Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of undergraduate research?

According to the Council on Undergraduate Research (2011), students who participate in undergraduate research:

  • Experience enhanced learning through mentoring relationships with faculty
  • Have increased retention rates
  • Have increased enrollment in graduate education and are provided with effective career preparation
  • Develop critical thinking, creativity, problem solving and intellectual independence
  • Develop an understanding of research methodology
  • Promote and innovation-oriented culture

Who should get involved in research?  Am I qualified to do  research?

The Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning's (OSEEL) research programs encompass all colleges, majors, and years in school.  To find a program that is right for you, visit our program map page.

What programs should I get involved in?

OSEEL offers a wide range of research opportunities for undergraduate students, no matter their college, major, or year. For freshmen and sophomores, we recommend the Research Rookies program. The Research Rookies program links students with faculty mentors in their major or area of interest to conduct a small-scale research project. As a Research Rookie, students will learn what research looks like in their field of study.

OSEEL also offers research programs aimed at upper class-students, including the Undergraduate Research Assistantships (URA) program and the Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (URAP). NIU also offers the Undergraduate Special Opportunities in Artistry and Research (USOAR) program which allows students who are interested in developing an independent research project with a faculty member to receive funds to carry out the research.

How do I participate in Undergraduate Research and Artistry Day (URAD)?

Any undergraduate student currently enrolled at NIU who has participated in a faculty-mentored research or artistry project is eligible to showcase his/her work at the Undergraduate Research and Artistry Day.  This includes independent study, capstone projects, URAP, EURA, UARAP, USOAR, URA, Research Rookies or any other related research/artistry projects.

How can I get funding to present my research at a conference?

OSEEL offers the Undergraduate Travel Scholarship to provide students with up to $300 dollars to attend research conferences. Students must receive matching funds from their faculty mentor, department, and/or college. If you are a member of the University Honors Program, the EYE Grant is also available and is often used to allow students to attend research conferences.

How do I find a faculty mentor?

If you are not sure where to start, OSEEL recommends reviewing faculty profiles and Curriculum Vitaes on your department's webpage.  This will allow you to see what faculty are researching and help you narrow down your pool of potential mentors.  When contacting faculty to discuss research opportunities, make sure you use an appropriate salutation (i.e. Dear Dr. Smith) and make reference to their current research.