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Mentored Research Programs

UH Faculty and staff are encouraged to engage undergraduates in research at various levels:

Research Options

Volunteer Research
Volunteer research opportunities provide students - especially those at the freshman and sophomore levels - with an introduction to research methods and resources in their field of study.

Credit-Bearing Research
Departments are encouraged to offer course credit for students who engage in research projects or research-intensive projects lasting at least one semester.  Ideally, such courses would count as an advanced or technical elective in the student’s degree plan.  Examples include:

  • Research-Intensive Courses – Courses that offer students and opportunity to practice research skills to tackle projects such as capstone and practicum courses, investigations in the community, advanced research methods and project-based laboratories, research service learning, interdisciplinary research projects, and collaborative industry projects.
  • Senior Honors Thesis - The thesis program is a capstone program for graduating seniors from all disciplines, and allows participants to graduate with an honors distinction. The student’s thesis director serves as the instructor of record for the two thesis courses (a total of six hours), and mentors the project.  The thesis is typically conducted within the student’s discipline, and serves as the pinnacle of the student’s undergraduate career in research.  A student does not have to be a member of The Honors College to conduct a Senior Honors Thesis. The Office of Undergraduate Research, under the governance of The Honors College, administers the Senior Honors Thesis program.  For more information about the thesis program, visit www.undergraduateresearch.uh.edu/thesis_guidelines.htm

Research Scholarships and Fellowships
The Office of Undergraduate Research, under the governance of The Honors College, administers the PURS and SURF Programs.  Although the office is housed within The Honors College, undergraduates from every college and discipline on campus may apply to the office’s research programs.  

  • The PURS Program - The Provost’s Undergraduate Research Scholarship (PURS) program is a semester research program for juniors and seniors, and provides a $1000 scholarship to students. Throughout the semester, the scholars conduct about seven hours per week of research, which is mentored by a faculty member.  The program is open to undergraduates from all disciplines including the natural sciences, engineering, technology, social sciences, humanities, fine arts, education, architecture, business, and hotel and restaurant management.  Approximately 20 students receive the Provost’s Undergraduate Research Scholarship each semester. The Office of Undergraduate Research, under the governance of The Honors College, administers the PURS Program.  Although the office is housed within The Honors College, undergraduates from every college and discipline on campus may apply to the office’s research programs.  For more information about the PURS program, visit www.undergraduateresearch.uh.edu/purs.html
  • The SURF Program -The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program is a full-time summer research program that provides a $2800 stipend to over 40 UH students from all disciplines each year.  The 10-week program also includes a weekly lecture series that all SURF participants attend.  The lecture series runs the gamut from sessions on applying for major scholarships, graduate and professional school to the importance of learning the language of the students’ discipline and research ethics. The students’ summer research endeavors are showcased through poster presentations during Undergraduate Research Day, which takes place every October for the campus community. For more information about the SURF program, visit www.undergraduateresearch.uh.edu/surf.html

Undergraduate Research Assistantships (Funded from External Grants)
Faculty are encouraged to include undergraduate research assistantships in their grant proposals to external funding agencies.  For example, the National Science Foundation (NSF) provides support for mentored research through various funding opportunities.  NSF-funded faculty may submit requests for grant supplements for Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU Supplements). The Office of Undergraduate Discovery Programs is available to assist and collaborate with faculty who wish to include undergraduate research in their proposals for individual research grants or larger interdisciplinary center grants.  Please contact discovery@uh.edu during the proposal development phase.

Research Internships
Research internships provide another mechanism for students to gain hands-on research experience.  These may be paid or unpaid and take place on campus or off campus. Some programs require students to complete an internship as part of their degree plan.  Departments should consider whether research internships should be eligible to fulfill an internship requirement. 

Work-Study Research Internship
In fall 2009, a Work-Study Research Internship program will be initiated.  Students who qualify for the Federal Work-Study Program will be able to select among a growing number of on-campus research internship positions funded by the Office of Undergraduate Discovery Programs.  Details of the program will be posted when it becomes available.