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.
Undergraduate research exists in every college and department at Texas A&M, even in those that have no undergraduate majors. 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.
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.
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.
Faculty and staff who host summer undergraduate research experiences should contact the LAUNCH: UGR office at email@example.com to receive updates on the REU and SURE Coordination Meeting in February and listserv.
Faculty and staff should plan to participate in the LAUNCH: UGR Undergraduate Research Expo in the fall. Request a table, participate in a panel or workshop, and join us for networking.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Human Subjects: Institutional Review Board (IRB)
Vertebrate Animals: Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)
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.
All undergraduate students who are participating in internally funded research, gift-funded research, or externally funded sponsored research must complete the CITI RCR training within 60 days from their initial involvement in the research activity, unless required earlier. Visit the VPR's website for more guidance.