Why Undergraduate Research?


Taking part in undergraduate research is an easy decision for some students.  Others want to know how participating in research can benefit them.  There are many reasons to participate in research, but here are just a few:

Inside Access to Your Chosen Major

You may already have your next four years mapped out, or you may not know what direction to go just yet.  Either way, engaging in research supplements your coursework and gives you inside access to the questions, problems, and topics in your chosen (or possible) field of study.  What you learn in the lab will help you excel in the classroom as you see the relationship between your lessons and your research.

For many students, engaging in research is a perfect opportunity to get a “sneak peek” into a possible career.  Undecided majors can learn more about a potential career path early in their coursework and decide what direction they will choose.

A Unique Approach to Professional Development

Researchers are problem solvers.  They ask questions, search for answers, and propose solutions to issues in the world around them.  When you become a researcher, you will also develop these skills that will help you in your post-graduate career.

You may be surprised to find that research plays an important role in many career fields.  It is the basis for decision-making, quality control, and sustainable success.  With undergraduate research experience under your belt, you will be an attractive candidate for post-graduate education and job opportunities.

Early Networking Opportunities

You will learn from many professors during your time at The University of Alabama, but working in partnership with a faculty mentor is an experience that many Emerging Scholars would consider an invaluable part of their college career.

Many Scholars work alongside upperclassmen, graduate students, and other research professionals during their time as a researcher.  The relationships they build provide a far-reaching network of support, guidance, and connections that last through college and beyond graduation.

A Competitive Edge In Post-Graduate Education

Students who engage in undergraduate research have an advantage over their peers when it is time to apply to medical and graduate schools.  Successful Emerging Scholars do not engage in research as a resume boost – they are passionate about the work they do, and their dedication is an impressive addition to their excellent academic performance.

young woman describing poster to two other women

Francie Johnson (left) discusses her research with faculty members from the UA Libraries and the Department of Religious Studies. Johnson, an undergraduate, worked with Dr. Meg Lamme of the Department of Advertising and Public Relations.