Benefits of conducting undergraduate research

Undergraduate research helps students build confidence, develop problem-solving skills, and establish mentoring relationships with faculty members. It augments an undergraduate student’s program at OSU and makes students more competitive, nationally and internationally.

Learning Opportunities

Research can be challenging! For that reason, it creates the perfect opportunity for experiential learning beyond the classroom. Instead of reading textbooks or listening to lectures to build informational knowledge, research promotes hands-on experiences. For many, this type of learning is especially engaging and effective. It also helps students go much farther in-depth in a specific field than typical undergraduate classes. Research helps build knowledge, and it additionally builds a toolkit of personal and professional skills, many of which can be applied to all realms of life. Research helps build:

  • Accountability and responsibility
  • Confidence
  • Curiosity
  • Technical skills in the lab and/or field
  • Critical thinking and problem solving skills
  • Writing skills (especially in styles specific to peer reviewed publishing) 
  • Presentation skills
  • Communication skills
  • Professionalism


A research mentor can connect a student to a huge range of people within their field of study. From other undergraduate students and graduate students to top research professionals, the student has the opportunity to start building interpersonal connections. These can be extremely valuable in finding future opportunities, and can also help the student build a network of support. Fellow researchers can help offer advice, constructive criticism on work, and mentorship. Additionally, most students involved in research have the opportunity to present their work with a poster and/or slideshow at a conference at OSU, in Oregon, or even across the country! These conferences and symposiums are great opportunities for further networking and skill building - to see what other research is currently ongoing, meet professionals in the field, and to practice presenting and communicating your work.

Future Opportunities

Research experiences can add a valuable component to a resume or CV. It can hep make a student competitive when applying for graduate school and job positions. Additionally, the student's mentor and other connections made through networking opportunities can help connect the student to future opportunities and can provide referencesor even letters of recommendation. The skills and experience gained through research can help a student pursue and excel in challenging professional positions in their future career.

Fun and unique experiences!

From nanoparticles to zebrafish, fossils to cancer cells, tidepools to forests to deserts, centrifuging to scuba diving - the possible study species, systems, and techniques that can go along with a research project are virtually limitless! That means that there's something interesting, engaging, and exciting for just about everyone in the research world. Research isn't just about results - it's also about the methods, and that can often be an invaluable and enjoyable experience, and can add immensley to a student's personal, unique story.


Not convinced? Here's what current Undergraduate students involved in research have to say about their experiences!

"My research experiences have provided him the opportunity to work with some incredibly bright people learn a lot while in a professional scientific setting!" -Taylor Barnes

"Research has been a phenomenal experience! Research has opened up many opportunities for me and has even helped me decide to attend graduate school for my masters in public health. I highly recommend getting involved in research because it is a great way of connecting with people who can help guide you through your college career and it's also a great resume booster!" - Aya Burkes

"Research has been one of the best experiences for me here at Oregon State! It has allowed so many different opportunities both on and off campus, and provided a great support system. I work on research about nanoparticles and their changes in the environment. I absolutely love it and find it incredibly interesting!" -Zia Klocke

"My favorite part of the research experience has been talking with others about their interests and the endless possibilities that research has to offer. Research is important for me because it takes what I've been memorizing in textbooks and puts it to use in the real world." - George Pope