As a leading research institution, Michigan State University offers a breadth of options to actively engage students in their education. Through undergraduate research and creative activities, students work closely with accomplished scholars to gain in-depth knowledge about their fields of study and to apply classroom learning to real-life situations.
The MSU Undergraduate Research Program strives to increase opportunities for MSU students to engage in scholarship, to expand the pool of faculty and partners engaging undergraduate students in their scholarly work, and to increase understanding of the impact of this engagement on student learning and retention. Using a multifaceted approach, we capitalize on the strengths of faculty and existing programs while offering new opportunities commensurate with the culture and research methodologies of different academic disciplines.
Some students engage in research as part of classroom experience, for example in research seminars, independent studies, or capstone projects, while other students participate in specially designed, noncredit programs outside of the classroom, perhaps as professorial assistants or in a college’s own program. Many more students gain research experiences outside of class and work as research assistants.
There are 239 courses listed in the MSU Undergraduate Course Catalog containing “research” or “research methods” in the course description. A quarter of MSU seniors reported in the 2007 National Survey of Student Engagement that they worked on a research project with a faculty member outside of class. For the past five years, approximately $500,000 has been committed annually to expand MSU’s undergraduate research program. With Office of the Provost support and their own funding, colleges reported supporting research by 341 students in 2010–11.