Skip to main content
student, Ewelina Witko aligning optics on a laser bench.

Undergraduate Research Program (URP)


The Undergraduate Research Program (URP), housed in the College of Arts and Sciences but open to qualified participants from other colleges, exists to provide non-classroom, credit-bearing educational opportunities to undergraduate students. Interested qualified students work closely with Arts and Sciences faculty members in faculty-generated research projects, other projects representing the faculty member’s academic interests, learning environments provided by professionals affiliated with the College of Arts and Sciences, or eligible off-campus internships with an identified Arts and Sciences advisor. The program features the apprenticeship model, and students gain firsthand experience in creative and investigative academic processes, translate theory into practice, explore the cutting edges of particular disciplines, develop closer working relationships with faculty members, and enhance their own career and educational credentials.

Examples of Student Projects:

  • Orature-based Community Theater in Kenya
  • "Click on Democracy"—World Wide Web and Political Process
  • Cloning of Human Leukemia Cells
  • Cooperative Feeding Behavior in Myxococcus Xanthus
  • Temperate-Water Bivalves from the Eocene of Antarctica


Expand the categories below to learn more about the requirements for the Undergraduate Research Program.

Faculty Participation

The program offers Arts and Sciences faculty members a chance to extend and expand the character of their teaching in the undergraduate context, to work closely with self-selecting, highly motivated students, to attract excellent students to continued study in their particular field of study, and to open both internal and external funding possibilities by way of undergraduate involvement in their work. Faculty members are invited to propose projects to CAS Advising by emailing casadvising@syr.edu. Individual projects may extend beyond a semester in length as appropriate. The character and requirements of these projects, as well as the number of credits involved, vary greatly, since they come from across the disciplines of the College of Arts and Sciences. The common criterion for all, however, is appropriateness to an educational credit-bearing experience for qualified undergraduate students.

Student Participation

The Undergraduate Research Program is open to all students in all departments university-wide, though it is especially designed for students in the College of Arts and Sciences. Students should start by finding projects listed on this site that interest them and for which they qualify. (The qualifications or prerequisites for any given project are set by the sponsoring faculty, not the URP office. Some projects may have no prerequisites while others may specify a number of them). Having identified a project, students discuss the project and the advisability of their participation with the sponsoring faculty. If all parties are in agreement, enrollment proceeds.

Academic Credit

URP is neither a degree-granting nor a curricular program; rather, it is an office that facilitates linking qualified, interested students with faculty-generated projects in a credit-bearing context. Credit arrangements vary according to project needs and student desires. Generally, three credits per semester is appropriate, but as few as one and as many as six credits are possible. All credits earned by use of course numbers URP 250 and URP 450 will be understood as Arts and Sciences credit.

Enrollment

URP Courses:  The following two courses have been instituted to provide a mechanism for student enrollment in this program. The choice between these courses is left to the discretion of the faculty sponsor and URP Director, and students use the all-university Independent Study Proposal form for enrolling:

•  URP 250 Introductory Undergraduate Research [may have variable subtitle], (1-6 credit hours). Research or other academic work done in conjunction with a faculty-generated and -sponsored research or professional work project as administered through the Undergraduate Research Program.
Prereq: Permission of URP Director.

•  URP 450 Advanced Undergraduate Research [may have variable subtitle], (1-6 credit hours). Research or other academic work done in conjunction with a faculty-generated and -sponsored research or professional work project as administered through the Undergraduate Research Program. Prereq: Permission of URP Director.

Grading and Course Evaluation

Normally, enrollment entails the A though F grading option; although, by special petition, the Pass/Fail option may be used. Course evaluations, submitted independently by faculty sponsors and student participants, are standard procedure and special forms will be provided.