Undergraduate Research Opportunities

In simplest terms, research is searching for and gathering information, usually to answer a particular question or address a problem. Research projects of various types and complexity are an integral part of the college experience and offer you the opportunity to learn a valuable set of skills.

What Is Research?

research is a process of systematic inquiry that entails collection of data, documentation of critical information, and analysis and interpretation of that data/information, in accordance with suitable methodologies set by specific professional fields and academic disciplines (majors).

Research is conducted to test the validity of a hypothesis or an interpretive framework, to assemble a body of substantive knowledge and findings, and to generate questions for further inquiries.

Are Research Opportunities Available to Undergraduate Students at Portland State Unviersity?

Yes. Many majors, from Anthropology to Physics, Computer Science to Sociology, Biology to Social Work, and more, offer undergraduate students opportunities to conduct research in the classroom, the lab, or in the field. For information about research opportunities within a specific major, contact the major’s department office.

Portland State University also offers undergraduate students access to research opportunities through several programs highlighted below.


Do you want the opportunity to solve health problems through innovative research? BUILD EXITO is a program designed to support undergraduate students who are interested in pursuing research careers in biomedical, behavioral, clinical, health, and social sciences. www.pdx.edu/exito

The Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation

The Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation is dedicated to supporting the success of underrepresented Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) majors. The program provides research opportunities, mentorships, activities, events, and opportunities to students at Portland State University and Portland Community College. www.pdx.edu/lsamp

The Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program

The Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program works with motivated and talented undergraduates who want to pursue Ph.D. degrees. It introduces juniors and seniors who are first-generation, low-income, and/or members of underrepresented groups to academic research and to effective strategies for getting into and graduating from Ph.D. programs. www.pdx.edu/mcnair-program

Research Experiences for Undergraduates

The Research Experiences for Undergraduates program provides students the opportunity to perform research in a working scientific lab and to facilitate interaction between undergraduates and faculty advisors in fields including Chemistry, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Geology, Mechanical Engineering, Biology, Environmental Science, and Physics. www.pdx.edu/reu

Maseeh College of Engineering & Computer Science Undergraduate Research & Mentoring Program

The Undergraduate Research and Mentoring Program funds paid undergraduate research opportunities for students majoring in all Maseeh College undergraduate disciplines: Civil Engineering, Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Environmental Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering. Additional opportunities may be available to students majoring in Chemistry and Physics.