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Undergraduate Research at Rutgers–New Brunswick

Undergraduates who want to conduct research will find plenty of opportunities at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. It’s what happens at a research university. You don’t just learn about theory in the classroom. You can work shoulder-to-shoulder with top faculty as they postulate and make discoveries—and you can put your own original ideas to the test.

Research gives you deep knowledge of a particular subject matter, and it gives you so much more. It requires you to analyze, think critically, write coherently, problem solve, and manage and interpret data—skills that are useful no matter what profession may be in your future. Research also sharpens life skills—patience, organization, teamwork, and persistence—that will serve you well in almost any situation.

The Amazing Race (for Knowledge)

Syed Abbas and Nicholas Greene

Rutgers undergraduates have traveled the world to conduct research. Meet a few students who share their recent experiences in Costa Rica, England, France, Kenya, Nigeria, and Switzerland. Learn more.

Rutgers–New Brunswick Undergraduates Weigh in on Research
87% say learning research methods is important
77% say pursuing your own research is important
75% say learning about faculty research is important
71% say having courses with faculty who refer to their research in class is important
50% have taken at least one research course
41% say they have assisted faculty with research for course credit, pay without course credit, or as a volunteer

Research Intrigues You. Now What?

The Aresty Research Center for Undergraduates is a great place to start your research journey. This research clearinghouse helps match undergraduates and faculty mentors with mutual interests. The center also nurtures students embarking on independent, original research and connects students to research opportunities beyond Rutgers.

Communicating Discovery

Each spring, the center hosts the Undergraduate Research Symposium, giving students a taste of what it’s like to present research in a professional academic forum.

Research in the Sciences, Arts, and Humanities

Research happens in all disciplines, not just the hard sciences. Undergraduates at Rutgers–New Brunswick in any major can pursue research, as these examples demonstrate.

  • An economics major analyses the compensation rates for bank examiners during the rise of the Federal Reserve System and the Great Depression.
  • Genetics majors presented their work during the 2013 Undergraduate Honors Symposium. Topic examples: “Association of Genetic Biomarkers to Autism and Autism Phenotypes” and “Poly(A) Tail Binding on the Non-Structural Protein of Influenza A Virus.”
  • A psychology major explored the experiences of multiracial individuals; he was cited in a New York Times article.

Five Tips to Jumpstart Your Research at Rutgers–New Brunswick

Sometimes, the quickest way to reach a goal is the direct approach. To that end, here are pointers for going directly after that research gig.

1. Volunteer. It’s always a terrific idea to ask. Even if you are a first-semester student, there are faculty out there who would be happy to have your assistance. So visit your professor or department adviser and ask about research possibilities.

2. Be a research subject. Get a feel for the research environment by volunteering to be a subject. The Department of Psychology is a great resource; all students majoring in psychology must participate in research. Check the Daily Targum, the student newspaper, for advertisements seeking subjects.

3. Take a research course. Many departments offer courses specifically meant for research. You’ll usually need a faculty member to approve your idea before registering. Check the course catalogs for courses with titles like “Research in Psychology,” “Research in Mathematics,” “Independent Study,” and “Advanced Independent Study and Research.”

4. Fulfill a research departmental requirement. Some academic departments require research as part of a major. Majors in molecular biology and biochemistry, genetics, and biotechnology must complete a research project. Check Degree Navigator or meet with an adviser to learn about research requirements in departmental majors.

5. Pursue an honors track, honors thesis, or senior honors thesis. Many departments’ honors tracks call for original research. For instance, earth and planetary sciences, Spanish and Portuguese, and political science (with papers available for you to read) are programs whose honors tracks have a strong research component. Qualifying students also have the option of completing an honors thesis or senior honors thesis, which are entirely research-focused. Economics and English are two examples. Consult with a departmental adviser to learn more and check out the School of Arts and Sciences' general information on senior honors theses.