Research Opportunities by College

School of Business

The Jon M. Huntsman School of Business provides undergraduate researchers the opportunity to develop core competencies in research methods critical to solving meaningful business and public policy issues.

The School of Business hosts the Business Intelligence Group. This student-led organization has a combination of both graduate and undergraduate students from all majors. They dedicate quality time throughout the semester for projects from a variety of outside companies.

The Business Intelligence Group is a special interest group of the Association for Information Systems.

The Huntsman PhD Preparation Association serves to identify and prepare students to excel in PhD programs by diving into the various aspects of academic research, including building theory, research methods, data collection and analysis, writing, and the review process

Benefits

  • Add resume-worthy experience upon project completion
  • Enhanced understanding of data analytics
  • Learn/apply business intelligence tools and processes
  • Network with local, national, and international companies
  • Access to a strong alum group

College of the Arts

The Caine College of the Arts includes the departments of art, music and theatre arts, and the interior design program. As an undergraduate researcher in the arts, you can:

  • Create works of art, theatre, music or design
  • Perform musical or theatrical works
  • Research, analyze and critique musical, theatrical, artistic or design endeavors
  • Research pedagogy of the arts across the college’s disciplines

Each field of study within the college defines what it means to engage in hands-on learning. In some departments, you might be immersed in a studio, while in other departments, you might be involved in a research project using historical documents or case studies.

The traditional model of scholarship and creative activity in the arts typically features the lone artist or scholar, but at Utah State, the Caine College of the Arts expects you to arrive on campus a novice and develop an apprentice relationship with a faculty mentor. This relationship gives you the opportunity to learn from your mentor’s experience and expertise before moving into more independent research projects.

Some questions faculty ask about students before beginning a research mentorship include:

  • Can the student undertake some of the foundational work for a project, particularly bibliographic or historical data collection?
  • Are there meaningful supportive tasks that the student could take on, such as super titles for an operatic production or program notes for a performance?
  • Does the student have a particular skill that the scholar does not, such as a foreign or classical language that might contribute to the project?
  • Does the student have a skill in technology that would be helpful in the design or delivery of the project like designing a webpage?

College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences

The College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences is a strong research-based college that offers undergraduate researchers a wide range of research opportunities in all six of the departments. Some examples of undergraduate research experiences include:

  • Testing antiviral substances that are components of biomedical drugs
  • Identifying genetic markers for economically important traits in livestock animals
  • Learning to apply water intelligently (data-based water application)
  • Examining the impact of production agriculture and food processing on the state’s economy
  • Testing food products for acceptability by consumers

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Research in CHaSS is broadly defined to encompass scholarly work, creative writing, and both qualitative and quantitative research in the social sciences.

Each field of study within the college defines what it means to engage in research. In some departments, you might be immersed in an archive, while in other departments, you might be involved in conducting research projects or case studies. Common to all research in CHaSS is a systematic inquiry or practice that is designed to further our knowledge, understanding or appreciation.

The traditional model of scholarship in the humanities features the lone researcher, but at Utah State, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences incorporates undergraduate researchers into projects with a faculty mentor. This approach gives you the opportunity to develop an apprentice relationship with your mentor, learning from their experience and expertise before moving into more independent research projects.

Humanities Focus

Research opportunities in English, history, languages and philosophy include:

  • Written production, such as plays, stories, essays, poems and articles
  • Professional work documents
  • Multimedia productions
  • Interpretation and analysis
  • Studies of folklore and folklife
  • Research about women and gender or cultural studies

The Department of Languages, Philosophy and Communication Studies offers additional undergraduate research resources including the Family Communication Lab.

Social Science Focus

Research opportunities with a social science focus are available to students in the departments of:

  • Anthropology
  • Journalism and communication
  • Military science and aerospace studies
  • Political science
  • Social work
  • Sociology
  • Speech communication

Research fellows in the social science division could concentrate on primary or secondary research including:

  • Interviews and surveys
  • Field research
  • Analyses of quantitative or qualitative data related to human behavior and human societies
  • The interpretation and production of media and mass communications such as newspapers or television

S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources

Undergraduate researchers in the S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources can participate in a wide range of research activities, reflecting the breadth of scientific interests students seeking natural resource and environmental careers can pursue. Some research projects include:

  • Assisting with soil sampling and analysis in the wildland soils laboratory
  • Testing wildlife DNA in the conservation genetics laboratory
  • Interviewing and entering data from hikers, ATV riders and other outdoor enthusiasts for studies done by the Institute of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism
  • Making field measurements of forest and rangeland plants
  • Sampling streams and ponds for chemical analyses or invertebrate population sampling
  • Gathering the latest published scientific information about a range of topics, from geographic and environmental education to stream flow dynamics to behavior and habitat needs of endangered North American and tropical wildlife

College of Education and Human Services

The Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services provides many undergraduate research opportunities. Research projects can focus on many topics including:

  • Internet access and assistive technologies for people with disabilities
  • Advanced readers at risk in elementary schools
  • Gender and play among children
  • Special needs infants and toddlers
  • Math virtual manipulatives
  • Drug dependency
  • Childhood obesity

At Utah State, you can work with faculty researchers at the nation’s leading research institutions including the Center for Persons with Disabilities, the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management, the Center for the School of the Future and the Emma Eccles Jones Early Childhood Center.

College of Engineering

The College of Engineering includes five departments:

All departments have Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accredited undergraduate engineering programs. As an undergraduate researcher, you can work on real-life research projects with a faculty mentor and his or her team of researchers. Undergraduate research department coordinators match student interests with a faculty member engaged in that specific area of research.

Examples of research projects include:

  • Converting algae to a biofuel of interest in the Biological Engineering Department
  • Studying water resources and ways to improve water quality both nationally and internationally in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department
  • Investigating low power communications devices for possible future implantation in the human body in Electrical and Computer Engineering Department
  • Investigating the latest research in engineering education and training technology in the Engineering and Technology Education Department
  • Finding the potential of thermal fluids or material sciences in nuclear engineering in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department

Research programs in the college are extensive and varied:

  • Bioprocess and bioenergy
  • Structural design and water quality
  • Highway technology
  • Networks and concurrent systems
  • Space science, signal and image processing
  • Aircraft operation and maintenance
  • Manufacturing and aerospace engineering

Funding

Several undergraduate research fellowships are available to engineering undergraduates through the Office of Research and Graduate Studies. The College of Engineering awards 10 fellowships each year to qualified juniors to engage in engineering research activities. Many undergraduates are funded by faculty research projects.

For more information about undergraduate research opportunities in the College of Engineering at Utah State, contact Undergraduate Research Coordinators Dr. Barton Smith or Dr. Laurie McNeill.

College of Science

As an undergraduate science research fellow in the College of Science, you’ll first be mentored by the associate dean of the college. Each department has an undergraduate research coordinator who can answer any questions you have or help you decide what research project you should pursue.

Undergraduate research activities offer support across disciplines to expand your understanding of research throughout the College of Science.

  • Attend meetings with other fellows to evaluate your progress in coursework, discuss any issues or concerns, and learn about each other’s special interests and career goals.
  • Tour labs and meet faculty in biology, chemistry and biochemistry, geology, mathematics and statistics, computer science, and physics.
  • Attend seminars and other departmental activities to help you get to know other undergraduates and faculty in your major department.

You’ll participate in your own research placement after participating in cross-departmental learning opportunities. Before the end of your first semester, you’ll be teamed up with a faculty mentor in your area of interest.