Funding your undergraduate research

Student working in a medical lab with a mentor

There are many opportunities around campus for you to receive funding to help you in your undergraduate research efforts.

To learn more, select a category below:

Each of the programs below requires you to partner with a mentor before submitting your research proposal. For tips on finding a faculty mentor, see our "Preparing for undergraduate research" page or schedule an advising meeting with us.

Undergraduate Fellowship for You First at VCU: First-Generation Emerging Scholars
You First at VCU will fund undergraduate research fellowship awards for research projects mentored by VCU faculty focused on diversity, underrepresented perspectives, student success barriers (social, academic, and financial), new approaches and innovations to enhancing student success, faculty engagement, and teaching/learning approaches. Successful proposals must discuss how the project will increase the student researcher’s knowledge, skills and experience while simultaneously attempting to enhance our understanding of first-generation students' experience and the factors that influence first generation students' academic success.

Undergraduate Research and Creative Scholarship Fellowships Program
Each year, the university and the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program offer a scholarship program for students interested in earning money in the summer doing serious work engaged in active learning. Full-time VCU Freshman, Sophomores, and Juniors in all majors are welcome to apply.

Undergraduate Fellowships for Clinical and Translational Research
For the summer, the VCU Center for Clinical and Translational Research will fund undergraduate research fellowships for clinical translational research projects focused on human health and mentored by a VCU faculty member.

VCUarts, Undergraduate Research Grants
Funding of $30,000 for Undergraduate Student Research Grants began five years ago with the purpose of encouraging curiosity, creativity, risk-taking and scholarly investigation into a project or subject of interest relevant to the student’s major. To date 50 big ideas have been funded at an average of $2,500 per proposal. Research and creative work that is: 1) interdisciplinary 2) involves student collaboration and 3) draws on the expertise of a faculty mentor is preferred.

Baldacci Student Experiential Learning Endowed Fund
The Baldacci Student Experiential Learning Endowed Fund grants academically promising, and hardworking students of diverse areas of study and backgrounds with financial support so they can pursue internships, conferences, research, domestic or study abroad, and/or social entrepreneurship opportunities. Applicants must be undergraduate rising juniors or rising seniors, in good academic standing, and be majors in the College of Humanities and Sciences.

Requests can be made for, but are not limited to, research support, internship stipends, conference attendance, domestic or study abroad opportunities, and/or social entrepreneurial incubator support. Funds are awarded at the discretion of a Dean’s Office committee. Awards will not exceed $5,000.

Each of the programs below provides a paid research training experience for undergraduates. Each also has its own application requirements. Please follow the links to determine your possible eligibility and specific contact and application procedures.

Bridges to the Baccalaureate
The Dream-to-Goal (DTG) Summer Research Program is designed for motivated community-college students who are interested in exploring research careers in the biomedical and behavioral sciences. This program will equip you with hands-on laboratory skills, provide research experience, and prepare you for success when you transfer to a four-year college or university, and beyond.

JACK’s Pediatric and Neonatal Summer Research
JACK’s Summer Scholars Program has a rich history of providing students with the opportunity to view the world of neonatology and pediatric subspecialties through clinical mentoring and research. Summer scholars have the opportunity to work with the neonatal team as they provide care and conduct research related to infant and maternal health. Specific emphasis is placed on developing an understanding of multidisciplinary hospital care. The program also enables participants to explore medical career opportunities in pediatric subspecialties such as general surgery, anesthesiology, neurosurgery and infectious diseases.

Philips Institute Summer Research Program in Cancer, Infection and Immunity and Bioengineering
The Summer Research Program is a fully funded, ten week, residential research program running from May to August. Participants will work on research projects in the fields of cancer, infection and immunity or tissue engineering. You will be paired with a faculty and a lab mentor to craft a challenging but feasible research project. The program culminates with a research symposium, where you will present your project. At the end of our program, you'll know if a biomedical research science career is right for you. Students participating in the Summer Research Program will receive a stipend and be provided with housing for the duration of the program.

This program is not recommended for pre-dental students.

VCU Engineering: Dean’s Undergraduate Research Initiative - DURI
Dean’s Undergraduate Research Initiative (DURI) aims to broaden the undergraduate student research experience and provide opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to develop skills in mentoring at the VCU College of Engineering under the leadership of our faculty. DURI invites undergraduate engineering students to apply for a one year fellowship, which will begin in the spring of 2014. DURI fellows will receive course credit for their spring semester research commitment (10-12 hours/week) and they will be expected to work full time during the summer semester (i.e., 40 hours/week) for which they will receive a $2,500 stipend. The one-year program will continue into the fall semester, and the stipend will be $1,500.

VCU GREAT: Guided Research Experience and Applied Training
The VCU GREAT summer research program provides undergraduates with funded research training under the guidance of VCU faculty mentors conducting behavioral sciences research. Second-year students from backgrounds that are historically underrepresented in health-related sciences are strongly encouraged to apply. Central to the mission of VCU GREAT is the diversification of our academic, research, and behavioral sciences professional community. VCU GREAT is supported by a team of Spit for Science faculty collaborators who offer experiential learning in alcohol research, the genetics of substance use, and related behavioral health outcomes including mindfulness, sleep, depression and anxiety, parent-child relationships, and interpersonal relationships.

VCU IMSD Scholars Program
The VCU Initiative for Maximizing Student Development is a biomedical research training program for undergraduate students interested in biomedical research. VCU-IMSD scholars participate in research internships in the summers following their freshman and sophomore years and during their junior and senior academic years. Scholars also enroll in a series of courses that help develop their skills in biomedical research, critical thinking, problem solving, and written and oral communication. The VCU-IMSD program also offers specialized career counseling, assistance with graduate school applications, and a Graduate Record Examination (GRE) preparation course, as well as the opportunity to attend national scientific conferences. Paid research internships are available for select scholars.

VCU Physiology and Biophysics: Summer Undergraduate Research Program
The duration of SURP in Physiology and Biophysics is 10 weeks, from early June to mid August. Students are expected to work full-time in the host lab. Support for living expenses will be provided by the program. During the summer, in addition to work in the host lab, students will interact with faculty members and graduate students in the department to acquaint themselves with various research opportunities, facilities and the general environment of the department. Mechanisms to encourage these interactions include: 1) a breakfast gathering once per week with scientific presentations from members of the Department or to present progress reports in the projects at the midpoint and end of the program and 2) social events for the students led by current PhD and MD/PhD candidates.

VCU Work Study Research Assistant Program
The VCU WSRA Program provides mentored research exposure and engagement to undergraduates who have received a work study award as part of their financial aid package. Work Study Research Assistants are matched with faculty mentors in a wide variety of disciplines and are engaged during fall and spring semesters in a research experience that is appropriate to the respective student’s level of research preparation. To browse and apply for open positions, log in to VCU Handshake and search for “FWS: Research Assistant”.

Chemistry Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF REU)
The Department of Chemistry at Virginia Commonwealth University invites applications for participation in the Research Experience for Undergraduates. The National Science Foundation-Division of Chemistry funds this program. The "Practices and Perspectives in Nanoscience and Chemical Biology" program is designed to provide an experience that combines practical training in specific research techniques (practices) with activities designed to put the research into the context of larger goals of modern science and technology (perspectives) specifically in the field of nanoscience and chemical biology. The program will also provide career planning and management components through collaboration with local industry (Pfizer). The research projects involve experience in chemical synthesis, data analysis and/or computer modeling.

Applied Mathematics Research Experience for Undergraduates at VCU
The Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics at Virginia Commonwealth University will host a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) site in graph theory and computational mathematics. The site is supported by the National Security Agency.

The REU will provide 8 undergraduates a hands-on introduction to computational research endeavors and improve their problem solving, communication, and computer programming skills. Student teams will be formed to work on the research projects listed below.

Selected students will receive a $3,600 stipend ($600 per week), on-campus housing, and reimbursement of travel expenses to and from campus. Additionally, students will be funded to present their work at conferences after the REU.

Pauley Heart Center Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship
The Pauley Heart Center (PHC) at VCU invites undergraduate students to apply for a 10-week mentored research fellowship, in which students will be paired with a Sponsor (faculty mentor) and take part in a cardiovascular research project. The purpose of this funded fellowship is to provide undergraduate students with an introduction and insight to the conduct of translational multi-disciplinary cardiovascular research. By the end of this fellowship, students will develop cardiovascular disease research skills through experiential learning with the goal of applying this experience to future research opportunities and post-graduate careers in cardiovascular research. Students will prepare and present a poster summarizing their research findings at the end of the program.

VCU Internal Medicine R4L Program: Undergraduate Research Experience and Clinical Shadowing
The Research4Life (R4L) scholar program is a summer scholar program offered by the VCU Department of Internal Medicine (DOIM) and consists of an 8 to 10-week structured medical research experience combined with clinical shadowing experience for VCU undergraduate students from backgrounds that are historically underrepresented in medicine and health-related sciences. Successful applicants will participate in a research project under the guidance of a faculty mentor, engage with a clinical shadowing experience for one week under the guidance from a Hospitalist attending physician, participate in weekly group meetings centered on preparation for further research, education, and career pathways, and learn about responsible conduct of research, review and discuss 1-2 assigned readings, and attend (optional) departmental grand rounds and research meetings.

Phage Lab
Undergraduate research in bioinformatics at VCU starts freshman year in the Phage Lab! This year-long course (BNFO 251/252) is the introductory biology laboratory for bioinformatics majors. In this course-based research experience, students discover and characterize their own virus (bacteriophage, or simply 'phage') from a soil sample. We sequence the genomes of some of those viruses, and then students learn the bioinformatics approach through examining the genes of sequenced phages and completing comparative genomics projects of their own design. If you're a transfer student or change of major and already completed your BIOZ 151/152 requirement, we encourage you to talk to us about whether you should enroll in BNFO 252 as an introduction to the major. You'll leave the Phage Lab with a solid set of microbiology, molecular biology and bioinformatics research skills, ready to enter into a faculty mentored research experience.

Research Opportunities through VCU Spit4Science
Become a part of the research team! We have a team of undergraduates who help with running the project. This includes handing out brochures about the project, talking to students and various organizations about the study, hanging flyers and banners, directing students to the payment collection area, following-up on participation rates, etc. In addition, students are involved in helping create and distribute newsletters with results, and running basic analyses of the data. This is a great opportunity for students who want to go on to graduate or medical school and want research experience. Students can sign up for research credit when they are part of the research team. For more information, contact the research team at

VCU College of Engineering: Vertically Integrated Projects
The Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) program provides undergraduate students the opportunity to participate in multiyear, multidisciplinary, team-based projects under the guidance of faculty and graduate students in their areas of expertise. Undergraduate students can earn technical elective or free elective course credits (depending on major) for working on specific research projects with other undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty, in their research labs. This is a valuable team-based learning experience on cutting-edge topics that will greatly enhance your resume when applying for jobs or graduate school.

UROP Travel Grant Program
The Office of Undergraduate Research Opportunities provides support for undergraduates who present their research at regional, national and international research conferences and symposia. Participation at these conferences is an important opportunity for you to communicate your research to others in your field, network with undergraduate researchers and faculty, and expand your understanding of your field of research. To be eligible for a travel grant, you must present your research in either a poster or oral presentation, your name must appear in the conference abstract or proceedings, and VCU and the Office of Undergraduate Research Opportunities must be acknowledged.

We encourage you to visit the VCU National Scholarship Office website to find out more about opportunities for funded research scholarships.

Internships, scholarships, and fellowships are also available through the ORAU website as well as through the ORISE website.

Browse the national programs on the Pathways to Science database.

Browse the national programs on the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates website.

Thinking of applying for national programs? Schedule an advising meeting with us.