Undergraduate Research at Elon University

The Undergraduate Research Program at Elon University was established to provide students with the opportunity to join faculty in scholarly activities. Scholarship by faculty members can enrich their interactions with students who are participating in this process. It also enhances the faculty members’ connections to their own disciplines and energizes their other instructional activities. Participation in undergraduate research is also effective for improving student learning, especially those projects which are collaborative, investigative, project-based, inquiry-based, open-minded, and exploratory.

Elon was ranked #4 for Undergraduate Research/Creative Projects in the 2020 Best Colleges rankings by the U.S. News & World Report.

  • Each April, the university community gathers to celebrate undergraduate research during the annual Spring Undergraduate Research Forum (SURF).
  • The Undergraduate Research Program supports students wishing to present their research beyond Elon, including at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research (NCUR) and other discipline-specific or professional conferences.
  • Students also may participate in Elon’s Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE), which offers intensive experiences led by faculty mentors.
  • In response to the shift to remote learning in spring 2020, Elon launched an online Celebration of Undergraduate Research to showcase the work of students and their mentors.
  • Find out which faculty are currently accepting undergraduate researchers by clicking here.

For more information regarding undergraduate research and funding opportunities, please contact Dr. Meredith Allison, Director of Undergraduate Research.

What is undergraduate research?

The Council on Undergraduate Research defines “undergraduate research” as “an inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline.”

The Elon Undergraduate Research Program Advisory Committee expanded this definition in 2006 to clearly indicate the role and importance of faculty mentoring in the undergraduate research process:

Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors include activities undertaken by an undergraduate student with significant faculty mentoring that:

  1. Lead to new scholarly insights and/or creation of new works;
  2. Add to the discipline; and
  3. involve critical analysis of the process and/or outcome of the activities.

Quality undergraduate research and creative activity result in a product that has potential for peer-reviewed dissemination in the form of presentations, publications, exhibitions or performances. This definition underlies the decisions made with regard to grants, scholarships and fellowships. It is not expected that all undergraduate research result in peer-reviewed dissemination, rather that the endeavor has that potential.