Guidelines for Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors Experience

As the Dietrich School continues to attract more talented undergraduates, there is growing expectation that they will be involved in research or similar creative endeavors in conjunction with faculty as part of the undergraduate experience. These experiences are expected to be integral to the creation and communication of new knowledge.

Faculty should expect to

  • Provide mentorship that helps students become engaged in research and/or creative endeavors within a particular discipline.
  • Clearly identify the part of the project in which the student is to be engaged.
  • Clearly specify any deadlines related to the project in which the undergraduate is involved.
  • Have regular meetings (at least weekly) with sponsored undergraduates to discuss progress.
  • Ensure that each student involved in research or creative endeavors has had appropriate training in safety procedures.
  • Ensure that each student has had appropriate training in the ethical procedures and/or the citing and acknowledgement of outside sources as appropriate for the specific project.

Undergraduate students should expect to discuss faculty mentors' expectations regarding

  • Regular hours for work each week and make-up procedures for missed hours.
  • Submission of lab reports, weekly reports, and/or term reports in terms of length and style.
  • Criteria for evaluation.
  • Presentation of research to peers, faculty, or public electronic formats.

Earning Credit or Receiving Stipend

Students involved in research or creative endeavors should receive either credit through departmental undergraduate research courses or a stipend. Having a student "volunteer" should be approached with caution and, in general, should be avoided. Departmental research courses, directed research, and independent study courses that are registered through permission by departmental advisors carry credits ranging from 1-12 per course.

The following examples indicate the relationship between the number of hours a student spends on the research or creative assignment and credit or stipend.

Number of credits to be earned

Effort in terms of student's involvement in research or creative endeavor, meeting with faculty mentor, and group meetings

Suggested stipend

(based on the hourly wage of $5.15 per hour for student employees over a 14-week period)

1 credit

3-5 hours/week


2 credits

6-10 hours/week


3 credits

12-15 hours/week


Dietrich School Programs to Enhance Undergraduate Research Efforts

  • First Experiences in Research
  • The United States Steel Foundation and Christine Toretti Awards
  • Small grants for undergraduate research, creative endeavors, and presentation travel