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FAQs - Undergraduate Research


LAUNCH is an acronym that stands for Learning Communities (L), Academic Excellence (A), Undergraduate Research (U), National Fellowships (N), Capstones (C), and Honors (H). LAUNCH is a unit of Undergraduate Studies housed in Academic Affairs under the Provost at Texas A&M University.

LAUNCH: Undergraduate Research is commonly shortened to “LAUNCH: UGR” in marketing materials.

LAUNCH: UGR promotes, coordinates, creates, and assesses undergraduate programs involving creative scholarship, inquiry, and research in all academic disciplines at Texas A&M.

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Phone: (979) 845-1957
Email: ugr@tamu.edu
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Website: ugr.tamu.edu
Twitter: @tamu_ugr

Yes, LAUNCH into Research is published quarterly. Subscribe today!

No, however, students participating in the Undergraduate Research Scholars (URS) thesis program have exclusive access to apply for a travel award or poster voucher to fulfill the presentation requirement for the program.

Students can use the Research Opportunities Database to search for internal and external funding.

Students are also encouraged to talk to members in their colleges and departments for additional opportunities.

About Undergraduate Research

There is substantial room for flexibility with research. At Texas A&M University, research opportunities are open to all undergraduates, and you do not have to be an honors student. Research is often a collaborative effort between undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty using an inquiry-based approach to generate new knowledge. As such, undergraduate research qualifies as a “high-impact practice,” providing students an opportunity to integrate, apply, and reflect on their knowledge. Research allows students to take learning beyond the classroom.
Students who participate in undergraduate research gain many skills that they might not otherwise acquire from classroom instruction:
  • Writing, data collection, and analysis
  • Teamwork, problem solving, time management, and effective communication
Undergraduate researchers gain a deeper understanding of their chosen field not only by actively participating in it, but through mentoring relationships with faculty and graduate students. 

Undergraduate research helps students clarify career goals by identifying passions and a better perspective on what it means to be a professional the field.

As a result, student researchers are more likely to be satisfied with their undergraduate education and continue on to graduate or professional school.  Research experience strengthens applications for graduate and professional schools, business, or industrial positions by expanding technical skills and professional knowledge, improving resumes/CVs, and providing opportunities for strong letters of recommendation. 

Finally, it can be a lot of fun. You generate new knowledge, meet interesting people, and undergraduate researchers generate new knowledge, meet interesting people, and they might even get paid for doing it.
Undergraduate research exists in every college and department at Texas A&M, even in those that have no undergraduate teaching programs, such as the Bush School or the Health Science Center. However, students are not always required to conduct research in their major department. Check with departmental advisors to verify degree requirements for undergraduate research. Students are encouraged to follow their passion and contact several faculty in their area of interest to explore opportunities.
There are many reasons why an undergraduate researcher might need training. You should have a conversation with your faculty advisor very early on in the design of your project to determine whether or not your project may require approval from the office of Research Compliance & Biosafety (RCB). Additional trainings may be required depending on the nature of your project.
The office of Research Compliance and Biosafety (RCB) is responsible for providing training and support to faculty, students, and staff in regulatory requirements for research. RCB provides administrative and operational support for Texas A&M’s research compliance review committees as well as other research compliance programs designated at the university.

Projects may require approval through Research Compliance and Biosafety committees if they involve:
  1. Human Subjects: Institutional Review Board (IRB)
  2. Vertebrate Animals: Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)
  3. Biohazards: Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)
Note: Please be aware that if you are using social media and/or online content, you may be subject to review by the Institutional Review Board (IRB).
There is no “honors thesis,” however, students participating in an honors program can use their Undergraduate Research Scholars (URS) thesis as their capstone experience. The URS thesis is open to any undergraduate student regardless of whether s/he participates in the University Honors Program, or departmental or college honors programs.
It may be possible to earn honors credit for undergraduate research. Speak to your college, departmental, or University Honors advisors for details.
A capstone is defined as a year-long integrative experience that allows students to combine their career goals, majors, and interests in faculty-mentored independent projects that focus on leadership, research, community service, or teaching. Students in honors programs can use the LAUNCH Undergraduate Research Scholars (URS) thesis program to fulfill their capstone requirement, or apply for a departmental capstone. Students should consult with their departmental and honors advisors to determine additional requirements and/or eligibility for capstone experiences.
Yes, if you are participating in the Undergraduate Research Scholars (URS) thesis program. Be advised that you cannot complete the URS program off cycle and you must register and complete the UGST 405 Thesis Writing Course.

If you do not pass the UGST 405 course with a Satisfactory grade, it could impact your graduation.

If you miss a URS program mandatory event or submission deadline without a university-excused absence you will no longer be able to complete the URS program, which therefore could impact your graduation.

If you are participating in the URS program and/or the UGST 405 Course as your writing-intensive (W) course, this could impact your graduation. Speak to your deparmental advisor if you have concerns about using the URS program to substitute for your senior design.
Students need to speak to their faculty advisors as well as departmental advisors to open a research section or a 291/491 course. 491 courses can be 0 credit or variable credit, and may carry either a letter grade or S/U designation. Students should consult Scholarships & Financial Aid to determine if registration in a research course affects financial aid packages or any scholarships.
  1. Faculty are encouraged to submit undergraduate research opportunities to the hosted by LAUNCH: UGR.
  2. Subscribe to the LAUNCH into Research quarterly newsletter to receive updates. Contact the LAUNCH: UGR office to let us know if we can feature your program and student successes.
  3. Faculty and staff who host summer undergraduate research experiences should contact the LAUNCH: UGR office at ugr@tamu.edu to receive updates on the REU and SURE Coordination Meeting in February and listserv.
  4. Faculty and staff should plan to participate in the LAUNCH: UGR in the fall. , participate in a panel or workshop, and join us for networking.
  5. Encourage students to submit to Explorations: the Texas A&M Undergraduate Journal or apply to join the editorial board or design team.