Undergraduate Research is Active Learning

Atlanta, GA

If your student wants to apply what they are learning in the classroom in an active setting to gain practical experience, then they should look into doing undergraduate research. It is one of the unique and fulfilling opportunities that Georgia Tech offers students. But there are misconceptions.

Misconception: Undergraduate research is only available if the faculty advertises an opening.

The reality: Few undergraduate research opportunities are initiated by a professor posting an opportunity. The best way for students to get involved in research is to review faculty webpages, journal articles, books, presentations or attend a lecture, and when they find something that excites them, they should contact the professor. Tell faculty that they are interested in their research, giving specific reasons why, and then request a meeting. If students want more guidance on this, they can talk to their school’s undergraduate coordinator at urop.gatech.edu/undergraduate-coordinators, academic advisor, or follow some basic guidelines found at urop.gatech.edu/get-involved

Misconception: Students do not have time for undergraduate research because of classes or jobs.

The reality: Undergraduate research is extremely flexible and can be done for course credit or pay.

  • Course Credit: In nearly every major the research credit counts toward the degree, and it can also be extended to allow a student to graduate with the “Research Option” urop.gatech.edu/research-option.
  • Pay: Most faculty have funding through grants to pay students a stipend, but Georgia Tech also has the President’s Undergraduate Research Awards (PURA) urop.gatech.edu/pura-salary. Students must apply for this award. The deadline for Summer 2018 is February 23, 2018, and for Fall 2018 the deadline is May 11, 2018.
  • Time: Students can do research for 9 hours/week or 20 hours/week depending on their course load. All this is up to the student and the faculty member.


Misconception: Research is only in labs.

The reality: There are opportunities in every field. Students have worked with faculty on research in a broad spectrum of topics, from designing robots that explore other planets to collecting coral samples for evidence of past climates to analyzing the desegregation patterns of cities.

Misconception: Students cannot do research until they are juniors or seniors.

The reality: Students can begin research at any time during their undergraduate career.

Misconception: Students can only do research within their major.

The reality: Students can do research in any field of study they are interested in at Georgia Tech.

Misconception: Only a few undergraduate students are involved in research.

The reality: Last year there were approximately 2,800 undergraduate students doing research with faculty. There are plenty of opportunities. Encourage your student to explore!

For more information on Undergraduate Research at Georgia Tech, visit urop.gatech.edu.

Last revised October 5, 2017