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Undergraduate Research At Dartmouth College

From the first year, Dartmouth undergraduates are encouraged to contribute to arts and science research side-by-side with Dartmouth faculty. The ideas of Dartmouth undergraduates are taken seriously.  If a student has a passion for a particular subject, faculty members will bend over backwards to create opportunities for independent research or collaboration on existing projects.

Formal Research Programs:

  • Women In Science Project (WISP) Research Assistantship – First-year women work with science faculty members (or researchers in nearby industrial or government laboratories) assisting with ongoing research projects.  
  • First-Year Summer Research Project – The project gives first-year students the opportunity to pursue independent research under the supervision of a Dartmouth faculty member in the summer following their first year of study.
  • Presidential Scholars Program – Juniors conduct independent research under the supervision of a professor in any major with funding provided by the Office of the Dean of the Faculty.
  • Senior Fellowship Program Students in their senior year conduct full-time, three-term independent research.  Under the Senior Fellowship program, the student may be excused from degree requirements to focus intensely on a specific academic research project.

Informal Programs:

It is not uncommon for an undergraduate student to approach a professor to ask for a research opportunity.  Students are often intrigued by a topic discussed in class and want to take the particular subject further through independent research.  Faculty members often have space available in laboratories and time set aside to accommodate such requests.  Similarly, it is not uncommon for a professor to recognize an original idea in a student’s course work and invite the student to collaborate on a research project.


Research often requires dedication, patience, and hard work.  Many students want to spend a significant portion of their week in the laboratory and library or even dedicate a leave term to pursue their research.  In order to facilitate this commitment, fellowships and grants are available to cover the costs of supplies, travel, and, in some cases, an hourly wage for the student.  Career Services, faculty members, and fellow students often have excellent advice on obtaining grants and fellowships.  The following are grants and fellowships recently awarded to Dartmouth students:

Stefansson Fellowship  (for field experiences and research under Arctic conditions related to the Dartmouth curriculum),  Dickey Senior Thesis Travel Grant  (to offset senior thesis research travel costs), EE Just Program  (for full and part-time research on campus for African-American junior and senior science majors),  Waterhouse Independent Research Grant  (for independent research during a Leave Term), McGuire Research Grant (for field work and research on some aspect of the Black experience),  Raynolds Expedition Grant  (for study, research or travel outside the United States to fulfill an academic purpose), Richter Honors Thesis Research Grant (for honors thesis research in any discipline), Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (two-years research funding for minority students intending to pursue careers in higher education).  In addition, the Rockefeller Center provides grants to help defray expenses associated with a public policy research project, and the Office of Residential Life/Class of 1939 Senior Scholars Program provides research grants to up to 15 seniors a year who are completing an honors project, thesis, or senior fellowship in their major and reside in a college residence hall, academic affinity or special interest house, college-recognized coed, fraternity, or sorority house, or undergraduate or senior society house.

Last Updated: 6/6/14