Engaging Undergraduates in Research

Undergraduate research (UR) is well-known as a high impact educational practice that leads to increased retention. Early undergraduate research experience (URE) in social sciences and humanities leads to significant gains in analytical and critical thinking skills for first- and second year students, especially for first generation students (Ishiyama, 2002). UREs, particularly during the academic year, are especially effective at increasing interest and persistence in STEM, particularly for students traditionally underrepresented in STEM (Hurtado, 2009; Lopatto, 2004; Russell, 2007; Schultz et al., 2011).

The Office of Societal Impact is committed to expanding access to undergraduate research experiences (UREs). In collaboration with SECD, SI is launching a university undergraduate research partnership to bring together centralized resources to expand access to UR, to coordinate communication, to showcase UAZ UR talent, to provide training, and to enhance the quality of the UAZ UR experience with a focus on equity, inclusion, and cultivating success for all students. 

Our UArizona Researchers Database lists information about faculty at the University of Arizona with research opportunities for undergraduate students. If you would like to update your information, follow the instructions at https://ur.arizona.edu/update

We are offering an annual CURE Training Institute to build the institution’s capacity for providing scaled research experiences within the curriculum. A CURE is an entry-course that engages students in addressing a research question or problem that is of interest to the scientific community (Auchincloss et al., 2014). To find out more, contact Kimberly Sierra-Cajas. 

The University of Arizona is an enhanced institutional member of the Council for Undergraduate Research. To activate your membership, go to cur.org and click on myCUR. 

For consultations on incorporating UR into grant proposals, please complete this form (link TBD)

Auchincloss, L., Laursen, S., Branchaw, J., Eagan, K., Graham, M., Hanauer, D., Lawrie, G., McLinn, C., Pelaez, N., Rowland, S., Towns, M., Trautmann, N., Varma-Nelson, P., Weston, T., Dolan, E. (2014). Assessment of course-based undergraduate research experiences: A meeting report. CBE Life Sciences Education, 13(1), 29-40.

Ishiyama, J. 2002. “Does Early Participation in Undergraduate Research Benefit Social Science and Humanities Students?College Student Journal 36 (3): 381387.

Hurtado, S., Cabrera, N. L., Lin, M. H., Arellano, L., & Espinosa, L. L. (2009). Diversifying science: Underrepresented student experiences in structured research programs. Research in Higher Education, 50, 189–214. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11162-008-9114-7 

Lopatto, D. (2004). Survey of undergraduate research experiences (SURE): First findings. Cell Biology Education, 3(4), 270–277. https://doi.org/10.1187/cbe.04-07-0045 

Russell, S. H., Hancock, M. P., & McCullough, J. (2007). Benefits of undergraduate research experiences. Science, 316(5824), 548-549. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1140384 

Schultz, P., Hernandez, P., Woodcock, A., Estrada, M., Chance, R., Aguilar, M., and Serpe, R. (2011). Patching the pipeline: Reducing educational disparities in the sciences through minority training programs. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 33, 95-114. https://doi.org/10.3102/0162373710392371 


Kimberly Sierra-Cajas, Director, Undergraduate Research & Inquiry