Undergraduate Research Opportunities

The Jess & Mildred Fisher College 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 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 UGRC) 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. The complete list for a given academic year may be viewed by clicking below.

Access the Undergraduate Research Application Form and Instructions. (PDF)

Use of Research Funds: Research funds may be used for supplies, books, software, and equipment. They may also be used to support travel to and from a research site. Funds may not be used for stipends or reimbursement for services. Any equipment purchased with these grant monies will remain the property of Towson University.

Budget requests of up to $500.00 will be considered. However, a higher budget request will be considered in unusual cases for which the need is thoroughly documented. Students who are applying for FCSM Undergraduate Research Funds should also apply for funding to the University Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry.  Students are eligible to receive research funding only once per academic year.

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, you need to fill in an on line Travel Authorization Form at least three weeks before you travel.  Attach your abstract and acceptance documentation.  Requests up to $500.00 will be considered.  The first step is to download and fill in the top part of the Tiger Travel Security Request Form (PDF) to add Student to PeopleSoft Financials, print this form, and then take it to the department's Travel Coordinator.  Students are eligible to receive travel funding only once per academic year.

You will likely need to wait several days for this request to be processed. The next step is to complete the actual Travel Authorization Form. To do this, you will need to see your research mentor, and (s)he will need to logon to the On Line Tiger Travel System which is part of the PeopleSoft System and help you fill out the form.

After you return from you travel, you must submit a Travel Expense Voucher to obtain reimbursement for your travel expenses. This form also is filled out using the On Line Tiger Travel System, which you will need to do with the help of your mentor.

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 your faculty research mentor must be submitted to the FCSMUGR Committee. If an acceptable final report is not submitted, all monies must be returned to the University. If monies are not returned, the FCSMUGR 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.

CUR's Registry of Undergraduate Researchers and Graduate Schools

This Registry is designed to link undergraduate students who have research experience with graduate schools interested in recruiting such students (please see http://www.cur.org/projects_and_services/registry/students/ for general information about the Registry). The registry is free of charge to the student. Interested graduate schools contact CUR and pay to gain access to the student's records. These schools can then contact students whose records they are interested in. 100% of the proceeds go directly into our Summer Fellowships program, supporting CUR members and their students for a summer of (CUR-sponsored) research.

Students are encouraged to register at http://www.cur.org/projects_and_services/registry/student_register/. Once they register, they will receive an email that provides them with a password and instructions on how to complete their records. It is important they follow through and complete their record after they register.

For questions contact:

Julie A. Nicholson
Senior Director of Communications & Marketing Council on Undergraduate Research
734 15th Street, NW, Suite 550
Washington, DC 20005
202.783.4810 office
202.783.4811 fax

Student Research Presentations

Towson University's The Jess and Mildred Fisher College of Science and Mathematics students 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 2018 National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) will be held on
April 4 – 7, 2018 at University of Central Oklahoma. Online Submission of Abstracts opens on Tuesday, October 3, 2017 and closes at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, December 5, 2017.
For more information see their website.

The Colonial Academic Alliance (CAA) Conference

The Colonial Academic Alliance develops, promotes and facilitates collaborative programs and resource sharing to enhance academic quality and institutional effectiveness throughout our member institutions. The Colonial Academic Alliance was founded in 2002 by the provosts of the institutions of the Colonial Athletic Association. Our membership includes: The College of Charleston, University of Delaware, Drexel University, Elon University, Hofstra University, James Madison University, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Northeastern University, Towson University, and The College of William and Mary.  For more information see their website. The 2017 Colonial Academic Alliance Conference was held on March 31 – April 1 at the Elon University in Elon, North Carolina.

A listing of FCSM students presentations at conferences in this current year is available here.

A listing of FCSM students presentations at conferences in prior to this is available here.

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.