Undergraduate Research


Research is an inquiry or creative project that makes an original contribution to the student's discipline. According to this definition there are several aspects that characterize someone who engages in undergraduate research:

  • Curiosity - Inquiry requires you to ask, probe, question, investigate, and examine.
  • Creativity - This requires you to have original ideas, take new approaches, use new methods, use your imagination.
  • Contributor - You must work with others to achieve something, provide support, add to the existing body of knowledge.
  • Passion - There is a specific field, subject, or area of study to which you want to contribute or impact.


Participating in undergraduate research allows students to pursue their interests, solve problems, hone their critical thinking skills, and make real contributions to knowledge within their fields. There are many benefits to conducting undergraduate research while at USF:

  • Students who participate in research are more likely to demonstrate higher academic achievement and excel in school.
  • Those who conduct undergraduate research have an advantage when applying to graduate school.
  • Participating in research helps students determine career goals and instills a set of transferable skills, making then more competitive in the job market.
  • Conducting research allows students to build relationships with faculty members and other experts in their fields.
  • Getting involved in research gives students access to more scholarships, awards, conferences, stipends, and academic credit.

Getting started

Getting involved in Undergraduate Research at USF may seem overwhelming at first. We've developed the IDS 2912 Undergraduate Research course to walk you step by step through the process. This course has been set up for you as a launching pad into your research journey here at USF!

IDS 2912,  is a course that unites students across majors who are interested in improving their understanding of what research is and finding out how to obtain a faculty mentor for their research pursuits. This 3-credit course is offered in a hybrid format.

Register for the IDS 2912 for Summer 2024, CRN 51376. No permit is required.

Register for IDS2912 for Fall 2024, CRN 88345. This is a hybrid, alternative calendar course that runs from 9/11/24 - 12/6/24. Directions for registering for an alternative calendar course are on this page.


The Office of High Impact Practices and Undergraduate Research (HIPUR) offers an option for research activity on your transcript. For more information, visit the Research on your Transcript page.

USF Libraries Workshops for Researchers

Interested in learning Tableau for data visualizations, EndNote or Zotero for citation management or how to use environmental data sets? If so, the USF libraries have you covered with their workshops for researchers. View and register these offerings and more on the library calendar.


Looking for a mentored research experience? The Research Portal is here to assist you
find the right opportunity across USF campuses and disciplines. You can use a
combination of options, including course credit, paid opportunity, or a volunteer
experience. Build your profile and begin your search!

Challenges Finding A Faculty Mentor

Suggestions for finding opportunities

If a faculty member declines to serve as your faculty mentor, don’t be discouraged. This may say more about the professor’s prior commitments than it does about the merits of your project.

If you have received a “no” or a non-response, consider the following steps:

  • Give it time (if they don't answer in 24 hours). Wait a week for follow-up.
  • Look creatively beyond the "matchmaking" lists on this website; there may be other ways to identify faculty who would work with you.
  • Broaden your interest and put your dream project on hold.
  • Re-frame your request-ask for an informational interview, not looking for research explicitly.
  • Use your social capital--consider working with a faculty member you are taking a class with now (or have in the past).
  • Network with the student organization Undergraduate Research Society and connect with successful undergraduate researchers to gain tips.
  • Find an advocate--talk to a graduate student researcher about opportunities (note: this route involves more legwork).
  • Approach a different faculty member in that same department--possibly with a more broad request instead of targeted (or change the target to match the new faculty member's research interests)?
  • Search the HIPUR opportunities above for ideas that might not be your first choice, but are acceptable.
  • Search for REU opportunities at your chosen department's website, or the NSF website.
  • Consider Tampa-Bay area research opportunities off-campus.
  • Attend seminars/events/conferences where prominent faculty in your field are represented and network (these events could be USF-centric or not).
  • Research does not necessarily only involve getting a position within a faculty member’s lab; you can introduce a research proposal yourself that a faculty member may help you with.

Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)


Arts and Sciences

Marine Science

Public Health