Student Research Programs at VCU

Note: each of the programs below has its own application requirements. Please follow the links to determine your possible eligibility and specific contact and application procedures.

Undergraduate Research and Creative Scholarship Summer Fellowship Program
Each year, the university and the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program offer a scholarship program for students interested in earning money in the summer doing serious work engaged in active learning. Full-time VCU Freshman, Sophomores, and Juniors in all majors are welcome to apply.

Global Education Office (GEO) Undergraduate Research Fellowships
For the summer the Global Education Office will fund three unique undergraduate fellowship awards for research projects, mentored by VCU faculty. Research proposals should show evidence of significant engagement with a culture originating from outside of the US that is different from the applicant’s native culture.

Undergraduate Fellowship for Clinical and Translational Research
For the summer the VCU Center for Clinical and Translational Research will fund one undergraduate research fellowship award for a clinical translational research project focused on human health and mentored by a VCU faculty member.

Undergraduate Fellowships for Community Engaged Research
The Division of Community Engagement will fund undergraduate community-engaged research fellowship awards for research projects mentored by VCU faculty and carried out in collaboration with a community partner.

Undergraduate Research Fellowship for Inclusive Excellence
The VCU Division for Inclusive Excellence will fund two undergraduate research fellowship awards for a faculty-mentored research project focused on “diversity” as it relates to ideas, cultures, backgrounds and experiences. Successful proposals must discuss how the project will increase the student researcher’s knowledge, skills and experience related to the social, economic, political and historical significance of particular differences. This project may investigate diversity through the lens of gender, race/ethnicity, religion, socio-economic status, disabilities and/or international issues.

For tips on finding a faculty mentor, see PREPARING YOURSELF FOR UNDERGRADUTE RESEARCH. Also, check the UROP Blog for regularly offered workshops on contacting potential research mentors.

Research Opportunities through VCU Spit4Science
Become a part of the research team! We have a team of undergraduates who help with running the project. This includes handing out brochures about the project, talking to students and various organizations about the study, hanging flyers and banners, directing students to the payment collection area, following-up on participation rates, etc. In addition, students are involved in helping create and distribute newsletters with results, and running basic analyses of the data. This is a great opportunity for students who want to go on to graduate or medical school and want research experience. Students can sign up for research credit when they are part of the research team. For more information, contact the research team at

Bridges to the Baccalaureate
The Dream-to-Goal (DTG) Summer Research Program is designed for motivated community-college students who are interested in exploring research careers in the biomedical and behavioral sciences. This program will equip you with hands-on laboratory skills, provide research experience, and prepare you for success when you transfer to a four-year college or university, and beyond.

VCU IMSD Scholars Program
The VCU Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity is a biomedical research training program for undergraduate students interested in biomedical research.

VCU-IMSD scholars participate in research internships in the summers following their freshman and sophomore years and during their junior and senior academic years. Scholars also enroll in a series of courses that help develop their skills in biomedical research, critical thinking, problem solving, and written and oral communication. The VCU-IMSD program also offers specialized career counseling, assistance with graduate school applications, and a Graduate Record Examination (GRE) preparation course, as well as the opportunity to attend national scientific conferences. Paid research internships are available for select scholars.

Post-baccalaureate Research Year
The Post-baccalaureate Research Experience Program is a one-year biomedical research training program for recent college graduates from underrepresented groups considering graduate-level training in the biomedical sciences. The program provides scholars with a year-long, paid, mentored research experience and the opportunity to develop technical and critical-thinking skills.

PREP scholars receive competitive stipends in the amount of $20,772 for the year. At the end of the program, they will have the skills needed to successfully compete for admission into a biomedical Ph.D. program at VCU or another institution.

The PREP program requires completion of the online application, two reference letters from faculty members and an official academic transcript from your university or college.

Summer Academic Enrichment Program
The Summer Academic Enrichment Program is an intensive, six-week interprofessional academic enrichment program designed to enhance the academic preparation of junior and senior undergraduate students, as well as post-baccalaureate students, who are actively pursuing enrollment in a health professions school. Students may choose a concentration from among four disciplines: dentistry, medicine, pharmacy and physical therapy.

Summer Residential Governor’s School for Life Sciences and Medicine
High school juniors and seniors spend a total of four weeks at Virginia Commonwealth University discovering the newly emerging fields and advancements that will revolutionize health care and life sciences in the 21st century. Governor’s School students will experience three modules: clinical, molecular and environmental science. For the final week, students will work in groups on a project in one of the three areas. During the four-week program, students and staff live on-site at VCU as they explore and develop ideas and data together.

Virginia Nebraska Alliance
The Virginia-Nebraska Alliance (The Alliance) is a unique partnership between unlikely partners to address the national need to diversify the healthcare and research workforce. The Alliance was formed in September 2004 between the five Historically Black Colleges/Universities (HBCUs) within Virginia: J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, the University of Nebraska Medical Center(UNMC) and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). In 2006 The Alliance welcomed the University of Richmond (UofR), the University of Virginia (UVA), and Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) as academic partners. This model partnership between academic health science centers and HBCUs can be replicated across the nation to find "missing persons" in healthcare and research professions. The Summer Medical and Dental Education Program is an Intensive academic science review, opportunities to interact with current graduate students, weekly clinical learning opportunities. Summer Research - VCU, UNMC, UVA, EVMS offers Full-time summer research experience, enrichment seminars, and poster presentation at end of summer.

HSURP Honors Summer Undergraduate Research Program
The Honors College cultivates a community of students and faculty focused on collaborative research that goes beyond the typical undergraduate experience. To that end, the Honors Summer Undergraduate Research Program is an opportunity for you to work one-on-one with a faculty mentor and participate in professional development workshops throughout the summer, as well as engage in research projects for independent study.

JACK’s Pediatric and Neonatal Summer Research
JACK’s Summer Scholars Program has a rich history of providing students with the opportunity to view the world of neonatology and pediatric subspecialties through clinical mentoring and research. Summer scholars have the opportunity to work with the neonatal team as they provide care and conduct research related to infant and maternal health. Specific emphasis is placed on developing an understanding of multidisciplinary hospital care. The program also enables participants to explore medical career opportunities in pediatric subspecialties such as general surgery, anesthesiology, neurosurgery and infectious diseases.

Phage Lab
Undergraduate research in bioinformatics at VCU starts freshmen year in the Phage Lab! This year-long course (BNFO 251/252) is the introductory biology laboratory for bioinformatics majors. In this course-based research experience, students discover and characterize their own virus (bacteriophage, or simply 'phage') from a soil sample. We sequence the genomes of some of those viruses, and then students learn the bioinformatics approach through examining the genes of sequenced phages and completing comparative genomics projects of their own design. If you're a transfer student or change of major and already completed your BIOZ 151/152 requirement, we encourage you to talk to us about whether you should enroll in BNFO 252 as an introduction to the major. You'll leave the Phage Lab with a solid set of microbiology, molecular biology and bioinformatics research skills, ready to enter into a faculty mentored research experience.

RAMS Undergraduate Research Scholars
The Research Alliance for Microbiome Science (RAMS) Undergraduate Scholars Program serves to develop the next generation of leaders in microbiome science by providing undergraduate students the opportunity to work on research projects with RAMS Registry investigators. The award is $1,500 for the 6-week program. The program is open to VCU undergraduates who are rising sophomores, juniors or seniors. Scholars will perform a research project in the Fettweis laboratory to characterize the role of bacterial species in the maternal microbiome.

Rice Center Summer Research Experience in Environmental Studies
The Rice Center for Environmental Life Sciences is soliciting graduate and undergraduate student research proposals that will advance the Rice Center’s mission in environmental science, health and education. Research grants up to $1,000 (undergraduate and graduate students) or $1,500 (Ph.D. students) may be used to purchase supplies and equipment, defray related travel expenses, and possibly to provide partial summer stipends. Eligible research activities are field studies conducted at the Rice Center property inclusive of the tidal James River, its tributaries, and associated riparian and upland landscapes in the vicinity of the Rice Center. Projects that involve nearby public lands owned by Rice Center partners, such as the USFWS and VDGIF, are also encouraged. Collaborative projects are encouraged and students may submit joint proposals.

VCUarts, Undergraduate Research Grants
Funding of $30,000 for Undergraduate Student Research Grants began five years ago with the purpose of encouraging curiosity, creativity, risk-taking and scholarly investigation into a project or subject of interest relevant to the student’s major. To date 50 big ideas have been funded at an average of $2,500 per proposal. Research and creative work that is: 1) interdisciplinary 2) involves student collaboration and 3) draws on the expertise of a faculty mentor is preferred.

VCU Center for the Study of Biological Complexity: Funded Summer Research
CSBC will fund one summer 2017 research stipend for an undergraduate enrolled in the bioinformatics program at VCU. This stipend will support one student to spend their summer investigating a project of their design.

Eligibility: Open to currently enrolled bioinformatics undergraduates receiving a Bachelors degree May 2018 or later.

Award: $3000 stipend.

Application: Your application should include these parts:

  1. a proposal describing your intended research project
  2. a letter of support from your research mentor
  3. a personal statement describing your past involvement in research
  4. a statement where you agree to submit a mid-term project report by August 15, 2017, and to present your work at a researchsymposium of your/your mentor's choosing (can simply include on the bottom of your cover page).
The proposal should be written by the student, with advice from the mentor. An example of a well-written Undergraduate research proposal is provided. Proposals submitted in reference to this summer research position will be submitted directly to us and evaluated independently from the VCU UROP Summer Undergraduate Fellowship program. You can apply to both programs! But, please do not apply for the CSBC summer research slot through the UROP fellowship process.

VCU da Vinci Center for Innovation
A collaboration of VCU’s Schools of the Arts, Business, Engineering and College of Humanities and Sciences, the VCU da Vinci Center is a unique collegiate model that advances innovation and entrepreneurship through interdisciplinary collaboration. Students participating in the da Vinci Center view innovation and entrepreneurship from multiple disciplinary perspectives, and thus, are prepared for the 21st Century workforce by more robustly approaching the innovation/entrepreneurship endeavor.

VCU Department of Physiology: Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP)
The duration of SURP in Physiology and Biophysics is 10 weeks, from early June to mid August. Students are expected to work full-time in the host lab. Support for living expenses will be provided by the program. During the summer, in addition to work in the host lab, students will interact with faculty members and graduate students in the department to acquaint themselves with various research opportunities, facilities and the general environment of the department. Mechanisms to encourage these interactions include: 1) a breakfast gathering once per week with scientific presentations from members of the Department or to present progress reports in the projects at the midpoint and end of the program and 2) social events for the students led by current PhD and MD/PhD candidates.

VCU Department of Psychology: Undergraduate Research
Much of the research VCU Psychology faculty conduct includes opportunities for majors to gain research experience and earn research internship credit. Students who register for PSYC 494 work with a faculty member on research, often as part of a team of undergraduate and graduate students. They may work on various phases of a research project (design, data collection, data entry, data analysis). This course is designed to enhance a psychology major's career pursuits for either graduate level training or post-baccalaureate employment. During Fall 2011, 142 undergraduate students actively participated in research with over 29 faculty members.

A list of opportunities is available in the undergraduate advising office on the first floor of 806 W. Franklin St. Permission of a faculty research supervisor must be obtained prior to registration. Prerequisites include PSY 214, 317, or permission of instructor.

VCU Engineering: Dean’s Undergraduate Research Initiative - DURI
Dean’s Undergraduate Research Initiative (DURI) aims to broaden the undergraduate student research experience and provide opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to develop skills in mentoring at the VCU College of Engineering under the leadership of our faculty. DURI invites undergraduate engineering students to apply for a one year fellowship, which will begin in the spring of 2014. DURI fellows will receive course credit for their spring semester research commitment (10-12 hours/week) and they will be expected to work full time during the summer semester (i.e., 40 hours/week) for which they will receive a $2,500 stipend. The one-year program will continue into the fall semester, and the stipend will be $1,500.

VCU College of Engineering: Vertically Integrated Projects
The Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) program provides undergraduate students the opportunity to participate in multiyear, multidisciplinary, team-based projects under the guidance of faculty and graduate students in their areas of expertise. Undergraduate students can earn technical elective or free elective course credits (depending on major) for working on specific research projects with other undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty, in their research labs. This is a valuable team-based learning experience on cutting-edge topics that will greatly enhance your resume when applying for jobs or graduate school.

VCU Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs: Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program
The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program provides an avenue for students to get hands-on experience in conducting research. As a UROP student, you can develop your own research project or partner on faculty-conducted research, which can lead to the development of governmental reports, conference presentations and publications in journals.


UROP Travel Grant Program
The Office of Undergraduate Research Opportunities provides support for undergraduates who present their research at regional, national and international scientific meetings. Participation at these conferences is an important opportunity for you to communicate your research to others in your field, network with undergraduate researchers and faculty, and expand your understanding of your field of research. To be eligible for a travel grant, you must present your research in either a poster or oral presentation, your name must appear in the conference abstract or proceedings, and VCU and the Office of Undergraduate Research Opportunities must be acknowledged.


Internships, Scholarships, and Fellowships through ORAU and ORISE.

Before applying for any of these awards, familiarize yourself with university procedures for responding to solicitations. Many of these opportunities must be submitted through the Office of Sponsored Programs. You should first speak with your mentor/advisor, fiscal administrator and Office of Sponsored Programs before submitting a grant application. The Associate/Assistant Dean for Research in your School/College can also be a resource for information.

We encourage you to visit the VCU National Scholarship Office website to find out more about opportunities for funded research scholarships.