Undergraduate Research Opportunities
Mathematics research by undergraduates in the United States has gone from rare in the mid-1980s to commonplace now. Undergraduate contributions range from introductory to cutting edge, with occasional publications in prestigious professional journals. Now there are several undergraduate journals, Involve, Rose-Hulman, Minnesota, SIAM and Pi Mu Epsilon among them, containing significant results in all mathematical specialties.
These days undergraduate research experience is critical to being competitive for entrance into top graduate programs. Numerous summer programs are funded by the National Science Foundation and the Mathematics Association of America, among others. VCU also offers summer support through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program and Honors Summer Undergraduate Research Program, the latter available to Honors students only. These experiences are also highly valuable for employment at the plethora of national labs and federal agencies (including the National Security Agency, the largest employer of mathematicians in the world), as well as the huge array of technical companies in STEM industries like communications, biotech, information, finance, internet, pharmaceuticals, entertainment and more.
But there are other, more fundamental reasons to engage in mathematical research. Students often gain a greater understanding of how mathematics works in the modern world, a heightened facility with generating and analyzing data in any realm of life, an exuberance for group and solo problem solving that welcomes hard challenges, a stronger ability to communicate technical information and a deepened connection with fellow students and professors in the project.
Research Projects with Faculty
Research Experience for Undergraduates Program
Sponsored by the National Security Agency and the National Science Foundation
8-10 undergraduates will have a hands-on introduction to computational research endeavors and improve their problem-solving, communication and computer programming skills through our REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) Program. Selected students will receive a $4,800 stipend and will be funded to present their work at conferences.
Visit the REU page for full details and application information.
RAMS Conference at VCU
Sponsored by the National Science Foundation
This free conference promotes education and research in the fields of mathematics, applied mathematics, statistics and operation research. It is tailored for undergraduate and graduate students to present results of their research.
Visit the RAMS Conference page for full details and submission information.
Students have a number of opportunities to participate in cutting edge research. Many of these opportunities, see below, are offered in the summer. Though if you are interested please feel free to seek out a faculty member to ask if they have any opportunities beyond these listed or whether they might be interested in participating in these.
- Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program: This is a summer VCU program that involves an application process that you complete with a faculty mentor. The application is typically due in early to mid-spring semester.
- Honors Summer Undergraduate Research Program: This is a summer VCU program for honors students. The descriptions for the projects usually come up in early spring. You must be an honors student.
- Research Experience for Undergraduates: This is a National Science Foundation program that has opportunities all over the nation.
- VCU Office of the Vice President For Research and Innovation: The VCU Strategic Research Priorities Plan seeks to enrich the human experience and advance human health and well-being through exceptionally creative, collaborative and community-engaged research.
- VCU Career Services Student Opportunity Center: A database for internships, scholarships, events, publishing and volunteering opportunities, funding and more.