Undergraduate Research

Getting Started

Do you want to get involved in research? The opportunities are limitless: from Cuban rhythms to nanoscience, voting patterns to poetry and everything between and beyond. You can do research in the summer or during the school year, every year or just one semester.

So where do you begin?

Step one begins with you. What are your interests? Do you have a passion for people, text, art, numbers, organizations or the natural world? If you’re going to do research, it’s going to take some introspection — you'll need to figure out what kind of fields you're interested in, and why.

Who can help?

Your advising dean can help at the beginning by talking with you about your interests and helping you narrow your focus. Later, each department has a director of undergraduate studies who can help and faculty members can provide advice and guidance about doing research in their fields.

 

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Fifty Nobel laureates have been affiliated with Cornell as faculty or alumni

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More than 100 interdisciplinary research organizations, 18 Cornell research centers and 2 national research centers

Explore Resources

Here are some campus offices and resources to explore once you narrow your interests down to a few fields:

Earning Credit or Funding for Research

You can get credit or funding for your research, but not both.

To apply for A&S independent study credit, you will need to complete an on-line form which you can access via data.arts.

The form should be completed within the first two weeks of the semester.  After the add deadline, you must include a statement explaining why it is being submitted late.

For Research Funding in the College of Arts & Sciences, you must already be working with a faculty member. You can then either apply for an Einhorn Grant or apply for a grant from the Undergraduate Research Fund; forms are also available in KG17 Klarman Hall.

You can also apply for research support through the College or the university, which both have several programs created to encourage and fund undergraduate research. Sophomores can apply to be a:

  • Rawlings Presidential Research Scholar
  • Mellon Mays Fellow, for students who intend to go on for a Ph.D. in certain fields in the liberal arts and sciences and who are committed to eradicating racial disparities in higher education;
  • McNair Scholar, for either first-generation college students with financial need or members of a group that is traditionally underrepresented in graduate education who have demonstrated strong academic potential.
  • Humanities Scholars Program, for undergraduate students from all colleges with either a major or minor in a humanities discipline.

Applying to Einhorn and Undergrad Research Fund

Applying

Forms are also available in KG17 Klarman Hall. Applications must be submitted to Richard Keller in the Advising and Admissions Office in Klarman Hall, KG 17. Schedule and appointment with him, in advance of submitting your application.

Project Descriptions & Budgets

Funding sources in the college are restricted to students who are pursuing research pertaining to credit (such as independent studies and honors projects or in course-related credit-bearing projects) under the supervision of a Cornell faculty member.

Projects should be clearly and adequately described and should include objectives, background, research methods and a detailed budget.

Budgets must list all costs to be covered and justification for those costs.  

Eligible costs include travel (transportation, hotel, restaurant meals, etc.) and supplies (binding for a thesis, photocopies, lab supplies, software, participant fees in experiments or survey research, etc). Any equipment (lab supplies, books, software, digital recorders or cameras, etc.) is considered Cornell property and must be surrendered to the relevant department or to KG17 Klarman Hall after the research is completed.  Any participant fees or lab expenses for approved projects will be paid directly to the relevant department.

Ineligible costs include day-to-day living expenses (rent, groceries, etc.).

You will not receive payment in advance. Receipts must be submitted in person in KG17 Klarman Hall not more than one month after costs are incurred or by May 1st of the academic year in which the research was performed, whichever comes first.

You should plan well in advance if your research involves human participants, in which case you should contact the Office of Research Integrity and Assurance or visit their website for details.  

If you have questions about the application process, please contact Richard Keller.

Tanner Dean's Scholars

Tanner Dean's Scholars are a distinguished group of students selected to be admitted to the College of Arts & Sciences  during the college's undergraduate admissions process each year. They demonstrate an enthusiasm for the life of the mind and possess outstanding high school records.

Some changes were made to Tanner Dean Scholar program in 2020, and this is outlined below.

Tanner Dean’s Scholars admitted in and after Fall 2020 who are eligible for financial aid will receive a one-time award of up to $5,000 to replace financial aid loans or grants in their first year of study. Tanner Dean’s Scholars who are not eligible for financial aid will be offered research funding of up to $1,500 to be used at any time during their enrollment in the College of Arts & Sciences.

Tanner Dean’s Scholars admitted prior to Fall 2020 or earlier remain eligible to apply for a summer research grant of up to $5,000. Applications must be submitted to Richard Keller, Deputy Director of Advising, in the Advising and Admissions Office in Klarman Hall, KG 17. Schedule an appointment with him, in advance of submitting your application. After meeting with Richard Keller, please complete the following forms.

Submission Deadline has been extended to May 1, 2021 for the summer of 2021

Application and resources

College Scholar Program

The College Scholar Program represents the pinnacle of the liberal arts experience at Cornell. The program is focused on a small group of stellar students whose interests transcend disciplinary boundaries. These students have demonstrated exceptional promise and maturity to plan and carry out a well-designed individualized program of study and research. 

Students design their own interdisciplinary major, organized around a question or issue of interest, and pursue a course of study that cannot be found in an established major. College Scholars explore subjects with a broader integration of related disciplines than most students would attempt.

Click here to explore the College Scholar Program in detail.

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