As one of the world’s leading research universities, Penn has a broad array of faculty conducting cutting-edge research in all disciplines. There are many routes into research involvement for undergraduates, including research-intensive courses, independent study with a faculty member, and summer programs of varying types and foci.
The Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships is a resource for undergraduates in all traditional programs who are interested in getting involved in research opportunities around campus and around the world. CURF helps Penn undergraduates become involved in research by helping you identify resources, narrow your search, and shape your initial inquiries so you can find appropriate faculty mentors and research funding.
College of Arts and Sciences
Research reinforces and instills mastery of academic skills: how to formulate a question or hypothesis, how to gather evidence, and how to answer that question or test that hypothesis.
One of the major advantages of being an undergraduate at a research university is the wide variety of opportunities available for scholarship. Research in the College encompasses a range of activities. In some disciplines, such as English, philosophy and history, students read original works, or the primary literature, and look for new connections and interpretations of these writings. In areas such as anthropology or history of art, students study artifacts, works of art or ancient languages, gaining insights on earlier civilizations and the lives of those who contributed to them. Some students do research in biology, chemistry or psychology, seeking insights on genetic coding, molecular structure or animal behaviors.
Sometimes, students may receive College credit for research activities and scholarship, or receive work-study funds or stipends from faculty grants.
For more information, visit: https://www.college.upenn.edu/research/.
School of Engineering and Applied Science
Our extraordinary faculty-to-student ratio provides great opportunities for undergraduate students to work in state-of-the-art research laboratories during the academic year and in the summer. Below are examples of student research, along with helpful information to guide undergraduates toward finding research positions at Penn Engineering.
For more information, visit: https://research.seas.upenn.edu/undergraduate-research/.
Finding a Research Mentor and Research Experiences
Students are encouraged to explore the Penn Engineering Faculty Expertise Directory, featuring the School's standing faculty and which is searchable by department, research center affiliation, and research expertise keyword. Users can identify which faculty are conducting research in a specific area and contact faculty members whose research interests them.
Littlejohn Undergraduate Research Program
Thanks to a generous gift by Angus Littlejohn, the School of Engineering is able to offer Summer Research Opportunities to Penn Engineering Students. The program is open to rising sophomores, juniors and seniors.
The program intends to provide students the opportunity to get involved in hands-on engineering research under the supervision of a faculty member. Topics of research include all areas covered by the departments in the School of Engineering and Applied Science.
Rachleff Scholars Program
This program offers Penn Engineering undergraduates the opportunity to gain valuable research experiences with standing faculty and to participate in a community of peers who share a common interest in research and scholarly inquiry.
School of Nursing
The Office of Nursing Research, along with our four research centers and partnerships across Penn, provide students with resources and support that are virtually unparalleled in our field. Students, from undergraduates to doctoral students, have numerous opportunities to engage in research and work alongside some of the most recognized researchers in their fields.
For more information, visit: https://www.nursing.upenn.edu/research/.
The Wharton School
Research provides an individualized method of learning and an in-depth treatment of a topic of personal interest with input from a faculty expert. Research experience is helpful if applying for distinguished international fellowships and is important if going on to graduate studies in an analytical discipline. Research skills are useful for decision-making in the private and public sectors and are required in academic positions. Below you can find a variety of research opportunities and scholarship programs.
- Courses—Create “tools” in a research-methods course.
- Research assistantships—Learn by executing research-related tasks while working on a project for a faculty member.
- Summer programs—Gain hands-on experience from proposal to presentation through a project commensurate with program duration.
- Scholars programs—Gain hands-on, in-depth experience from proposal to presentation via a senior thesis and other activities.
- Wharton PhD Submatriculation Program—Submatriculate into a PhD program in Accounting, Finance, Health Care Systems, Insurance and Risk Management, Management, Marketing, Operations and Information Management, Business and Public Policy, or Statistics.
For more information, visit: https://undergrad-inside.wharton.upenn.edu/research/.
- Guidelines for Research in the Community
- Guidelines for Student Protection in Sponsored Research Projects
- Policy on Undergraduate Students, High School Students and Non-affiliates Participating in Research in Penn Research Facilities
- Procedures Regarding Misconduct in Research for Nonfaculty members of the Research Community