Beyond the Classroom

Research opportunities expand education

Each year about 1,000 Stanford undergraduates work closely with faculty mentors on research ranging from engineering and medicine to the humanities, fine arts and social sciences, in some cases traveling world-wide (see below for more on where they went last year). These projects introduce students to the rigors of academic research, build analytic skills and also help students find their own future path, whether it's diving deeper into academics or taking their passion and applying it to other careers.

Research Projects

The covers of Dime-novel Westerns
portrait of Ellie ReddingEllie Redding

Digitizing classic fiction

How computer science and an open mind are revealing the genius of dime novel Westerns

A group of natural rocks.
portrait of Tim AndersonTim Anderson

3-D printed rocks

Characterizing the subterranean flow of fluids requires repeatable precision. 3-D printed rocks are the solution.

A virtual underwater world.
portrait of Sydney Maples and Max SperoSydney Maples and Max Spero

Building virtual worlds

Sydney Maples and Max Spero design virtual reality experiments aimed at altering real-life behaviors.

An Illustration of neurons
portrait of Meagan ShinbashiMeagan Shinbashi


Meagan Shinbashi spent odd hours in the lab sussing out when mice learn best

The Three Species of Intermediate Hosts That Are Provided from The Schistosomiasis Center.
portrait of Olivia CordsOlivia Cords

Snail fever

Researchers, including Cords, are seeking an ecological solution to a disease common along a Senegal river.

portrait of Richie SappRichie Sapp

Brain research

A team of researchers, including Sapp, are working to make it easier for adults to learn.

Mine entrace at the Jumbo Mine
portrait of Annalisa Boslough and Madelyn BosloughAnnalisa Boslough &
Madelyn Boslough

Gold-mining camps

Backpacking deep into the Alaskan wilderness, sisters study long-abandoned gold-mining camps.

Graffiti on San Francisco streets
portrait of Kareem AlstonKareem Alston


Alston delved into an arts organization’s success, with the aim of helping other groups serving youths.

Rocket launching
portrait of Charlie Cox and Daniel BecerraDaniel Becerra &
Charlie Cox


The team pushed the limits of amateur high-altitude exploration by launching a custom-made rocket from a balloon.

Page of medieval literature
portrait of Rukma SenRukma Sen

Mother monster

From medieval literature to today’s hit movies, Sen is exploring the staying power of female monstrosity.

Girls attending the workshop participate in a roundtable discussion
portrait of Garima SharmaGarima Sharma

Child marriage

Garima is delving into why child marriage persists in India despite evidence of its danger to young girls.

A musician bows a stringed instrument in this wood carving in Winchester Cathedral in the south of England.
portrait of Christina SmithChristina Smith

Medieval wood carvings

Smith traveled to more than a dozen English cathedrals to research the misericords used by ancient monks.

Fact Sheet 2013 - 2014

Stanford University’s Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education provides students with advising and funding to explore research under the guidance of Stanford faculty mentors and can direct students to interdisciplinary institutes that support undergraduate research. These programs foster enthusiasm for independent scholarship and strong connections between faculty and students.

Undergraduate Research Funding
Year Program Budget Student Projects Funded
1989 - 1990 $254 K 210
1994 - 1995 $454 K 345
1999 - 2000 $1.4 M 394
2004 - 2005 $3.8 M 907
2009 - 2010 $4.4 M 975
2013 - 2014 $5.8 M 986

What people are saying

We asked alumni: Where in the world did #UndergradResearch take you? Read their responses on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Caleb Kruse instagram profile photo“I got to study coral color in the Line Islands, heart physiology in Sri Lanka and paleoclimate in Patagonia. Some of my best Stanford experiences.” — Caleb Kruse, '14, National Geographic young explorer
CK instagram profile photo“NYC to dance! It was amazing.” — Athelia "CK" Woolley LeSueur, '01, co-founder and CEO of Shabby Apple
Adam Kreek instagram profile photo“Carlsbad, New Mexico to study microfold layers in 3D.” — Adam Kreek, '07, Olympic gold medalist and social entrepreneur
“557 Escondido Mall.” (That's Green Library, for the uninitiated.) — James Crowley, '91, technical writer at Microsoft
“Thanks to the Stanford Beagle II Award, I spent a summer doing research on climate change adaptation in vulnerable island nations. I spent three months in Fiji, Kiribati and Vanuatu, traveling by boat and prop plane. I'll never forget it!.” — Enessa Janes, '05, MS '06, planner at Michael Baker International