Frequently Asked Questions                 
  1. Why should I conduct a research or creative activity?
  2. Who is eligible to conduct an undergraduate research project or creative activity?
  3. What are research or creative opportunities? What are some examples?
  4. When should I start and how long should I do research?
  5. I am a transfer student; do I have time to do a research or creative project?
  6. How do I know if I have enough time to commit to a project?
  7. How many hours should I spend a week on a project?
  8. Who can be a faculty mentor?
  9. Can I have more than one mentor?
  10. How do I know if I am ready to meet with a potential faculty mentor?
  11. Are all of the on-campus opportunities listed on the UROP Web site?
  12. Can I sign up for academic credit?
  13. Does the project have to be conducted on the UCI campus?
  14. What if I want to discontinue my project?




Why should I conduct a research or creative activity?
There are numerous benefits to research, including but not limited to:

  • Drawing conclusions, critical analysis, and problem solving skills
  • Developing communication skills and working independently
  • Understanding and applying research methods, ethics, and conduct rules
  • Understanding the link between academics and other careers
  • Learning to use technology and computer programs
  • Learning to think in innovative and creative ways
  • Working successfully with a diverse group of people


Who is eligible to conduct an undergraduate research project or creative activity?

Any undergraduate from any discipline and any level can pursue a research or creative project. It's never too early or too late to get involved with research.


What are research or creative opportunities? What are some examples?
Research and creative projects are diligent and studious searches for new discoveries or innovative interpretations. Research takes many forms, and can be conducted in any discipline, no matter if your interest is art, dance, music, biology, medicine, composition, social science, etc. Students need to identify their area of interest and then explore the opportunities that are available in that area. Here are some examples:

  • Laboratory Projects
  • Literature Review and Analysis
  • Artistic Projects or Performances
  • Design Projects
  • Experiential/Field Studies
  • Scholarly Work in Humanities/Social Sciences
  • Senior Thesis/Term Papers
  • Clinical Projects
  • Surveys/Psychology Experiments


When should I start and how long should I do research?

There really is no right time—it’s whenever you have an interest. Be sure you have done your homework, you have the time, and a faculty member is willing to mentor your project. Typically a research project lasts one year, but some students spend more than two years working on a project.


I am a transfer student; do I have time to do a research or creative project?

Yes! We look forward to welcoming you to UCI and strongly encourage all transfer students to conduct research or creative activities. We recommend that you start by identifying your interests and searching for potential faculty mentors before you arrive at UCI. As a transfer student, your time at UCI is limited so it is important that you see a UROP Undergraduate Research Counselor as soon as possible so that she/he can guide you in finding the right opportunity and faculty mentor. Also, since one of the requirements to participate in one of our summer programs is that you must be a returning student, if you will only be here for two years, your only chance to participate in a summer program will be the summer between your first and second year at UCI. Taking this into consideration, it is important that you start identifying a project and a faculty mentor as soon as possible.


How do I know if I have enough time to commit to a project?

Be realistic with your commitments, taking into consideration your coursework, leisure activities, and possible employment. Remember that some projects can be more intensive than others, so you should seek an opportunity that complements your interests and time schedule without overextending yourself.


How many hours should I spend a week on a project?
Discuss this with your mentor. Typically, for every unit of an independent research course you are enrolled in, you would be expected to spend about three to four hours a week. Once you commit to a project, make sure you give it the time it deserves.


Who can be a faculty mentor?
Faculty mentors must be members of the UCI Academic Senate.


Can I have more than one mentor?

Yes. Make sure they are aware of each other and that you have discussed this arrangement with both.


How do I know if I am ready to meet with a potential faculty mentor?
Make sure you are well prepared. Once you have some topics in mind and have identified a potential faculty mentor or you have found a project of interest in our on-campus opportunities listings, contact the professor by e-mail. Make sure you are familiar with the professor’s work before you compose the e-mail. For example, read their faculty profile and articles they have written in journals or find out what they have written or performed. If possible, attend one of their lectures, performances, or productions. This will give you an idea of the type of research they have done. This will also show the faculty member how committed you are to research in general. We have provided a sample e-mail to use as a guide; personalize it to highlight your own strengths and weaknesses. When you meet your potential faculty mentor in person, be on time, dress properly, answer questions honestly, have questions ready for them, and thank them for their time. It is between you and the potential faculty mentor to decide if your interests match for a research or creative project. After the initial visit, it is also up to you and your faculty mentor to discuss project details and related expectations.


Are all of the on-campus opportunities listed on the UROP Web site?
No. The opportunities listed in the Web site have been submitted by faculty to UROP. We recommend that you still review the faculty profiles (www.faculty.uci.edu) and contact your faculty of choice.


Can I sign up for academic credit?

Yes. Discuss this option with your faculty mentor.


Does the project have to be on the UCI campus?
No. There are many off-campus opportunities, available at other campuses, with corporations and institutions, and even abroad.


What if I want to discontinue my project?
Meet and discuss this with your faculty mentor first. If the project is supported by SURP/UROP, then send an e-mail to Said Shokair, UROP Director, and explain your situation in detail.




For any other questions, please contact the UROP Office.

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