UMass Boston

Undergrad Research

Why should I do research?

  • There are many benefits to doing undergrad research projects:
  • Creating new knowledge through making new and unique analyses and discoveries
  • Making connections with faculty, students, and community members
  • Helping to shape or refine your academic and/or career interests
  • Building skills you will use in future jobs and graduate programs
  • Traveling to local, state, national, and international conferences
  • Getting paid for your research 

To learn more about undergrad research, see the following sites:

 

What are the different types of research?

Research comes in many types, such as the examples below:

Lab Research: Timothy Musoke
Timothy explored the role of proteins called beta-arrestins in the regulation of cell-to-cell communication and signaling during animal development, using fruit flies as a model.

Policy Research: Angelika Katsinis
Angelika explored whether legislation in Massachusetts and the U.S. has been able to help those unaware of the dangers of opioid addiction, and those already facing addiction.

Creative Research: Lili Koen
Lili’s thesis was an exploration of whether self-portraiture photography is inherently empowering for women, or whether it can perpetuate oppressive perceptions of and among women.

Qualitative Research: Sarah Bolden
Sarah explored the political significance of practices of image manipulation and editing in the media, through frameworks of authenticity, consumerism, spectacle, and apology.

Computational Research: Carla Aravena
Carla placed student research subjects in virtual classrooms, and gathered data on how students could use the teacher’s movements to find opportunities to cheat on in-class exams. 

Organizational Research: Dawn DeRossette
Dawn researched the connection between administrative culture and quality of health care within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). 

Historical Research: Bryce Celotto
Bryce traced the roots of school segregation in Washington D.C. and analyzed the U.S. Supreme Court Case Bolling v. Sharpe, which ended de jure segregation in DC public schools. 

Education Research: Corrie Locke-Hardy
Corrie’s research focuses on gender stereotypes in early childhood classrooms. By not reinforcing stereotypes, children are given more freedom to choose how to express themselves.

See ScholarWorks to read about this esearch.

 

How do I find a research opportunity?

When seeking a research opportunity, we encourage you to consider:

1) Speaking with individual professors

  • Many undergrad students start doing research within their classes, such as capstone courses, research methods courses, and internship courses.  If you would like to build upon these experiences, and take on a research opportunity outside of the classroom:
  • Meet with the Undergrad Program Director, or Thesis Seminar instructor, or the chair for your department
  • Look through the faculty listing for your department, and read the summaries of each faculty member's research, to see whose research might interest you the most
  • Ask the professors you've taken classes with what their research focuses on

2) Taking part in formal research programs

Research and Internship Opportunities in the Sciences

Research and Internship Opportunities in the Liberal Arts

The Undergraduate Research Portfolio encourages you to participate in research—and become part of this analytical and creative activity at UMass Boston. The Undergraduate Research Portfolio gives you the opportunity for high quality faculty/student intellectual exchange by helping you to learn about and participate in research in your field. Visit the College of Liberal Arts for more information.

How can I apply for funding?

There are two ways to obtain funding for Undergraduate Research Funds:

1) Funding for summer research funds

Beacon Student Success Fellowship (BSSF)

2) Funding for the academic year (2022-2023)

Undergraduate Research Funds (URF)

Annual Research Grant Competition for Undergraduate Students

The Office of the Vice Provost for Research is pleased to call for applications for its Academic Year 2022-2023 Annual Research Grant Competition for Undergraduate Students. These funds assist UMass Boston undergraduate students with expenses that they may incur while conducting research or working on a creative project. The application deadline is Monday, November 21, 2022, by 5 p.m. Only completed applications will be accepted. Grant awards will be announced by the end of finals week of the Fall 2022 semester.

Application Process: Submit as PDF files the following three documents to undergradresearch@umb.edu:

  • The completed application form – which includes a ~150 word proposal and a detailed budget (see section on “Award Amounts” below)
  • A copy of the student's transcript (an unofficial transcript is acceptable)
  • A letter of support from the student's faculty sponsor emailed directly to undergradresearch@umb.edu (faculty sponsors, please take special note of the "Eligibility" and "Allowable Uses" sections defined below)

The Application Form and Detailed Instructions for completing and submitting the application are available by clicking on the appropriate link directly below.

Application Form

Detailed Instructions

‚ÄčEligibility: Students from all undergraduate colleges with 60 or more credits are eligible. Students are ordinarily expected to have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Graduating seniors can apply, but they must submit receipts prior to their official graduation date.

Award Amounts: Funding is limited. Grants are typically in the $500-$1500 range. In exceptional circumstances, grant requests totaling up to $2000 (materials and conferences in total) may be considered. 

Allowable Uses of Funds: Categories of need for which funds may be sought include, but are not limited to: purchase of books for research, purchase of materials for experiments, payments to human subjects, Xeroxing, equipment, travel to archives, libraries, or other research sites, and travel to present research results at national and regional conferences.  Be sure to explain why books must be purchased rather than borrowed from libraries. Explain why materials for experiments are not normally stocked by the laboratory.

Distribution of Funds: Funds must be distributed no later than your graduation date (if you are a graduating senior) or by June 30, 2023 (if you are not a graduating senior). Funds will be distributed in different ways, depending on the expense: 

For conferences or purchases the student makes directly, funds will be distributed by reimbursing the student for the costs incurred. Funds will not be issued to the student until the expenses are incurred (e.g., for a conference, once the trip is completed). Receipts (or other similar documentation, if applicable) will be required for reimbursement. 

Funds cannot be transferred to programs or departments. For items that cannot be procured by individuals (i.e. chemicals, and other lab related supplies), please have your program or department contact the Office of the Vice Provost for Research – Paul M. Mullane, Director for Financial Management for Research and Graduate Studies at paul.mullane@umb.edu to obtain accounting information. Only after obtaining accounting information can the program or department create the requisition for procurement.

Presentations at Conferences: If you are planning to present your work at a conference, you are eligible to apply for funds to travel to that conference. You should apply for funding now, even if you don’t know whether you will be accepted by the conference(s) to present. On the application, you will be asked to estimate the costs of attending. Keep in mind that your travel support will only be funded if your paper/ poster is accepted for presentation and only lodging, transportation and registration costs will be considered. (Funding for “per diems” for food will not be considered).  Please note that costs to cover travel to the annual MA Statewide Research Conference in Amherst are provided to interested students through another process, and should not be included here.

Travel Registration Requirements: https://www.umb.edu/controller

Decision making process and notification: All funding decisions are made by the Undergraduate Research Committee, which is a faculty committee. Students and/or sponsors may be contacted by the committee if more information is needed during the process. Students will be notified of the committee’s decision by email. Decisions will be announced by the end of finals week of the Fall 2022 semester.

Questions? Contact us at undergradresearch@umb.edu

 

What research awards and fellowships can I apply to?

Graduating with Honors

  • Undergraduate students can graduate with honors through their major or the Honors College
  • For honors in your major, see the Undergrad Program Director or the thesis Seminar instructor, in your major department.
  • For the Honors College visit them at www.honors.umb.edu.

Fellowships

Fellowship awards fund students’ travel and living expenses as they perform research, teaching, or service during their undergraduate and graduate years.  Some awards are targeted towards specific fields, but others fund experiences in any academic discipline.

To see available fellowships please visit the fellowships page at https://www.umb.edu/academics/fellowships/what_are_fellowships.

Awards

Kingston-Mann Undergraduate Student Research Awards for Excellence in Diversity/Inclusion Scholarship

The awards competition honors the work of undergraduate students whose research contributes to the scholarship of diversity and inclusion. The awards program is intended to encourage students to discover their potential as researchers. Included are eight colleges and universities from across New England. For information about the award, selections from past award-winning essays, and application forms, please visit www.umb.edu/kmawards.

College and Department Specific Awards

Many colleges and departments on campus have awards specific to students within those colleges. Please see your department for a list of these awards. As an example, below is the awards list for political science-related awards.

 

Where can I present or publish my research?

We encourage you to present your research:

We encourage you to publish your research:

  • On the UMass Boston ScholarWorks website
  • In professional journals specific to your research discipline
  • In undergraduate journals specific to your research discipline, such as this example for political science
  • Our UMass Boston non-fiction magazine Writ Large contains personal essays that often spark ideas for future research projects

 

Questions? Contact us at undergradresearch@umb.edu