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.
Fifty Nobel laureates have been affiliated with Cornell as faculty or alumni
More than 100 interdisciplinary research organizations, 18 Cornell research centers and 2 national research centers
Here are some campus offices and resources to explore once you narrow your interests down to a few fields:
- Office of Undergraduate Research
- Cornell Undergraduate Research Board
- Office of Undergraduate Biology (biology and the natural world)
- Department websites and research group websites (see what faculty are doing)
- Directors of Undergraduate Studies (to talk about your ideas)
- Faculty research papers (on faculty websites or via library databases)
- Student organizations and clubs (related to your interests)
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
- Einhorn Grant Application
- Undergraduate Research Fund Application
- Budget Proposal and Agreement for Financial Help - Required for both Einhorn Grant and Undergraduate Research Fund
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 an 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.
Please note that students will be asked to provide a photo of themselves or their research and a paragraph or two describing their work, which will be shared with the Einhorn family. This must be submitted no later than May 31.
If you have questions about the application process, please contact Richard Keller.
Nexus Scholars Program
The Nexus Scholars Program in the College of Arts & Sciences provides undergraduate students with summer opportunities to work side by side with faculty from all across the college (humanities, social sciences, and STEM) on their research projects. Along with the summer research experience, the program offers professional development workshops, career exploration events, and the chance to be part of a cohort from throughout the college who are passionate about learning.
Recipients may conduct research in any discipline in the College of Arts & Sciences and will be paid $7,000 for full-time work during the eight-week summer program on the Cornell campus in Ithaca. Nexus Scholars are selected based on their interest in research, their ability to work collaboratively, and their potential to contribute to the field. Students who are early in their academic careers and from a variety of backgrounds are encouraged to apply.
Humanities Scholars Program
The Humanities Scholars Program fosters independent, interdisciplinary undergraduate research in the humanities, and provides a supportive community, through a series of curated courses, structured mentorship, special programming, and research opportunities and funding.
Accepted students must declare a major, or a minor, in the humanities; take a minimum of five approved courses as described below; produce an honors thesis or capstone project (which could be in their major outside the humanities); and present at the annual Humanities Scholars Conference.
Click here to learn more about the Humanities Scholars Program.
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.
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. 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.
Applications for the 22-23 academic year must be submitted by May 1.
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.
Milstein Program in Technology and Humanity
The Milstein Program in Technology and Humanity provides students with the opportunity for experimentation, collaboration and connection at the intersection of technology and the humanities. In addition to world-class speakers, dynamic workshops, specialized seminars, curated courses, and student-led civic-minded projects, the Program offers Milstein Program scholars access to funding for research and summer opportunities.
In addition to one funded eight-week immersive summer learning experience at Cornell Tech in New York City, living at the House on Roosevelt Island and working with real-world practitioners in technology, industry and design, Milstein Program scholars have access to funding for collaborative research projects they propose, or faculty-led interdisciplinary projects from across the college like the Cornell Tech Policy Lab.
Click here to learn more about the Milstein Program in Technology & Humanity
African Experience Travel Award
Arts and Sciences African Experience Travel Award provides up to $2,500 toward travel expenses for Cornell-run programs in Africa during the summer and winter sessions, as well as the academic year.
To help promote student participation in many of the international educational experiences provided by Cornell, and increase accessibility to programs not currently covered by Cornell financial aid, the College of Arts and Sciences has established the African Experience Travel Award. Undergraduate students in the College of Arts & Sciences may apply for up to $2,500 to cover travel expenses for Cornell-sponsored programs in Africa that offer either academic credit or a structured internship experience.
Interested students can apply by completing the application below. Note that the application must be completed and submitted at once and cannot be saved and completed at a later time.
- Application will be closed on the last day of Spring final exams and will reopen on the first day of Fall classes.