In the College of Arts and Science, every student has access to world-class research opportunities. Our faculty enthusiastically include undergraduates in their work, whether in the lab, the field, or the library, and enjoy collaborating across disciplines and schools to create unique experiences for students. Many majors include a significant research requirement, while others make research an optional, but encouraged, part of the curriculum. As undergraduate students engage in research, they are surrounded by the extensive resources only a top-tier R1 university can provide.
UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH IN ACTION
Pax Poggi, BA'25
Philosophy & Psychology
Pax studies the intersection of mathematics and consciousness. Hear about his work with the integrated information theory of consciousness, the first mathematical framework for evaluating awareness.
Shahar Hartman, BA'23
Shahar had planned for a straightforward study abroad experience, but when a piqued research curiosity led to initiative and determination, he wound up hopping trains around Switzerland to meet leading scholars in the field of international humanitarian aid.
Amelia Day, BA'24
Having already released a handful of singles, Amelia was ready to take the next step as an artist and develop her first project under a single sound and concept. Day decided to make the creation of her first EP her Immersion Vanderbilt project, opening access to mentorship and funding opportunities to support her dream.
Suman Mohanty, BA'25
Suman spent her winter break doing something she’s always dreamed of—supporting a community she loves through teaching and medicine. “As an aspiring pediatrician and global health researcher, I find it critical to devote my time and energy toward advancing health education, healthcare access, and healthcare in general.”
A&S undergraduates can access research opportunities through a number of channels. In addition to approaching faculty on their own, students can choose from a variety of college- and university-sponsored programs, many of which come with financial support. Below are some of the most common paths undergraduates take to complete their research experiences.
Every A&S department has an honors program that centers on independent learning and research. Requirements for honors study vary by department. Students who are interested in departmental honors should visit the relevant department’s website or contact the department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies.
Immersion at A&S happens as part of Immersion Vanderbilt, a university-wide program that provides students with the opportunity to pursue their passions and cultivate their intellectual interests through experiential learning. The program takes place both in and beyond the classroom and culminates in the creation of a final project. The project must focus on one of four pathways, with Research being one of the options.
Maximizing Access to Research Centers (MARC)
The Vanderbilt MARC Scholars program aims to increase the number of individuals in biomedical research from groups under-represented in the biomedical sciences by preparing undergraduate students for successful application to and graduation from highly selective Ph.D. and M.D./Ph.D. biomedical training programs. To learn more, visit the Biological Sciences MARC page or read a NIGMS article highlighting the program.
Vanderbilt Undergraduate Summer Research Program
VUSRP provides students with the opportunity to complete ten weeks of full-time summer research under the mentorship of a Vanderbilt faculty member. This is a competitive program, with accepted students receiving a $5,000 stipend and the opportunity to present their research at the Vanderbilt Undergraduate Research Fair.
The Wond’ry is Vanderbilt’s center for innovation and design. Students may use The Wond’ry as a resource to support individual research activities, or they may participate in one of the center’s unique and engaging co-curricular programs, such as the Coffee Equity Lab. With specializations in design thinking and social innovation, The Wond’ry is a particularly good choice for students interested in putting their research to work in the real world or for social good.