Undergraduate Research

Getting involved in undergraduate research

Most students who pursue undergraduate research have developed, usually in the classroom or during office hours, a good relationship with a professor whose work is of interest to them. Most professors are also engaged in ongoing research as part of their job duties, and often a student may enquire about research assistant opportunities. Alternatively, students may approach these professors to ask for support in sponsoring the student’s own scholarly research. These students typically already have a research question in mind and it is usually closely related to the professor’s area of expertise.

  • The first point of contact for most students interested in research is the Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry.  This resource has many structured activities for helping students start to explore research opportunities as well as what research most interests them and has peer support with students currently involved in research.
  • Students who have not made close connections with a classroom instructor may also visit the website of the department with which the instructor is associated; most department websites contain information about the ongoing scholarly activities of their faculty. Students are encouraged to review some of the faculty member’s scholarly publications (available at the University libraries) to determine whether their own research interests align with the work that individual is doing.  If the student believes that their research interests are compatible, the student may endeavor to contact the faculty member to discuss his/her research and to develop a rapport with him/her before asking whether he/she would be willing to supervise the students’ work.
  • All students are encouraged to remember that supervising student research is an ongoing process and a time commitment on the part of the faculty member.  Thus, students should make every effort to be professional and pro-active (proposing solutions and engaging in a great deal of the research work independently) in their projects.  The Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry is a wonderful resource for answering general questions about the research process and resources to get started.

Research can take many forms.  Types of research include laboratory research, human subjects research, case-studies, and literature reviews just to name a few.  Each type of research is valuable and the type of research engaged in will usually be directed by the research question as well as the strengths and interests of the researcher.

  •  Students may also consider engaging in research opportunities outside of their primary area of academic study.  The research process can be learned via any type of research but learning how other discipline approach problem-solving tasks can help students develop valuable insights related to how to work with professionals of different backgrounds when part of a research team.
  • Students should also seek out opportunities to present or publish their research.  There are a number of undergraduate research presentation opportunities on campus, but there are also student presentation opportunities at professional conferences.  OSU also publishes the Journal of Undergraduate Research at Ohio State to give students publishing opportunities beyond those of publishing in professional journals.


Around campus there are a variety of options for research experience:


Graduation with Research Distinction

Another way for students to graduate with special designation from the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences is by completing an Undergraduate Research Thesis. Conducting a thesis is a process of gaining an exposure to the research process while developing, performing and evaluating a research project under the guidance of an HRS faculty. A student does not need to be a member of the Honors program to complete an Undergraduate Research Thesis.

To learn more about this opportunity, please contact Dr. Jill Clutter at clutter.1@osu.edu.

Requirements to Graduate with Distinction:

  • Primary advisor within HRS (tenure-track, clinical, research or auxiliary faculty).
  • Upon Graduation: Overall GPA above 3.0, Major GPA >3.5.
  • Present final project at the Denman Undergraduate Research Forum (or equivalent forum).
  • Complete 4 hours of Honors Research (HRS 4998H or 4998).
  • Successful oral defense of thesis project.

The typical timeframe for completing the process is to identify a research mentor, finalize the topic and develop the thesis proposal during the junior year. More detailed steps are provided in the thesis proposal development section. Upon completion of the thesis proposal (and approval by the Honors Director for meeting guidelines), the student will host a proposal meeting to discuss and refine the research project with his or her primary research mentor and a secondary committee member who lends complementary expertise to the research process. Students who host their proposal meeting prior to the last day of spring semester will be eligible for the HRS Research Scholarship for the following year. For more information, please review this website.