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 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.

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.

Further information regarding travel:

The first step is to download and fill in the top part of the Tiger Travel Security Request Form (PDF) to add a student to PeopleSoft Financials, print this form, and then take it to the departmental travel coordinator. The processing of that form may take several days, so this step should be taken as soon as possible.

The next step is to complete the actual Travel Authorization Form. It is strongly recommended that students see their research mentors for this step and that the mentor should logon to the Online Tiger Travel System and help the student fill out the form.

Upon return from travel, the student traveler must submit a Travel Expense Voucher to obtain reimbursement for his/her travel expenses. This form also is filled online through the Tiger Travel System. Again, it is strongly recommended that students file this form with the help of their mentors.

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.

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 University of West Florida (UWF) in Pensacola to host the spring 2022 National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR). 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 2022

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.