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. For Spring 2023, this course is offered in an hybrid format as a 3 credit course.

Register for the Summer C 2023 course using CRN 51496. No permit is required.


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.


GenZ Political Participation in Florida and Impact on Future Elections

Dr. Judithanne Scourfield McLauchlan, Frank E. Duckwall Professor of Florida Studies.

For this study, the student researchers will use the Census data, CPS data, and voter file data to better understand GenZ political engagement in Florida. These findings will inform the development of a survey instrument to be administered to GenZ voters during the next phase of the research.

Timeline: This is a for-credit undergraduate research opportunity, Students will earn 3 credits of POS 4910 during USF Maymester May 8 - June 2 for working with Dr. McLauchlan 120 hours during the project (an average of 30 hours/week).  There will be some "live" meetings and trainings, but much of the work can be done remotely on the student's schedule.

Application:  Students should complete this google form by April 5th (priority deadline).

Dr. McLauchaln will be reaching out to all applicants to conduct an interview (via MSTeams) to determine eligibility. 

Contact Information: (PURE GenZ Research in subject line) and MS Teams

The SPACHeS lab - Industrial and Management Systems Engineering Department

The Medical Engineering Department is looking for undergraduate researchers to conduct research on data-driven sensor-based modeling, and predictive analytics and AI in healthcare, complex systems modeling. Preferred candidates are those who:

  • Have a strong passion and motivation to conduct research.
  • Have good programming skills (MATLAB, Python, and R are preferred)
  • Have a good background in statistics, linear algebra, calculus, machine learning (optional), and dynamical systems (optional)
  • Have experience in reading literature review and writing research papers (optional)

Please refer to the lab website for more information

Interested applicatns can email Dr. Tim Le

Peter Funke, Ph.D. - Social Movements Research, Political Economy Research (May 8 - June 2, 2023) 

This is an opportunity for undergraduate students to work with Dr. Peter Funke, Associate Professor of politics at the School of Interdisciplinary Global Studies. Dr. Funke is open to mentor a wide range of projects in the social sciences and humanities. These could relate to question of social movements (from Black Lives Matter, indigenous movements to the current protests in Iran), political economic (e.g. questions around capitalism or socialism, development politics, issues around inequality or welfare). Dr. Funke is also open to mentor a specific topic within a country/region of your own interest, as well as topics related to new media and technology. 

The weekly workload depends on several factors (e.g. scope of project, additional commitments); however, will be around 8 hours/week.

Timeline (May 8 to June 2)

While the timeline depends on the particular project at hand, rough estimates are:

Week 1: Developing the research design

Week 2: Compiling the literature review

Week 3 and Week 4: Analyzing the data/findings

Week 5: Preparing the final draft

Through this Maymester research you will be:

- gaining research experience and skills.

- learning about research design and research methods.

- able to execute your own research projects by utilizing best practices and scholarly/scientific standards.

- producing scholarly work such as a research paper, expose, etc.

Overall, Dr. Funke will be working closely with you as this is meant to introduce you to conducting research. Hence, do not be dissuaded on the basis of not having any experience conducting research yet. That is the whole idea to learn about it during the Maymester.

Please send a brief email to conveying your interest.

Margaret McGladrey, Ph.D. - Graphic and Video Design for Photovoice Research

There is an opportunity for undergraduate students to work with Dr. Margaret McGladrey, whose discipline is Sociology/Gender Studies and who conducts applied research with governmental and non-profit partners that provide public health and behavioral health services. Specifically, Dr. McGladrey is seeking assistance with two projects involving Photovoice, a participatory health research method that engages community stakeholders to photograph areas of strength and concern related to a health issue and then critically analyze in focus-group discussion how and why the health concern persists in their community, toward the goal of co-identifying opportunities for change and health improvement. Dr. McGladrey is conducting Photovoice in partnership with a local health department's assessment process for identifying community health concerns in Clark County, Kentucky, and to create an art installation to accompany the April 2023 production of "This Is My Brave" at USF. 

The undergraduate student's primary duty would be creating PowerPoint, postcard, video, and social media products to facilitate dissemination of the knowledge created by Photovoice teams (e.g., photos, quotes, and thematic summaries) to influence community health improvement. They also may contribute to qualitative analysis/coding of focus-group discussion transcripts and literature reviews for scholarly dissemination activities. 

Graphic design skills in using InDesign and video production software are required. Dr. McGladrey will provide training on the method and design templates for the PowerPoint and postcard materials. The ideal candidate is sufficiently proficient in graphic design and video production software to not only work from templates but also create new designs inspired by the photo, quote, and thematic summaries.

Required time commitment (hours per week)  10-20 hours

Students from all USF campuses welcome! Fall 2022-Spring 2023 semesters

Please send a brief email to describing why you are interested in the opportunity and with a CV/resume attached. Additionally, a sample of both graphic design and video production work should be included as attachments or with a link to a shared drive.

Michah Johnson, Ph.D. -  Substance Misuse & Addictions Research Traineeship Lab

We are seeking USF students for the Substance Misuse and Addictions Research Traineeship (SMART) Lab. It is a 3-year program that gives students support, mentorship, a stipend, and resources needed to be successful. We also help students prepare for and secure funding for their Ph.D. 

Traineeship benefits include annual funding ($12,000 over 3 years), research experience, mentorship, and peer collaboration. Though students must have an interest in studying substance misuse/addiction as well as a desire to attend graduate school. We are looking for students to start ASAP, and others can apply to start in the fall. 

To apply, please fill this form:

Interested applicants can also email for more information.

Ruel R. Billones, Ph.D. - Positively Quit Study, Trauma interventions 

Ruel R. Billones, PhD Post Doctoral Fellow, College of Nursing

Positively Quit Study, Trauma interventions for people with chronic health conditions

This is a smoking cessation study for people with chronic conditions.
It involves trauma-informed care for persons with chronic health conditions.

Undergraduate Research Assistant Duties:

  • Training in fidelity assessment of group behavioral intervention
  • Trauma questionnaire development
  • Data monitoring, day to day operations of the research
  • Public presentations
  • Manuscript preparation for publication

Required Skills and Training:

  • Psychology majors and social science majors
  • Willingness to be trained in web based research designs and applications
  • Interested to learn more on trauma informed interventions
  • Want to do scientific writing in order to publish

Research Project Details:

  • Students are required to commit 10 hours a week.
  • The research is continupus and ongoing
  • Interested students should contact Ruel R. Billones.

Ji Li, Ph.D. - Cardiovascular Medicine and Pharmacology Research Opportunity

Dr. Ji Li, Professor in the Department of Surgery at USF and his team of postdoc fellows and technicians are interested in training undergraduate students in all aspects of heart research (research design, animal experiments and biochemical analysis). Dr. Li’s group seeks to understand the molecular mechanisms of coronary artery disease, the most common cause of age-related cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Li’s lab welcomes all hard-working and conscientious students, but those with an interest in in cardiovascular medicine and pharmacology are best suited for this opportunity. You need to be up-to-date on your CITI requirements for MCOM’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) - having done the related training for animal facility and biosafety operations as required. The research projects can be done concurrently with other school obligations, utilizing weekends, and school breaks with flexible hours per week.

Interested individuals should forward their resume or CV, Statement of research Interest, and contact information to Dr. Ji Li.

Haitao (Mark) Ji, Ph.D. - Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology Research Opportunity

Dr. Ji’s research is Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology. The research efforts of this laboratory are mainly focused on the rational design, synthesis, and biological evaluation of drug-like small molecules that can modulate cellular signaling pathways with an emphasis on protein–protein interactions (PPIs) and target specificity. Four critical lab components include protein structure-based drug design, multiple-step synthesis, and molecular and cellular biology. Ji laboratory is located in H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute.

Undergraduate students in the Ji laboratory are involved in synthetic organic chemistry, synthetic medicinal chemistry, chemical biology, and molecular and cell biology studies. Undergraduate students who wish to join Ji laboratory should have completed Organic Chemistry I and II, and related laboratory courses.

Interested individuals should send their resume with a list of completed coursework to Selected applicants might be asked to submit transcripts. Lindsey Rodriguez, Ph.D. - USF HEART (Healthy Emotions and Relationship Theories) Laboratory Opportunity

*Psychology & Public Health Majors Only*

Dr. Lindsey Rodriguez - Social and Health Psychology

Dr. Lindsey Rodriguez is the Director of the USF HEART (Healthy Emotions and Relationship Theories) Laboratory at USF St. Petersburg. In the HEART Lab, we study close relationship processes from a social and health psychology perspective. We also study how alcohol and other addictive behaviors intersect with close relationships. Undergraduate research assistants in the lab are asked to perform various duties, including literature searches, running participants for in-lab studies, and programming surveys. We also are an active lab in professional development for students, creating CVs and presentations at conferences to increase the likelihood of attending graduate school in psychology.

Students must have a 3.0 GPA to apply. Please email Dr. Rodriguez with any questions or for an application.

Jason Lazarus - Studio Art Research & Project Opportunities

Jason Lazarus, who received his MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago, is an Assistant Professor of Art and Art History whose research and art practice focuses on vision and visibility. Lazarus' projects often culminate in gallery and museum installations both nationally and internationally. His work and research can be found on his website.

Lazarus' studio welcomes ambitious, well-organized, and forward-thinking students searching for meaning beyond the classroom that is certain to newly inform their curricular studies. Students with both experience in the arts and those without are invited to inquire about studio projects work that may align with their own fluid interests. Tasks will be wide-ranging per project--the studio strives to provide real mentorship, dialogue, and training to future visionaries.

The research projects can be done concurrently with other school obligations, utilizing weekends, and school breaks with flexible hours per week.

Students are welcome to contact the studio at with a CV and cover letter.

Lei Wang, Ph.D. - Molecular mechanism of acute kidney injury and transplanted graft failure

Dr. Wang is assistant professor at the department of molecular pharmacology and physiology. Dr. Wang is willing to give hand-on training undergraduate students in research design, molecular biology experiments and animal surgeries. The research efforts of this laboratory are focused on two principal areas: 1) the mechanisms of the renal graft dysfunction and fibrosis induced by ischemia reperfusion injury following kidney transplantation; 2) renal hemodynamics, salt-water balance and blood pressure regulation under physiological and pathophysiological conditions.

Dr. Wang’s lab welcomes all hard-working and conscientious students. Students will be involved the project design, molecular biology experiments, animal surgeries, specimen collection, literature searching and data analysis.

Interested students would require MCOM’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) required training for working with animals and laboratory bio-safety operations.

Students are expected to commit at least 8 hours a week.

Dr. Wang's lab located at MDC on the USF Tampa campus. Compensation varies.

Interested individuals should forward their resume or CV and contact information to Dr. Lei Wang.

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)







Behavioral Sciences


Arts and Sciences



Global Sustainability

Marine Science




Public Health


Mayo Clinic Otolaryngology Undergraduate Research Program

Applications are now being accepted for this 10-week paid internship. Complete details can be found on this page.

University of Missouri Summer Undergraduate Research Program

Complete details can be found on this page.