Undergraduate Student Research Opportunities

Research Office

Undergraduate Student Research Opportunities

Are you curious? Interested in research? Exploring the unknown and making discoveries?

research lab - undergraduate work

Undergraduate students at Montana Tech have many opportunities to engage deeply in several types of diverse experiences that help prepare them for success in their careers. Undergraduate research—nationally recognized as a high-impact practice—is particularly strong on campus.  Led by a committee of faculty members from many disciplines, Montana Tech’s undergraduate research program offers several ways for students—from freshmen to seniors—to get involved, collaborate with faculty, and make discoveries that advance the frontiers of knowledge and technology. The Research Office manages the program and supports the faculty committee. The URP provides only one avenue for students to participate in research.  Other avenues include joining a funded research project, working for the on-campus Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology (MBMG), or working for Montana Tech’s Center for Advanced Materials Processing (CAMP), or conducting research and preparing a senior thesis. Montana Tech also encourages students interested in research or graduate school to spend a summer doing research on campus or at another university or major research laboratory as a paid participant in a summer Research Experiences for Undergraduate (REU) program.  Montana Tech’s URP students also have opportunities to present their results at regional, national, and international conferences.

The Undergraduate Research Program has three types of opportunities: traditional academic year undergraduate research in collaboration with a faculty member (URP); faculty-mentored and designed research project for a team of freshmen and sophomores (RAMP); and the paid Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF). All of these options are available both to students interested in research and in those whose projects would be public health internships (PHI).  These opportunities are described below. Please contact the URP committee at urp@mtech.edu with any questions.

Traditional Undergraduate Research Program

The Traditional Undergraduate Research Program (URP) provides opportunities for students to collaborate with a faculty member to do specific research projects during the academic year for a scholarship and for academic credit. The student writes and submits the proposal, which is reviewed by the faculty URP committee. It is essential to meet with the faculty member, who would mentor the project. to do specific research projects they are interested in for academic credit and a scholarship during the academic year. Students present their results in a talk at the Montana Academy of Sciences annual meeting in April. Many students also present their results at other conferences.


The next call for proposals will be Spring 2021, for projects to be conducted during academic year 2021/22.

Undergraduate students wishing to participate in the Undergraduate Research Program must submit a proposal. For more information on submitting proposals, please visit the program guidelines and application page.

Each full-time student participating for the full academic year will receive a $1,500 scholarship, with half provided at the start of the fall semester and half provided at the start of the spring semester.  For purposes of the awards, research is broadly defined and may include investigations of a cultural or historical question, documentary or production arts, as well as laboratory or field research more typically associated with the science or engineering disciplines. Students must be in good academic standing. Bachelor’s-degree-seeking students must be enrolled in at least 12 credits plus at least 1 URP credit to be eligible. Students in associate’s degree programs must be enrolled in 9 credits plus 1 URP credit. The scholarship amount will be pro-rated for associate’s-degree students, who are enrolled in fewer than 12 credits of courses.

Please note: students should develop their proposals with the assistance of their Research Supervisor/Mentor. The Proposal must follow the guidelines.

Research Assistant Mentorship Program (RAMP)

The Research Assistant Mentorship Program (RAMP) is designed to fund small research teams consisting of faculty and two to four undergraduates (primarily freshmen and sophomores) to do research for a semester. The faculty mentor writes and submits the proposal. Undergraduates to be funded do not have to be identified prior to submitting the proposal. Students will present results via a team poster at Montana Tech’s TechXpo in late April and be funded to attend the Montana Academy of Sciences annual meeting in early April. They may present the poster also at the Montana Academy of Sciences meeting, if desired.

The proposals for spring 2021 projects are due November 20, 2020 at noon.

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program

The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program is designed to provide an intensive, in-depth summer research experience to a small number of Montana Tech undergraduate students. Proposals are written and submitted by the faculty mentor. Projects span 9-10 summer weeks, with students working full time (40 hours per week) or half time (20 hours per week, for a proportionally reduced stipend). SURF students participate in five lunch-time professional development workshops over the summer and present a poster at Montana Tech’s SURF symposium in early August. Individual and small-team projects are allowed.

The next SURF call for proposals is expected in spring 2021 for projects to be conducted during summer 2021.

Public Health Internships (PHI)

Undergraduate students may also engage in public health internships under the auspices of URP. Proposals are submitted at the same time and in the same manner as for research projects. The review process, eligibility requirements, scholarship amounts, and stipends are the same as for undergraduate research projects.

Additional Research Opportunities

Some Montana Tech faculty have received funded research grants through various external agencies and many include undergraduate students as hourly employees on these projects. Talk to faculty in your department, CAMP, MBMG, or in the department doing the kind of research you are interested in to find out what opportunities are available.

In addition, many universities and federal laboratories host undergraduate research programs, often called “Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU).” The November to February time frame is when these host sites invite applications. The links below, many others, and those of the professional society for your discipline will have current information, as will Montana Tech’s Career Services Office.