skip to main content columnskip to left navigationskip to horizontal navigation

Undergraduate Research

East Tennessee State University

Getting Started

Where Do I Start?

1. You are interested:

  • Discuss research with your advisor.  He/she will be able to direct you to a faculty member who might be able to sponsor a research project for you.

  • Explore the Research Mentor Gallery.
  • Talk to a professor.  Starting that conversation in the sophomore year (if possible) will help to get arrangements made for you to pursue a project.

  • Consider a Research Discovery position.

  • Complete a quick-n-easy "record" in the Undergraduate Researcher Gallery.  This is a database where faculty can search for students who are seeking research opportunities.

2. You are uncertain:

  • Seek out a professor and volunteer to assist in some way.

  • Look for a student organization in your area of interest and attend a meeting.

  • Attend a departmental seminar or journal club.

  • Go to student performances and exhibits on campus and talk to students about their experiences.

  • Attend university lectures and pay attention to who attends, then possibly engage them in a conversation.

  • Browse the eThesis database of undergraduate theses for examples of undergraduate research at ETSU.

  • Peruse the  Boland Undergraduate Research Symposium Program for examples of undergraduate research at ETSU.

What Should I Expect?

1) Will I get credit for doing research?

Many degree programs at ETSU allow you to apply credit hours earned in an undergraduate research experience toward your degree. For details on whether undergraduate research can count toward your degree, and how you enroll, talk with an advisor, professor, or the chair of your department.

2)How much time will it take?

The amount of time you dedicate to an undergraduate research project depends on (a) what you want, (b) the particular project, and (c) the field of study.  You can expect to invest around 10 hours a week in research.

    • In the humanities, you may spend the time searching, reading, and cogitating.

    • In the natural and social sciences, you may spend the time in the laboratory conducting experiments, in the field gathering data, or using a computer for certain tasks.

    • In the arts, you may spend the time in the studio, at the computer, or with your musical instrument.

3) Will it interfere with my other classes?

Actually, your undergraduate research experience should help you get more out of your other classes. But managing your time is important and another reason why you need a Faculty Mentor who can help you balance your time.

4) Is this different from a Senior Honors Thesis?

Many departments at ETSU offer Honors Program to qualified and interested students. All Honors students at ETSU must complete a Senior Honors Thesis that represents an undergraduate research experience. 

However, you do not have to be accepted in an Honors program to do undergraduate research. Any student who wishes to participate in undergraduate research is free to do so. You can even qualify for Distinguished in Research or Creative Arts when you graduate from ETSU, in recognition of your successful undergraduate research work.

Undergraduate Research Web Guide

The Web Guide to Research for Undergraduates (WebGURU) is an interactive web-based tool intended to assist undergraduates navigate the hurdles of an undergraduate research experience:


This tool was  designed for undergraduates interested or participating in undergraduate research experiences in science, technology, engineering, and/or mathematics. However, much of the information and links to reliable electronic resources are applicable and helpful to all students, regardless of major. You'll find helpful hints on getting started, ethics & regulations, preparing presentations or publications, plus lots more!

In addition, the website provides a listing of undergraduate research opportunities, fellowships/scholarships in support of undergraduate research experiences, and technical meetings and journals in which undergraduate students can publish the results of their undergraduate experiences.

Resources available at the website include:

    • Information on all the technical aspects of undergraduate research including lab safety, record keeping, experimental design, data analysis, technical writing, oral presentations, intellectual property, etc.

    • A discussion board where you can discuss anything about undergraduate research with other undergraduate students; (in development).

    • Scholarships and fellowships in support of undergraduate research experiences.




Pursue your passion.


To promote and advance the sciences, humanities, and arts by engaging and supporting undergraduates in research.


To make undergraduate research an integral part of the university experience at ETSU.

icon for left menu icon for right menu