Undergraduate Research Opportunities

The Jess and Mildred Fisher College of Science and Mathematics vigorously encourages and promotes research opportunities for its undergraduate majors in a wide variety of ways.

Research experiences are an important aspect of a well-rounded undergraduate education in the natural, computing and mathematical sciences. A wide variety of undergraduate research experiences, both at Towson University and nationwide, are available to our students. Faculty members in each of the five departments within the college — Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Computer and Information Sciences, Mathematics, and Physics, Astronomy & Geosciences — are actively engaged in research activities with both undergraduate and/or graduate students.

Undergraduate research experiences are supported through the Fisher College of Science and Mathematics Undergraduate Research Grant Program. Established in the fall of 1999, the college's Undergraduate Research Committee (FCSM URC) oversees a competitive process by which funds are made available to undergraduate students to facilitate their research efforts. The committee members award grants based on research proposals written by students and submitted in collaboration with a faculty research mentor.

Since 1999, the Undergraduate Research Grant Committee has funded many research projects. View grant recipients from the current academic year and from past years:

Undergraduate Research Application Form and Instructions (PDF)

Use of Research Funds: Research funds may be used for:

  • supplies, books, software, and equipment;
  • travel to and from an off-campus research site.

Funds may not be used for reimbursement for services. Any equipment purchased with these grant monies will remain the property of Towson University.

Budget requests of up to $700 will be considered.

Student Obligations and Responsibilities: The complete description of student responsibilities is outlined in the grants acceptance form and will be mailed to successful applicants (a sample, not to be used, in Adobe Acrobat pdf format may be viewed). A final written report that has been reviewed and signed by the faculty research mentor must be submitted to the FCSM Undergraduate Research Committee. If an acceptable final report is not submitted, all monies must be returned to the University. If monies are not returned, the committee will freeze the student's University records.

View and print the Final Report Style Sheet (PDF)

Additional information may be obtained by contacting Dr. Vonnie Shields, Associate Dean, The Jess and Mildred Fisher College of Science and Mathematics.

Students are eligible to receive research funding only once per academic year. Students who are applying for FCSM Undergraduate Research Funds should also apply for funding to the University Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry.

Travel Grants: An important aspect of the professional life of a scientist is the presentation of results in a professional arena. In recognition of this, funds may be sought to attend a professional meeting at which the student will present an oral seminar or a research poster. To request a Travel Grant, the student needs to fill an online Travel Authorization Form at least three weeks before travel, with an abstract and acceptance documentation attached. Requests up to $500.00 will be considered. Students are eligible to receive travel funding only once per academic year.

Student Travel

A  properly approved Travel Authorization is required prior to student travel.  Upon completion of travel, a Travel Expense Report must be submitted.

Student Travel Authorization

  • Students will not be in Stratus
  • Student travel will now be processed through a DocuSign Form.
  • Students must receive prior approval before making any travel arrangements.
  • All overnight travel requires a travel authorization form.
  • They must submit a travel authorization within 30 days of travel, and the authorization must be approved on all levels before the travel occurs.
  • Students need to know their supervisor or sponsoring faculty member prior to completing the form.
  • It is the responsibility of the supervisor or sponsoring faculty member to explain the dollar amount of funding available for the student’s travel.
  • The Business Travel Office can assist a student with major transportation or hotel accommodations if the funding has been approved on all levels. All other costs outside of the approved funding is the responsibility of the student in which they may seek reimbursement after the trip is over.
  • If a travel authorization or expense report does not have the appropriate expense listed, documentation, itemized receipts, or correct Cost Center Manager/Financial Steward the form will be rejected. A comment identifying why the form was rejected will be added.
  • The DocuSign form does not have the ability to be resubmitted with corrections. A new authorization or expense report will need to be requested with the correct information and go through the approval process again.
  • See how to create a student travel authorization (PDF).
  • Student Travel Authorization Request

Student Travel Expense Report

  • When the student completes the Expense Report, they will need to know who their supervisor or sponsoring faculty member are as well as the names of any Cost Center Managers or Financial Stewards.
  • Students should work with Sponsoring faculty/chair or Supervisor to know who needs to be added to form such as cost center managers or Grant PI.
  • Students will fill out all required fields in which they used personal funds to cover those expenses. No prepaid items will be on the expense report.
  • Attach all itemized receipts or supporting documentation for personal expenses.
  • Attach their approved authorization if it was an overnight trip.
  • The form will then go to whoever they listed as their supervisor or sponsoring faculty member for approval. Once Approved by the supervisor or sponsoring faculty member, it will go to the list of Cost center Managers and Financial Stewards for approval.
  • The Cost Center Manager or Financial Steward will be responsible for entering the cost center or grant that is funding the trip.
  • Once approved by all parties, the form will go to the AP_DS_Student_Travel_Expense queue in ImageNow. This is where BTO will review and audit the form.
  • The DocuSign form does not have the ability to be resubmitted with corrections. A new authorization or expense report will need to be requested with the correct information and go through the approval process again.
  • See how to create a student travel expense report (PDF).
  • Student Travel Expense Report

Student Research Presentations

Students in Towson University's Jess and Mildred Fisher College of Science and Mathematics have presented their research both at national meetings and at local celebrations of their award-winning work. A few of the meetings at which TU FCSM student researchers have presented their work are noted below.

The National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR)

NCUR® brings together undergraduates involved in scholarly and artistic activities representing a range of disciplines including creative arts, mathematics, business, social science, humanities, physical and life sciences, natural resources, and engineering, among others. Participants come from over 300 colleges and universities representing almost every state in the nation.

Since its inception in 1987, NCUR® has become a major annual event drawing over 2,000 undergraduates, faculty, and administrators to hear and discuss undergraduate creative and scholarly work.

The Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) has selected the city of Long Beach, California to hold the 2024 National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR). In partnership with the California State University – Long Beach (CSULB), CUR and CSULB will play a vital role together in accomplishing the creation of a successful in-person undergraduate research presentation and learning opportunity. At this annual three-day event, more than 4,000 students present scholarly research, network with peers and faculty mentors, and meet with graduate school and corporate recruiters. For application and general information see NCUR 2024, April 8–10, 2024.

Towson University Undergraduate and Graduate Student Research Expo

The Towson University Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry sponsors the university-wide Research & Creative Inquiry Forum each spring. The Forum provides TU students the opportunity to display the results of their scholarly work to the University community.  Presentations may be in the form of exhibitions of artwork, demonstrations, and performances, as well as the traditional poster sessions and oral presentations. For more information, please check the Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry.

Other Resources for Undergraduate Research

NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates:
NSF funds a large number of research opportunities for undergraduate students through its REU Sites program. Students are granted stipends and, in many cases, assistance with housing and travel. Undergraduate students supported with NSF funds must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States or its possessions.

Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education:
Undergraduate students looking for multidisciplinary research opportunities that will open doors to practical, hands-on experience can access a complete listing of the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education's (ORISE) undergraduate educational support programs. These opportunities are primarily located at Department of Defense research facilities.

CAA Undergraduate Research Journal:
Towson University is a member of the Colonial Academic Alliance (CAA). The Colonial Academic Alliance Undergraduate Research Journal publishes undergraduate research in all fields by students at member institutions. This site contains articles from the journal and instructions for submitting manuscripts to the journal.

National Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse:
Publish the results of your undergraduate research on this NSF-sponsored site hosted by Western Missouri State College. Includes undergraduate research in many disciplines along with a search engine.

The Council on Undergraduate Research offers a wealth of information and support for undergraduate research throughout the country. CUR sponsors the annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research.

Summer Research Internship Opportunities:
There are many summer opportunities in research for students like YOU at Towson University and across the United States. Most programs include a stipend, and some offer housing and travel.