What is undergraduate research in philosophy?

In the philosophy department, there are several types of research opportunities, including:

  • An independent project pursed by the student, above and beyond the requirements of any specific class
  • A collaborative project developed by a student and a faculty member. 

Philosophy projects are often interdisciplinary in nature, and may include creative projects as well as traditional research papers.

Why pursue undergraduate research?

You may wish to pursue undergraduate research in order to:

  • Continue work on a project that you started in one of your courses
  • Develop an in-depth argument or interpretation of a text, topic, or issue in philosophy that interests you
  • Pursue interdisciplinary connections between philosophical concepts and concepts and applications in other disciplines
  • Develop a creative project that is primarily philosophical in nature.

If you develop a successful research proposal, you may be paid for your work: up to $1,000!

What are the benefits of undergraduate research?

Undergraduate research has obvious benefits if you plan to attend graduate school; you will gain:

  • Experience working independently with a faculty member
  • A polished product that will make you a competitive candidate for admission to graduate programs.

If you are not planning to attend graduate school, undergraduate research has tangible benefits as well:  By working on a research project, you will:

  • Demonstrate the ability to work independently and see a project through to completion - a skill highly valued by employers
  • Have the opportunity to present your work to an audience of individuals whom may or may not be familiar with your topic, which is good practice for giving professional presentations
  • Gain personal satisfaction from working on a project of your choosing that goes beyond the scope of what is possible in a traditional classroom setting.

If your grant proposal is successful, you will be paid to do your research! Doesn't working on a meaningful research project sound better than 138 hours of work at minimum wage?

How do I get started?

To get started with a  research or creative project, talk to your advisor or one of our faculty members.  When you meet to discuss your interest in undergraduate research, you should have a good idea of what you would like to work on - either an old paper or a new idea that you've been thinking about. From here, your faculty member can let you know if your project is viable, and if it is, he or she can assist you through the process of developing a project proposal and applying for a research grant.

Important Deadlines

Deadlines for the Spring 2017 research grant competition have passed. Good news, though: if you will be returning in Fall 2018, you may apply in Spring 2017 to receive a grant for the following semester. More news to come!


For additional information about undergraduate research at UWL, visit the website for Undergraduate Research and Creativity.