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Student FAQ

Can freshman participate in research?

Yes, but this is ultimately up to each faculty research mentor. They may require that you have certain skills or course work before starting research so that you will be safe and successful in your research endeavor. Freshmen are allowed to do undergraduate research, but many wait until the start of their sophomore year. 

Will I be doing research full-time or part-time?

Your classwork should always come first, therefore be sure you have the time and motivation needed to do a good job on your research project. Students do research part-time in the fall and spring semesters. In the summer, you can do research full-time or part-time. This should be discussed with your faculty research mentor prior to registration.

How long can I do undergraduate research?

The length of your undergraduate research experience should be discussed with your faculty research mentor. Commonly, many faculty want more than a one-semester commitment from their undergraduate researchers. We encourage students to commit to a minimum of two semesters with their faculty research mentor. Often, many students do undergraduate research for two years or more.

What are the benefits of doing undergraduate research?

Undergraduates have the opportunity to engage in extraordinary world-class research across all disciplines and work alongside faculty mentors that are on the forefront of technology and discovery. 

Students gain experiential education that is translatable to real-world skills, including:

  • Exploring career directions

  • Participating in cutting-edge research projects with far-reaching impact

  • Developing problem-solving skills, creativity, teamwork, and critical thinking abilities

  • Earning credit outside the classroom 

  • Setting yourself apart for graduate or professional school admission or high-level employment

  • Having fun!


Can I work on a project outside of my major?

Absolutely! You will find that many research projects, especially larger ones, are interdisciplinary and will need students from different backgrounds with different skills. However, some faculty may prefer to work primarily with students majoring in the area being researched (i.e. psychology, public health). 

Our team is dedicated to serving UK's undergraduates and getting them connected with engaging research opportunities. Schedule a personalized one-on-one Advising Appointment today to learn about available research opportunities.

Can I get funding to go to a conference?

There are additional UK programs and Colleges that offer student funding programs:

Chellgren Center for Chellgren Student Fellows

Lewis Honors College for Honors students 

UK College of Agriculture, Food & Environment student research grants


Summer Research fellow 2015 student bird
Undergraduate research student poster presentation
Undergraduate research student tractor

Faculty FAQ

Is my undergraduate researcher eligible for OUR support?

Any undergraduate student engaged in faculty-mentored research or scholarship is eligible for Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) programs and funding. Students do NOT have to be conducting independent research or be enrolled in a 199/395 course to be eligible for support. 

Do I have to pay my undergraduate researcher?

No, there is no requirement for pay, so long as the undergraduate is not displacing regular employees and is benefiting from training in an educational environment. Essentially, there are three avenues for undergraduate participation:

  1. Unpaid intern: Students work for the training and experience offered by a mentor in their field of interest.  Students working as unpaid interns often have interest in pursuing research through a graduate or professional school program after graduation and want experience in the field.

  2. Research for credit: Students can register for academic course credit within their college. Students can receive one to four credits for their work, depending on their time commitment.  The Office of Undergraduate Research does not facilitate Research for Credit.

  3. Research for pay: Students can receive hourly pay for work as a research assistant from your lab’s account. The Office of Undergraduate Research does not facilitate Research for Pay.  However, for students eligible to receive Federal Work-Study, we offer guidelines and details for the Work-Study Research Assistant Program (WRAP).

Can you help advertise to students that I am looking for an undergraduate researcher?

Yes, we are happy to promote your research opportunities! 

Submit your research opportunity HERE and we will add it to our Research Opportunities webpage, as well as promote on our social media and student listserv.

If you are looking for a specific cohort of students, please email specify and we can send your opportunity to a select group of students who meet your criteria. Our database of registered undergraduate students interested in undergraduate research opportunities is quite expansive.


How many hours per week should I expect a student to invest in research work?

Plan on negotiating a schedule with the undergraduate. Sit down with them and their course schedule and plot out when they will be accountable for being present. It is important to have defined weekly times agreed upon with the student during the first couple months when he or she will be in need of the most support and training.

Typically, our office tells undergraduates to plan for and schedule between 7-10 hours of research per week. However, depending on the type of work and the demands of the project, anything between five and 20 hours is okay. 

If the student is working for course credit, you can use these general guidelines for commitment time:

  • Two credit hours: Four to six hours or more per week with a summative writing assignment (~five pages)

  • Three credit hours: Six to eight hours or more per week with a summative writing assignment (~seven pages)

  • Four credit hours: Ten to 12 hours or more per week with a summative writing assignment (~ten pages)

What funding is available to support my undergraduate researchers?



Two Student Research Competitions: Cash prizes for student winners. (Fall semester)  

5-Minute Fast Track Oral Presentation Competition

Oswald Research & Creativity Competition


Summer Research Fellowships: Awards undergraduate students between $3,000-$5,000 to support their research endeavors during the summer. Eligibility: Any full-time undergraduate student who has completed 1 semester of faculty-mentored research. Call for proposals opens January 15.

Commonwealth Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) Fellowship

Sustainability Summer Research Fellowships

Intercollegiate Sustainability Research Experiences (ISRE)



What student presentation opportunities are available?


Posters-at-the-Capitol - students present their research posters to state legislators at the Kentucky State Capitol. Students submit an abstract by November 29, 2022.

National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) - the 2022 NCUR will be held virtually. Students submit an abstract by December 6, 2021.

Showcase of Undergraduate Scholars - an annual UK event that celebrates and honors the achievements of our undergraduate researchers and the dedication of their faculty mentors. Registration opens March 1 and closes April 1.  This year's Showcase will be held in-person on Tuesday, April 26, 2022.

Does the OUR print student's research posters?


The Office of Undergraduate Research is pleased to provide this service to the UK undergraduate community! We will print ONE student research poster free-of-charge per semester, if the student is accepted to present their research at a professional conference, program, or event.