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


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. 

Criteria for Undergraduate Research

  • The research must contribute to the student's academic and/or intellectual development.
    • The project must make or be designed to make an original intellectual or creative contribution to an academic discipline.
    • The research experience cannot primarily consist of rote tasks or be clerical or administrative. 
    • Projects focused on curricular and/or course development are not eligible for funding.
  • The student must have a faculty mentor who is affiliated with Dartmouth College (including the medical, engineering, and business schools).
  • The research can be part-time while taking classes or full-time during a leave term.
  • Some programs involve working as a research assistant on a faculty project, and others provide funding for self-generated projects completed under the supervision of a faculty mentor.
    • Check the requirements of specific programs to ensure that your role in the project meets the program guidelines.

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: $1,200/term
  • Full-time leave term grants: $5,600/term
  • Senior honors thesis grants for expenses directly related to thesis research: up to $2,500
  • 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
  • 2019-2020:  649

* 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.