Undergraduate Research

The Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) defines undergraduate research as “an inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate that makes an intellectual or creative contribution to a discipline or disciplines.” Undergraduate Research (UR) is not restricted to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields, but embraces the arts and humanities.

Undergraduate research is beneficial across disciplines and faculty members working with undergraduates on research find the work productively challenging and intellectually invigorating. Undergraduate research is a “high impact practice” that more fully engages students in their own education.

Some of the benefits of Undergraduate Research to the student include:

  • Leadership capabilities
  • Active engagement
  • Experiences in independence and collaboration
  • The ability to handle uncertainty
  • A deeper understanding of the relevance of coursework
  • An appreciation for the value of the disciplinary literature
  • Critical thinking, inquiry, and analysis skills
  • Self-confidence in presenting one’s ideas to the community
  • Understanding how scholars do their work
  • Preparation for future academic pursuits, including graduate study
  • Mentorship and internship opportunities
  • Tolerance for obstacles

Multiple foundational courses exist at TCC to help a student begin a career of satisfying scholarship and research.

Find out which professors are offering research foundational or research-intensive courses.

Undergraduate Research Updates

Experiences from TCC NCUR Conference Attendees

Undergraduate Research for Faculty

Research Externship Applications Workshop WebSites

How to Ask a Professor for a Letter of Recommendation

  1. Ask the professor in person or via email at least three weeks in advance.
    • Remind the professor of your professional relationship. How do you know the professor?
    • Offer to bring materials to the professor’s office regarding the internship or job opportunity.
  2. Provide the professor with a “brag sheet” or a “cheat sheet” of items within the field of interest that separate you from other applicants at a minimum of two weeks in advance.
    • Provide the application deadline and the address of the institution and to whom the letter should be addressed
    • Provide your personal contact details, so that the professor might contact you with questions
    • List specifics instances of your assistance in the progression of the class topic
    • Describe your reasons for wanting the internship or job
    • Assist the professor in providing information that reinforces all that you have claimed to be in your application
    • Describe your understanding of the work that you will be doing
    • Provide your resume, a copy of your statement of purpose, and your grade transcripts
    • Describe your future plans with your intentions on the job site and your career goals
  3. Thank the professor in advance for the request.
  4. Send a friendly reminder a week before the letter is due.
  5. Send a thank-you note to the professor for the time spent writing the letter.