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Undergraduate Research

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.

RESEARCH STORIES
Alfred Prah | BA'19
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As a student in Ghana, Alfred Prah didn’t have access to a laptop or personal cell phone at the boarding school he attended. Despite that, he was captivated by the potential of technology to enrich his education and had dreams of using AI to make technology more useful and accessible to everyone.

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 Skylar Cuevas | BA'22

Skylar is part of ArtLab’s artist-in-residence collaboration with the Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology and Inflammation. She worked with the Byndloss Lab, which studies the connections between the gut microbiome, metabolism, and non-communicable inflammatory diseases.

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Research Opportunities

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.

Departmental Honors

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

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

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.