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New to Mentoring Students in Undergraduate Research? Start Here.

At MSU Denver, we are student-centered, focused on delivering a high-quality education. Through teaching, scholarly activities, and service, faculty work to advance the mission of the university. To fulfill the mission, faculty can engage undergraduate students in “scholarly inquiry, creative activity, and the application of knowledge.”

Mentoring undergraduate research is a student-focused way of bringing research and teaching together.

Guide for Mentors Getting Started in Undergraduate Research

Faculty are evaluated on teaching, scholarly activities, and service. If you haven’t already, define what your scholarship will entail at MSU Denver. What are your goals? What will your products be? What will you include in your evidence folder related to scholarly activity?

Then consider where you might include undergraduate students.

Visit the Council on Undergraduate Research for more resources. You might consider attending CUR’s Institute on Beginning a Research Program and Primarily Undergraduate Institutions.

Undergraduate students can assist in tasks directly in or related to aspects of your scholarly and creative activities which can help advance your scholarship as well as give students experience with the methods of their discipline.

As students become more experienced in methods, they can take on more responsibility and eventually take the lead on a project of their own.

Mentoring students in an independent research project cultivates students' sense of belonging in the discipline. Providing opportunities for students to take a form of ownership over a project allows students to make great gains in intellectual, professional, and personal growth.

In some cases, students may have a project in mind that may be related to your research. Consider serving as their mentor, a co-mentor, or help connect them with potential mentors.

Incorporating your research or creative scholarship into one or more of your classes is a great way to combine teaching and creative activities. Recently, this practice has been described as a Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE). You can learn more about CUREs here.

The advantage of a CURE is that it introduces students to methods of your scholarly work and can spark a student’s interest in your work that leads to a mentored research opportunity outside of the classroom. An advantage is that the training of the student occurs inside of the classroom so that less time is spent outside of the classroom on introducing background, skills, and protocols. This is more efficient for both the mentor and the mentee.

If you are looking for a student, you can let us know and we can post it on our website and distribute it on our mailing list.

Email us at


Work study: Students who are eligible for work study, may be able to use their work study to do research. Check with your department for more information.

Academic credit: Students can enroll in an independent study course and get academic credit for doing research. Some departments also have independent research course number you can use.

Mini-Grants: Students can apply for $500 mini-grants from our office. Details can be found here.

Community-Based Research Grants: If your research is community-based, you can apply for a Community-Based Research Grant.

To help your students get the most out of their research experience, encourage them to attend some of our workshops for students

High quality mentoring is essential for a successful undergraduate research experience. Visit our Mentoring Resources page to help polish your mentoring skills.

Does your research involve human subjects? If so, before collecting data, you must follow the appropriate procedures for human subject research as outlined by the MSU Denver Human Subjects Protection Program (HSPP).  The MSU Denver Institutional Review Board (IRB) is the final authority on this issue.  If you think you may be doing research with humans, please refer to the HSPP website to learn more.

For additional resources, visit National the Center for Professional & Research Ethics webpage.

Encourage students to attend the annual Undergraduate Research Conference

Talk about research and creative scholarship and invite students to visit the office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Scholarship

Encourage students to apply for summer research programs

Write letters of recommendation for students applying for summer research programs

Let us hear from you!

Thank you for helping us grow our community of scholars!

To better serve our community, it helps us to know who is involved, so if you have an undergraduate student working with you, please let us know by filling out the form below.

Undergraduate Research Engagement Survey

We love to hear from you. Let us know how we can better support you! Email us at


 Publications from the Council on Undergraduate Research on getting started:

How to Get Started in Arts and Humanities Research with Undergraduates
Edited by: Iain Crawford, Sara E. Orel, and Jenny Olin Shanahan
How to Get Started in STEM Research with Undergraduates
Edited by: Merle Schuh
A Mathematician’s Practical Guide to Mentoring Undergraduate Research
by Michael Dorff, Allison Henrich, and Lara Pudwell
Creative Inquiry in the Arts and Humanities: Models of Undergraduate Research 
Edited by: Naomi Yavneh Klos, Jenny Olin Shanahan, & Greg Young
Reading, Writing, and Research: Undergraduate Students as Scholars in Literary Studies
Edited by: Laura L Behling

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