Undergraduate Research

...until graduate school to conduct meaningful, hands-on research.

At Willamette University, we encourage you to explore your interests and build a valuable set of skills from your first year in college to your last.

We offer more than 75 competitive undergraduate research grants annually in all subject areas — from the arts to the natural sciences to the humanities — plus at least 16 opportunities to collaborate with faculty on their grant-funded research.

These programs provide you with the problem-solving, project design and communication experience you need to find success in internships, careers, fellowships and graduate school.


“Participating in the Science Collaborative Research Program the summer after my freshman year was a fantastic educational experience. Conducting scientific research early in my college career allowed me to pursue other opportunities later on. The strong science education I received at Willamette made me more competitive for national fellowships and helped me get into the University of Chicago’s PhD program in molecular biosciences.”

— Tyler Starr, biology and biochemistry major

J. Seward

“Willamette gave me the chance to explore my passions through study and research abroad, like my project in Mexico researching the effects of microcredit lending on women’s empowerment. These opportunities helped me earn an IDEX Fellowship in Social Enterprise. Willamette has been instrumental in supporting my pursuit of a career in international development.”

— Jenny Seward, Spanish and international studies major


“My Fulbright grant to Chile allowed me to take university classes and conduct independent research on government incentives that encourage sustainable farming practices. The connections I developed will be invaluable for my future career: working for a nonprofit or government organization that helps establish sustainable food security.”

— Randall Cass, international studies major


Student Scholarship Recognition Day

We believe that the problemsolving, critical-thinking and presentation skills gained from research and creative projects are so important that we cancel classes for a day to allow students to present their work to the campus community. Their classmates and professors pack the audience.

Science Collaborative Research Program

  • Students participate in collaborative summer research with natural sciences faculty
  • Students receive a stipend, food allowance and money for research expenses
  • Students present their findings with an on-campus oral presentation and a poster display at a regional undergraduate research conference

Carson Undergraduate Research Grants

  • Sophomores and juniors conduct a summer independent project
  • About ten grants of up to $3,000 are available annually
  • Projects may be artistic, literary, investigative, interdisciplinary or performance-based
  • Students present their work on campus during the fall semester

College Colloquium Student Research Grants

  • Freshmen earn up to $3,500 for a summer research or creative project
  • Projects relate to the students’ first-year College Colloquium course topic
  • Students present their work on campus during the fall and spring semesters

Liberal Arts Research Collaborative

  • Students collaborate on summer research with faculty in the arts, humanities and social sciences
  • At least 12 professors and 18 undergraduates receive stipends to work in research teams
  • Students make on-campus oral presentations about their research during the fall semester

Presidential Scholarship

  • One or two juniors annually receive $2,500 for summer research projects that extend into their senior year
  • Recipients also earn a waiver of one semester’s tuition for senior year or a $5,000 graduate fellowship
  • Projects may extend students’ senior theses or allow them to pursue independent work

iHuman Sciences Initiative

  • Students collaborate with faculty on research that ties exercise science or psychology to other disciplines
  • Projects are open to any discipline, but must involve collaborating faculty from psychology or exercise science
  • Research can be conducted during the summer or the academic year
  • Students and faculty present their research on campus and at a regional or national conference

Center for Ancient Studies and Archaeology

  • Promotes research and interest in archaeology and ancient civilizations
  • Study Abroad Grants: up to $3,000 to study abroad in a program focusing on ancient history, languages and civilizations
  • Field School Grants: $2,500 grants to participate in summer archaeological field schools, excavation or survey projects worldwide
  • Paid Summer Internship in Museology: $2,500 to intern at Willamette’s Hallie Ford Museum of Art, which houses major collections in regional, Native American, European and Asian art
  • Grants for Advanced Training in Ancient Languages: up to $2,500 for summer coursework at other institutions in ancient languages or disciplines related to the ancient world

Center for Asian Studies

  • Supports projects on Asian or Asian-American studies
  • Summer research grants: collaborative faculty student research projects related to Asian studies, initiated either by the student or the professor, usually involving travel to an Asian country
  • Summer intensive language program: up to $3,000 for summer language study at institutions in Asia or the U.S., or to participate in Asian-related conferences

Other Collaboration with Faculty

Willamette faculty currently hold more than $3 million in outside research grants that allow 125 undergraduates to collaborate with them on projects. Topics include:

  • The effects of heat stress on plant growth and cell division
  • Ecological restoration at Willamette’s Zena Forest
  • Diaspora-driven health development in Africa
  • Immigration policy and Oregon Latino services
  • Sixth-graders’ coping responses to bullying

National Fellowships

The research and creative experiences you gain in Willamette’s programs will make you a stronger candidate for national grants and fellowships. These competitive awards provide money for tuition, research, internships and study abroad.

Winners in the Past Five Years

  • Fulbright Grants: 15
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research
  • Fellowships: 8
  • James S. Kemper Scholarships: 6
  • NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships: 4
  • Harry S. Truman Scholarships: 3
  • Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships: 2
  • Hertz Foundation Graduate Fellowship: 1

Have more questions regarding research at Willamette?

Whether you’re starting from the beginning and want to find out why research is valuable and how to get involved, or you are ready for the next step and are searching for the best research awards or fellowships for you, we’re here to help.

We’ll introduce you to the opportunities available through both Willamette and through national organizations. We’ll also help you fine-tune your applications for the programs you want to pursue.

Student Academic Grants and Awards