Undergraduate Research at Baylor
What resources does the College of Arts & Sciences offer first-year students and sophomores for research?
For students who are interested in research but who are not ready to design or conduct independent research, some of these options may be helpful:
(1) The three-hour First Year Seminars and Freshman Academic Seminars (FYS or FAS prefix) offer small group experiences, intense undergraduate research, and exciting methodologies. The materials are often drawn from a professor's area of research. Recent seminars include: "Writing about the Media," "Disease and the Patient-Physician Relationship," "Anthropology of the Supernatural," "Experience of Illness," "Faith and Reason," and "Terror and Political Violence." Freshman Academic Seminars (FAS) are open to first-year students. First Year Seminars (FYS) are open to students participating in the Honors program.
(2) One-thousand and two-thousand level "first experience in research" courses are offered in some departments and would be well worth your investigating. Consider these:
(3) Independent research within a department program or within an organization in the major (i.e., an academic honor society or academic club) is always an exciting option.
(4) Undergraduate research grants for independent projects under the supervision of a faculty member are available through some departments and the URSA program. On the left, you will see a link to the URSA homepage.
What research opportunities are available to advanced undergraduates?
(1) Most departments integrate substantial research into their upper-level courses whether that research occurs through course papers, presentations, fieldwork, or lab work. That said, many departments offer variable hour, independent studies courses that provide robust research problems for independent investigation between a faculty member and an undergraduate at the junior-senior level. The "V" in the course number indicates that a course is offered with variable hours, meaning that you and the professor determine how many hours of credit the course will be worth, typically 1-3 hours. For example, Biology 3V90-Individual Topics allows students to complete independent study, research, directed reading, supervised library, laboratory, or fieldwork. Departments also offer courses at the upper-level that intensely focus on research, such as Neuroscience 4371-Advanced Research in Neuroscience, which places students under the close mentoring of a professor as they conduct a sustained, in-depth project.
(2) Students eager for intentional, sustained research can apply for admission to the Honors program as juniors; application requires a 3.5 overall grade point average and the recommendation of your major department. As an upper-division Honors student, you will complete "Honors Colloquium," a two-hour course in which you meet in small, informal groups throughout the semester to discuss significant books and issues in various academics disciplines. You will also select three junior or senior-level courses to complete as Honors courses by contracting with faculty members to pursue advanced study in each course. You will also take two hours of "Advanced Readings" and under the guidance of your faculty mentor define the focus and parameters of your Honors thesis. This thesis, the culmination of Baylor's Honors program, will mature you as a critical thinker, writer, and researcher. Access the program website here and abstracts of this and past years' Honors theses here.