Undergraduate Research

Student explaining his project

The Undergraduate Research Program encompasses independent scholarly activity by students in the arts, humanities, and sciences. Driven by the many opportunities for interaction between students and faculty, undergraduate research at MCLA has expanded dramatically in recent years. The program supports students with independent study opportunities in many disciplines, small Research and Travel Grants, and a dynamic campus-wide Undergraduate Research Conference (URC) for presenting their work.

Beyond the campus, MCLA is a proud member of COPLAC, the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges. Each fall MCLA students join with peers from other schools in the Northeast to present at the regional COPLAC Undergraduate Research Conference

In addition to these opportunities, MCLA students also participate in the Massachusetts Statewide Undergraduate Research Conference, held each year in Amherst and the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR); in April, nine MCLA students will present their work at NCUR 2017, hosted by the University of Memphis in Tennessee.


For more information, click on the links on this page or contact Dr. Jenna Sciuto, Chair of Undergraduate Research or Dr. Anna Jaysane-Darr, Associate Chair of Undergraduate Research.


NEW UR Policies

IRB/IACUC for MiniGrants
Any student or group of students working with human (IRB) or vertebrate animal (IACUC) research subjects must obtain IRB/IACUC approval in advance of submitting a proposal for an Undergraduate Research MiniGrant. IRB/IACUC applications must be submitted by the faculty sponsor of the research to the appropriate group at least 1 month prior to the MiniGrant deadline to ensure enough time for IRB/IACUC to read and make their decision on the proposed research. Applications and submission instructions can be obtained for their groups through the Chairperson or Academic Affairs. Upon approval the submitting faculty mentor will receive a 6-digit approved proposal number. This number should be provided to students so it may be included on the MiniGrant proposal form.

IRB/IACUC for URC
Any student or group of students working with human (IRB) or vertebrate animal (IACUC) research subjects must obtain IRB/IACUC approval in advance of submitting an abstract to the Undergraduate Research Conference. IRB/IACUC applications must be submitted by the faculty sponsor of the research to the appropriate group at least 1 month prior to the URC abstract submission deadline. Applications and submission instructions can be obtained for their groups through the Chairperson or Academic Affairs. Upon approval the submitting faculty mentor will receive a 6-digit approved proposal number. This number should be provided to students so it may be included on the MiniGrant proposal form.

Faculty/Student Conference Awards
Faculty that wish to take students to a discipline specific conference may apply for a Faculty/Student Undergraduate Research Travel Grant. This grant would provide up to $1500 for a faculty member to travel with two students to a conference or alternatively up to $1000 for travel with one student. Students are expected to participate in the conference (presentation, exhibit, or invited discussion). To apply faculty should submit a written proposal including: 1) the name of the conference, 2) dates of the conference, 3) the name of the students attending and presenting, 4) types of presentations the students will be making, including titles, and 5) a proposed budget for the faculty and students (including travel, accommodations, registration, and food; a travel request form can be used for the budget). Applications should be submitted to the Chair or Associate Chair of Undergraduate Research.