About Research

What Is Research?

Meaningful student participation in faculty-mentored scholarly or creative activity intended to make an original contribution to one or more disciplines.

Although the term "research" often conjures up images of lab benches and test tubes, academic research is actually much broader in scope. It can be in any academic discipline, from theater to government to chemistry. It can be research in a traditional sense (e.g. data collection, archival research, structured interviews) or it can involve work that might be better characterized as a creative project (e.g. a work of art, a collection of poetry, a screenplay). 

Why Do Research?

Dartmouth offers a wide-ranging, challenging and stimulating curriculum. You can get a first-class education simply by picking and choosing among the myriad of classes in the course catalog.

However, the most exciting and engaging intellectual development often takes place outside of the traditional classroom. Faculty-mentored research allows you to explore a topic or area in more depth and to refine your academic and intellectual interests. Some students take on projects outside of their major field while others opt to challenge themselves with projects related to their major or career interests.

For students planning to continue on to graduate school, undergraduate research is particularly important, as some graduate programs require students to have engaged in research during their college years.

Even for those who do not plan to pursue graduate work, undergraduate research still develops essential skills, such as thinking critically, drawing evidence-based conclusions, and communicating findings and opinions. Perhaps the principal benefit of undergraduate research, however, is the opportunity to work one-on-one with a Dartmouth professor who can mentor and guide you as you make academic and career decisions.

Students who have participated in undergraduate research consistently rate these experiences as among the most valuable of their college career.