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Information about Undergraduate Research at Dartmouth

What is research?

Although the term "research" often conjures up images of lab benches and test tubes, academic research is actually much broader in scope. It can be in any academic discipline, from theater to government to chemistry. It can be research in a traditional sense (e.g. data collection, archival research, structured interviews) or it can involve work that might be better characterized as a creative project (e.g. a work of art, a collection of poetry, a screenplay). For the purpose of the programs offered through the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Research (UGAR), the criteria are:

  • the work must contribute in some way to your academic and/or intellectual development
  • you must have a faculty mentor who is affiliated with Dartmouth College (including the medical, engineering, and business schools)
  • the research can be part-time while taking classes or full-time during a leave term
  • some programs involve working as a research assistant on a faculty project, and there is also funding for self-generated projects completed under the supervision of a faculty mentor

Why would I want to get involved in research?

Dartmouth offers a wide-ranging, challenging and stimulating curriculum. You can get a first-class education simply by picking and choosing among the 1600+ classes in the course catalog. However, the most exciting and engaging intellectual development often takes place outside of the traditional classroom. Faculty-mentored research allows you to explore a topic or area in more depth and to refine your academic and intellectual interests. Some students take on projects outside of their major field while others opt to challenge themselves with projects related to their major or career interests. For students planning to continue on to graduate school, undergraduate research is particularly important, as some graduate programs require students to have engaged in research during their college years. Even for those who do not plan to pursue graduate work, undergraduate research still develops essential skills, such as thinking critically, drawing evidence-based conclusions, and communicating findings and opinions. Perhaps the principal benefit of undergraduate research, however, is the opportunity to work one-on-one with a Dartmouth professor who can mentor and guide you as you make academic and career decisions. Students who have participated in undergraduate research consistently rate these experiences as among the most valuable of their college career.

Who is eligible for research funding through UGAR?

All Dartmouth undergraduates are eligible to apply for research programs in the spring of their first year. Unless research is related to a senior honors thesis, applicants must be enrolled for at least one term after the term of the grant. GPA is taken into consideration in awarding grants, but it is not the only factor.

How do I get started?

First, peruse our website to find information on our research programs, lists of other sources of Dartmouth funding, useful tips and tools, and links to external funding sources. You will also find links to internship resources, both at Dartmouth and at other institutions. Next, talk to other students to find out about their research experiences. Then talk to faculty about potential research opportunities (see section entitled "tips on finding a faculty mentor for research"). If you have questions about research and research funding and would like to meet with someone, blitz "undergraduate research" for an appointment.

What kinds of undergraduate research projects are possible?

Dartmouth students are actively engaged in faculty-mentored research in all disciplines -- humanities, social sciences, sciences, and interdisciplinary studies.  Here are profiles of some of these students and their research projects:

Stories and videos about undergraduate research at Dartmouth

Undergraduate research on Dartmouth Now:

Last Updated: 1/4/13