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Research at UVa

60% of undergraduates are involved in research

Undergraduates who have conducted independent research projects are well prepared for advanced graduate study, and they are able to compete effectively for prestigious scholarships and fellowships. Many of the University’s recent winners and finalists in the competitions for Rhodes, Marshall, Truman, Luce, and Goldwater scholarships were engaged in independent research during their undergraduate years.

Moreover, taking part in in-depth research can shape a student’s intellect and analytical skills in profound ways. Undergraduate researchers learn how to gather data from primary sources or from first-hand observations in the laboratory or in the field. Even if students choose not to enter an academic career, the research experience will leave an imprint on their thought processes throughout their professional lives—how they gather and weigh evidence, how they assess sources of information, how they verify results.

These skills are valuable in both the corporate and academic worlds and will greatly broaden career options for undergraduates. Whether they intend to enter business or finance, law or medicine, journalism or public affairs, they will be confident in their ability to address difficult problems and to build a sound case for their ideas.

The Center for Undergraduate Excellence encourages students to get involved in research. The Center administers the Harrison Undergraduate Research Awards and maintains a database of research opportunities both at U.Va. and elsewhere.

Research Opportunities

We encourage students to get involved in the Undergraduate Research Network, which produces The Oculus: The Virginia Journal of Undergraduate Research. The Undergraduate Research Network (URN) was formed in 2001 to foster an undergraduate research community here at UVa. Jefferson Public Citizens ( JPC) is a comprehensive academic public service program that integrates students’ service and research experiences throughout their time at the University. For example, The University of Virginia is partnering with the Ministry of Health in St. Kitts and Nevis on two student-led research projects that examine the use of primary and preventative health care in the two-island Caribbean nation.

Question, Explore, Create, Transform

The creation of knowledge and tools through scholarship, research, and invention is fundamental to the life of a great university. Faculty research projects also provide distinctive learning opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, and research funding drives local and regional economic development.

The University of Virginia is recognized as a leading institution in humanities, social sciences, and arts scholarship. We are now committed to enhancing research in key interdisciplinary areas of science and engineering. In building these complementary strengths, we cultivate a University research culture that supports innovation and ultimately leads to discoveries that will transform society.


The University of Virginia seeks institutional collaborators throughout the world. For some scientific studies, it is a geographical place that sparks the formation of an international team, such as our research on regional-scale ecosystem dynamics with academic and research institutions in sub-Saharan Africa. For others, it is a complex problem in molecular biology, such as the National Institutes of Health Glue grant, led by U.Va. biomedical scientists, that involves some 11 American institutions.

We partner with national laboratories, such as the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Jefferson National Laboratory, where U.Va. has led the team competing for the new management contract from the Department of Energy. And we partner with nongovernmental organizations, such as Conservation International, to close the gap between basic and applied biodiversity and conservation science and accelerate the development of science-based policy. Each kind of partnership increases our research capacity, expands educational opportunities, and infuses our community with important diversity of thought.

Research at UVa
Research at UVa