Hands-on Research

Research opportunities start in year one

A major benefit of the programs at the College of Science is the opportunity to take part in research while you’re an undergraduate student. Under the guidance of your faculty research adviser, you will design your own project (based on an intriguing topic), carry out experiments, and analyze and interpret the results. You will earn credit toward your degree for this research, and you may find yourself presenting your findings at scientific meetings or publishing work in professional scientific journals.

The College of Science was one of the first in the country to expose undergraduate students to hands-on research. Today, we encourage all undergraduate students to take part in research work throughout their years of study, including our summer research fellowships.

With undergraduate research, you will learn valuable life skills which you can apply to your career in science and mathematics including:

  • Research project planning
  • Project troubleshooting
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Research assessment and methodology

Undergraduate research prepares you for an inquiry-driven career in science and math. Whether you plan on becoming a research scientist, educator, or industry-based scientist, graduates who have taken part in undergraduate research find themselves better prepared for their work environment and for graduate school research. You will become better scientists because of your summer research experience.

The Emerson Endowed Fellowship Program

In 2015, Rochester Institute of Technology established a $1 million endowed fund to support undergraduate research in the College of Science through a challenge grant from the Fred L. Emerson Foundation. The Emerson Endowed Fellowship Program for Undergraduate Research allowed RIT to double the number of undergraduate students conducting full-time scientific research during the summer.

These Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) award selected students a stipend to work on a targeted research project during the summer at RIT. The students present their research and innovative ideas at the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium, a free, public event showcasing the research undertaken by undergraduate students across the RIT campus every August. All RIT undergraduate students are eligible to participate in this event.