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Getting Funded

One common question students have about undergraduate research is how is it going to be funded. The fact is, research is costly. Research takes a lot of time and a lot of work, and in some cases some very expensive equipment. That being said, the vast majority of research that undergraduates conduct at Vanderbilt is funded in some way. Here is an outline of funding at Vanderbilt:

Research Grant Funding: Much of the funding that goes to research at Vanderbilt is provided to faculty members in the form of grants. Much of that grant money goes into hiring students to help conduct research. If this is the case, whether a student is hired and whether a student is paid depends on the discretion of the professor. Professors will generally hire as many students as their grant money can support.

Departmental Funding: If you are one of those students who is thinking of doing an independent project, you may be eligible for departmental funding to support your research. Many departments will have applications that can be submitted in which you outline your proposal. This is more common for students conducting research for an honors thesis or who are continuing a research project from the summer.

Summer Opportunities: Vanderbilt University offers funded research opportunities for selected applicants. The two major sources of institutional summer research funding are the Vanderbilt Undergraduate Summer Research Program and the Vanderbilt University School of Engineering summer program.  Both of these programs require undergraduate students to submit a research proposal with a faculty member, and selected students are given a stipend to conduct their research over the summer. In addition to these summer opportunities offered by Vanderbilt University, other sources of summer research may be found through the Office of Honor Scholarships.  The Office of Honors Scholarships keeps a database of summer research opportunities, many of them funded, at other institutions and organizations.

Additionally, Vanderbilt students in the College of Arts and Sciences should consult the academic resources page and students in the School of Engineering should consult the Undergraduate Resources Guide for additional information about funding opportunities in these schools.