Undergraduate Research at Dartmouth

General information for faculty that may be helpful for external grant applications or for determining how best to engage undergraduates in research

Overview

Dartmouth College provides opportunities for undergraduates to engage in faculty-mentored research, scholarship and creative projects outside the classroom. Students acquire first-hand experience in an academic field while developing skills such as critical thinking, information processing, and effective communication. Because of Dartmouth’s quarter system and the requirement that students take at least one leave term during the traditional academic year, students can engage in research in a variety of ways at different points during their years at Dartmouth. Each year, U.S. News & World Report publishes a list of institutions of higher education that have stellar records in undergraduate research and creative projects, and Dartmouth is consistently on that list. 

COVID-19: Implications for UGAR programs

The following apply to ALL UGAR programs:

  • Travel: updates to Dartmouth-sponsored travel policies went into effect April 19
     
    • Sponsored travel will be unrestricted within the U.S. for all vaccinated faculty, staff, and students.
    • Sponsored travel within New England is also unrestricted for individuals who are unvaccinated; however, they must apply for a travel exception to participate in Dartmouth-sponsored travel outside of New England and will need to quarantine before returning to campus.
    • For health and safety reasons and to facilitate support during emergencies, all Dartmouth-sponsored travelers are required to enter plans for domestic travel outside of New England into Dartmouth's updated travel registry. Further information is available here.
    • Currently, all international Dartmouth-sponsored travel still requires a travel exception. Note that UGAR may extend its ban on funding international travel even if students are granted a travel waiver.
    • Dartmouth continues to discourage all nonessential travel for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, given that, when people are on the move, so is the virus. More information regarding travel policies can be found here.
  • Campus access: undergraduates are permitted access to Dartmouth-affiliated buildings and facilities, including libraries and research labs, only if they register for campus access (which requires partcipation in the COVID testing protocol). See the policy on undergraduate research for academic year 2021-2022.
  • Student status: if students withdraw from the College for any reason (in good standing or not), they are not eligible for UGAR programs during the terms in which they are withdrawn. If students are accepted for a UGAR program in a given term but withdraw from the College during that term, they must contact UGAR immediately. See the College webpage on withdrawals for more information. 

How undergraduates engage in research

There are multiple ways to engage in research, scholarship and creative projects with a Dartmouth faculty mentor (which includes faculty in the Arts & Sciences as well as in Geisel School of Medicine, Thayer School of Engineering, and Tuck School of Business):

  • For academic credit:
    • Independent research 
    • Senior honors thesis research
    • Senior Fellowships (large-scale independent projects that are conducted in lieu of a traditional major)
  • Not for academic credit:
    • Part-time research assistantships
    • Full-time research during a leave term
    • Hired directly by faculty and paid hourly wages

Funding levels for undergraduate research

The Dean of Faculty’s office of Undergraduate Advising & Research provides the broadest range of resources and funding, although programs are also offered through a number of campus offices as well as academic departments and programs. Funding levels, time commitment, and requirements vary across programs, but here is a general overview of funding levels per term for research opportunities that are paid as stipends rather than as hourly wages:

  • Part-time research assistantships: $1,000/term
  • Full-time leave term grants: $5,200/term
  • Senior honors thesis grants for expenses directly related to thesis research: $2,500/term
  • Awards for conference travel:
    • Seniors: $1,000
    • Other undergraduates: $500
       

UGAR Program Participation

Data on UGAR undergraduate participation in the following programs: WISP Research Internships, Sophomore and Junior Research Scholarships, Presidential Scholarships, Research Grants (honors thesis, leave term, conference travel).

  • 2014-2015:  635
  • 2015-2016:  567
  • 2016-2017:  558
  • 2017-2018:  609
  • 2018-2019:  642

* These numbers do not represent the total number of students participating in faculty-mentored undergraduate research. As noted above, students participate in undergraduate research in multiple other ways and in multiple other programs.