Students in the Rausser College of Natural Resources have many opportunities to work with our outstanding faculty on research projects. Research enhances student scholarship and provides participants with invaluable skills and experience. The College offers a range of opportunites suited for the novice and advanced undergraduate researcher, including financial support generously provided by alumni and friends to assist with research costs and travel.
One of the most common questions asked of advisors is, "How do I find a lab where I can do research as an undergraduate?"
Read our 10 Tips to Find a Position in a Research Lab and see the below opportunities:
Independent Study and Research Units
Students may earn academic credit for independent research completed under the guidance of a faculty member. Whether you are participating in SPUR, URAP, or other eligible research, you may enroll in a departmental 99 or 199 independent study course to obtain academic credit during the fall, spring, and summer terms for the research you complete under the guidance of a faculty sponsor. Meet with your undergraduate staff advisor to find out about any other departmental requirements regarding independent study for your major.
The number of units you can earn for your 99 or 199 independent course study depends on the amount of research you conduct on a weekly basis (3 hours/week = 1 unit). The grading option is P/NP only. To receive academic credit for your research, you must first identify a Rausser faculty member who will supervise you for on-campus research, and then submit a completed Application for Independent Study and Research Units to the appropriate undergraduate advisor for the department. You must submit an application for each semester that you wish to receive independent study credit.
Sponsored Projects for Undergraduate Research (SPUR)
Sponsored Projects for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) is an in-house research program exclusively available to undergraduate students and faculty in the Rausser College of Natural Resources. SPUR encourages Rausser faculty and undergraduates to collaborate on research projects by providing a grant to support their joint project. The funding for this program is generously donated by alumni of the College.
Participating in SPUR is an excellent way for undergraduates to gain experience in research and build relationships with faculty. The program assists undergraduates seeking research experience by posting available opportunites at the beginning of each fall, spring, and summer term. Eligible students who have identified a project or topic that they would like to pursue are encouraged to seek a Rausser faculty mentor to assist them.
Rausser College Travel Grant
The Rausser College Travel Grant is designed to help students fund travel related to research and/or participation in conferences. To be eligible, applicants must be undergraduate students in the College, be in good academic standing, and have a faculty sponsor from within Rausser. Travel must take place while individuals are registered or continuing students. Grant amounts will depend on the location of the proposed travel, but will generally be no more than $400 for travel within California, up to $600 for travel elsewhere in North America, and up to $1,000 for international travel. Priority will be given to students conducting or presenting research.
The Office of Instruction and Student Affairs sponsors two poster sessions each year (fall and spring) at which Rausser College undergraduates present their research. Poster sessions provide students the opportunity to explain and showcase their independent projects to a large audience, as well as the opportunity to learn about the variety of research projects being conducted by other students.
The Rausser College of Natural Resources Honors Program is designed to support undergraduate students interested in developing, executing, and evaluating a year-long independent research project under the guidance of a faculty mentor.
Students who successfully complete the Honors Program will earn recognition at graduation and will also receive a notation of Honors in their major on their diploma. The Honors Symposium, held once each semester, gives all Honors students the opportunity to present their research to fellow students, faculty, Deans, friends, and family.