project? You are on your way to qualifying for honors! Learn more about Environmental Studies Departmental Honors


Center for Undergraduate Research - The Center for Undergraduate Research seeks to transform undergraduate education through research. We do this by working with instructors and mentors to develop and promote curricula and models for mentoring; engaging and advising students in their development as researchers; and by providing campus-wide programs that celebrate undergraduate research at KU.

Research Experience Program - KU's Research Experience Program (REP) acknowledges a student's participation in the full undergraduate research process, from that initial interest in subject material gained through coursework to the design and implementation of an independent project to the presentation of a research or creative product to others.

Research Experience for Undergraduates - The National Science Foundation provides funding to host institutions each year for research programs. Students development their own project within the parameters of host REUs. Most, if not all, REUs require applicants to be currently enrolled in a college or university during the experience.

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