Penn State Behrend is committed to making research a major component of the undergraduate educational experience. Many opportunities for student research are offered, including two undergraduate research grant programs, an annual research award, summer research fellowships, an annual research and creative accomplishment conference, and travel grants for students to attend professional meetings. Annually, the college provides nearly $350,000 of support for undergraduate research.
Check for important student research deadlines.
What are the benefits of doing undergraduate research?
- Learn in depth about the latest technologies and information
- Work closely with scholars in your area of interest
- Gain hands-on experience of value to your future career
- Build stronger, lasting relationships with faculty members
- Gain skills and experiences that will help you gain admission to more prestigious graduate schools
- Share the excitement of making new discoveries, writing original prose or poetry, designing a new or improved product, or generating research outcomes that are actually used
- Opportunity to get published as an undergraduate
- Ability to earn money or credit while conducting research
- Augment your critical thinking, leadership, and other skills
Undergraduate Student Research Grant Programs
The college administers three grant programs for undergraduate students: the Academic Year Undergraduate Research Grants (one in spring and one in fall) and the Summer Research Fellowship Grant. These programs are designed to provide additional incentive for student involvement in faculty research projects. Annually, each student is eligible for grants totaling $2,600. The students are required to go through a formal proposal process, including selection of a faculty mentor, development of a research project, composition of a formatted proposal, and a review process at the school and college level.
If you think that you are interested in a particular field of research study, talk to your advisor, one of your faculty members, or the Chancellor’s Office staff. They will help you to identify faculty members who are conducting research or other scholarly activity in your area of interest. The next step is for you to meet with the specific faculty member to determine how to proceed.
- Is the faculty member willing to be your research mentor?
- Where do I look for funding?
- How do I get started writing a proposal?
- Should I do the work for credit, as an independent study, senior project, or as a work-study activity?
Before research is begun or grant funds can be expended, the University requires that you complete the online training program related to Scholarship and Research Integrity (SARI). The training modules are located on the SARI portal.
How to Apply
Once you identify a faculty mentor, you must complete and electronically submit an application form. Proposal timelines can be found at Undergraduate Student Research Deadlines.
- Fall Semester Research Grant - (proposals will be requested in March)
- Spring Semester Research Grant - For Spring 2015 there will be no Undergraduate Student Spring Semester Research Grants available.
Summer Research Fellowship - (proposals will be requested in January)
The college, in conjunction with the University’s Office of Undergraduate Education and International Programs, will consider requests for student travel to present posters or oral presentations at professional meetings. Up to two-thirds of the costs are covered. Annually, more than 100 students travel to conferences with this support.
Students must submit all requests for travel via an Undergraduate Research Travel Request (PDF Format / Word Document). Final approval is dependent on availability of funds, with a $300 maximum per student (up to one-third of the total) from both the college and from University Park.
Student Research Award
This program recognizes students who have made research an integral part of their undergraduate education. Faculty members from each of the college’s four academic schools nominate students. The nomination process and subsequent selection process provide feedback to the students regarding both the quantity and quality of their research efforts. Students receive cash awards of $200.
The Penn State Behrend-Sigma Xi Undergraduate Research and Creative Accomplishment Conference provides an opportunity for students to present their research and creative accomplishment results in a public setting. Many students use this regional conference to practice their presentations prior to presenting them in a national or international setting. Students present their results either by poster or by oral presentation. The college also invites students from other regional colleges and universities to participate.
The 2014 Conference, held on April 12, featured 164 posters and oral presentations involving 136 faculty members and 248 students representing thirteen colleges in Pennsylvania. The Abstract Books indicate winners and runners-up for oral presentations and posters.
The 2015 conference will be held on April 11, 2015. A call for abstracts will be issued in November.