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Undergraduate Research

The mission of the Texas A&M University Galveston Campus (TAMUG) Undergraduate Research (UGR) Program is to enhance undergraduate education through the integration of high impact learning experiences and fostering of “…original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline” (-The Council of Undergraduate Research) by the undergraduate student.

Who We Are    

The TAMUG Undergraduate Research program values intellectual and creative scholarship and research as a high impact learning experience that will ultimately enhance knowledge through hands-on application and making contributions towards solving ocean-centered “real world” problems that impact marine wildlife and resources, coastal communities, maritime industries and infrastructure. We work to facilitate undergraduate access to research opportunities both on and off campus.

Contact Us


Lene H. Petersen, PhD
Chair of Undergraduate Research 
Instructional Assistant Professor of Marine Biology
OCSB (Bldg. 3029) Rm. 252
(409) 740-4786

TAMU Scholar Recognition Opportunities    

TAMU Undergraduate Research Scholars (URS) Program

The URS program seeks to involve any eligible undergraduate in the “graduate student” experience by involving them in the academic research and publication process within a scholarly community to produce a thesis. Submissions from individuals or teams writing a joint thesis (max. of 5 students) are welcome.

This program ensures the unified format of undergraduate theses published at Texas A&M University. Undergraduate Research Scholars engage in a two-semester (Fall/Spring) research project conducted under the supervision of a Texas A&M University faculty mentor that culminates in a public presentation and written thesis. Throughout the academic year, students write theses in progression and must meet intermediate submission deadlines. These deadlines are specified in our program timeline and are meant to ensure that theses follow the formatting outlined in the Undergraduate Research Scholars Thesis Manual. Please take into consideration our final thesis deadline when planning your projects. All projects and theses must be completed within our program dates.

Upon completion, theses are deposited into the Undergraduate Research Scholars collection in the Texas A&M University Libraries Digital Repository.

Undergraduates who participate in the Undergraduate Research Scholars program will:

  • Experience the complete process of writing a scholarly thesis
  • Learn how to make a public presentation
  • Gain knowledge that didn’t come from a classroom such as teamwork, problem solving, and leadership
  • Improve chances for acceptance into graduate or professional schools, fellowships, and grants
  • Gain a better understanding of graduate school
  • Network with students and faculty

Learn more about the TAMU URS program

TAMU Undergraduate Research Ambassadors (URA) Program

The Undergraduate Research Ambassadors are students who have completed at least one semester of faculty-mentored research at Texas A & M University who are selected based on their potential to inspire broader engagement in undergraduate research by educating and serving the Texas A&M University community. The program began in 2013 with our inaugural class of 12 Ambassadors. Applications for the URA program are accepted each spring.

Students in the Undergraduate Research Ambassador program will gain knowledge in networking, public speaking, leadership opportunities, and will have increased competitiveness on graduate and professional school applications. Ambassadors often receive additional grant opportunities and other professional development experiences as a result of their involvement.

Learn more about the TAMU URA program

Funding Opportunities for Undergraduate Research at TAMUG    

Financial resources available to support academic year and summer faculty-mentored research at TAMUG.
Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Scholarship

Texas A&M University System Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (TAMUS LSAMP), funded by the National Science Foundation, is part of a national initiative to increase the number of underrepresented minority students successfully completing high quality degree programs in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines and to encourage students to matriculate into graduate programs.

LSAMP recipients conducting faculty-mentored research at TAMUG will receive a scholarship of $1,250 per semester, with renewal for the Spring semester contingent on satisfactory progress during Fall semester. Fall 2019 application is now open (due 11:59pm Tuesday 17 September 2019)!

APPLY NOW Learn more about the LSAMP Scholarship

Aggies Commit to Excellence Scholar Program

The Aggies Commit to Excellence Scholar (ACES) program provides funding for TAMUG undergraduates from all majors to engage in high impact learning and research experiences under the mentorship of TAMUG Faculty. The purpose of ACES is to empower all students and encourage underserved student populations to engage in research, as well as offer professional and leadership skills development to foster their interest and aptitude towards pursuing a graduate degree.

ACES recipients conducting faculty-mentored research at TAMUG will receive a scholarship of $1,000 per semester, with renewal for the Spring semester contingent on satisfactory progress during Fall semester. Fall 2019 application is now open (due 11:59pm Monday 16 September 2019)!

APPLY NOW Learn more about the ACES Scholarship

Texas Institute of Oceanography Research Fellowship

TAMUG Research and Graduate Studies Office offers Texas Institute of Oceanography (TIO)-funded Undergraduate Research Fellowships. The purpose of the TIO Fellowship is to provide high-impact Faculty-mentored research experience for exceptional undergraduate students. Recipients will be required to present project results at the TAMUS Student Pathways Symposium and/or at the TAMUG Student Research Symposium. Recipients will be paid as Student Technicians, and additional funds for travel to present results at a scientific meeting may be requested from the Research Advisory Council.

Learn more about the TIO Fellowship

Travel Support for Undergraduate Researchers

The Research Advisory Council provides some support for undergraduate student travel to meetings if they are presenting research results. The travel support is typically limited to $500. To be eligible for support, the student must:

1. Be a presenting author

2. Provide the following:

a. Copy of the abstract
b. Travel itinerary indicating the dates of travel
c.  Budget breakdown with all funding sources identified. E.g. advisor, department, RAC (a three way split between the sources is strongly encouraged.)

3. Student must be nominated by  a TAMUG Principal Investigator (P.I.) who will need to provide a letter of support. P.I.’s may nominate one student per year.

Please contact Dr. Diego Gil Agudelo ( in the Research and Graduate Studies Office for information on RAC travel funding. ACES awardees should contact Dr. Orissa Moulton ( to apply for supplemental travel funding.

Undergraduate Research FAQ    

Does TAMUG Undergraduate Research (UGR) offer funding for research?

Yes. Students interested in participating in research through a 491, or the Undergraduate Research Scholars program are eligible to apply for scholarship funding through several scholarship programs available to students. Please visit: Funding Opportunities at TAMUG for more information.

If you are currently a LAUNCH Undergraduate Research Scholar, you have exclusive access to apply for a travel award or poster voucher to fulfill the presentation requirement for the program. Please email for more information.

Students can use the Texas A & M University LAUNCH Database of Undergraduate Research Opportunities to search for internal and external funding.
Students are also encouraged to talk to members in their colleges and departments for additional opportunities.

What does “undergraduate research” mean?

There is substantial room for flexibility with research. At TAMUG, research opportunities are open to all undergraduates, and you do not have to be an honors student. Research is often a collaborative effort between undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty using an inquiry-based approach to generate new knowledge. As such, undergraduate research qualifies as a “high-impact practice,” providing students an opportunity to integrate, apply, and reflect on their knowledge. Research allows students to take learning beyond the classroom.

What are the benefits of undergraduate research?

Students who participate in undergraduate research gain many skills that they might not otherwise acquire from classroom instruction:

  • Writing, data collection, and analysis
  • Teamwork, problem solving, time management, and effective communication

Undergraduate researchers gain a deeper understanding of their chosen field not only by actively participating in it, but through mentoring relationships with faculty and graduate students. 

Undergraduate research helps students clarify career goals by identifying passions and a better perspective on what it means to be a professional the field.

As a result, student researchers are more likely to be satisfied with their undergraduate education and continue on to graduate or professional school.  Research experience strengthens applications for graduate and professional schools, business, or industrial positions by expanding technical skills and professional knowledge, improving resumes/CVs, and providing opportunities for strong letters of recommendation. 

Finally, it can be a lot of fun. You generate new knowledge, meet interesting people, and undergraduate researchers generate new knowledge, meet interesting people, and they might even get paid for doing it.

Do I have to do research in my department?

Undergraduate research exists in every department at TAMUG in variable capacities. Students are not necessarily required to conduct research in their major department. Check with departmental advisors to verify degree requirements for undergraduate research. Students are encouraged to follow their passion and contact several faculty in their area of interest to explore opportunities.

What training do I need before I can do research?
There are many reasons why an undergraduate researcher might need training. You should have a conversation with your faculty advisor very early on in the design of your project to determine whether or not your project may require approval from the office of Research Compliance & Biosafety (RCB). Additional trainings may be required depending on the nature of your project.
What is the Office of Research Compliance and Biosafety?

The office of Research Compliance and Biosafety (RCB) is responsible for providing training and support to faculty, students, and staff in regulatory requirements for research. RCB provides administrative and operational support for Texas A&M’s research compliance review committees as well as other research compliance programs designated at the university.

Projects may require approval through Research Compliance and Biosafety committees if they involve:

  1. Human Subjects: Institutional Review Board (IRB)
  2. Vertebrate Animals: Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)
  3. Biohazards: Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)

Note: Please be aware that if you are using social media and/or online content, you may be subject to review by the Institutional Review Board (IRB).

Is an Undergraduate Research Scholars (URS) Thesis the same as an Honors Thesis?

There is no “honors thesis,” however, students participating in an honors program can use their Undergraduate Research Scholars (URS) thesis as their capstone experience. The URS thesis is open to any undergraduate student regardless of whether s/he participates in the University Honors Program, or departmental or college honors programs.

Can I earn Honors Credit for Undergraduate Research?

Please contact the TAMUG Honors Program Advisor Ms. Barbara Dover ( for more information.

Is undergraduate research the same thing as a capstone?

A capstone is defined as a year-long integrative experience that allows students to combine their career goals, majors, and interests in faculty-mentored independent projects that focus on leadership, research, community service, or teaching. Students in the honors programs can use the LAUNCH Undergraduate Research Scholars (URS) thesis program to fulfill their capstone requirement, or apply for a departmental capstone. Students should consult with their departmental and honors advisors to determine additional requirements and/or eligibility for capstone experiences.

How do I register for a research course (491)?

Students need to speak to their home departments and/or faculty advisors to open a research section for a 491 course. 491 courses can be 0 credit or variable credit, and may carry either a letter grade or S/U designation. Students should consult the Office of Financial Aid to determine if registration in a research course affects financial aid packages or any scholarships.

How do I earn LAUNCH Undergraduate Research Scholars Distinction at graduation?

To be eligible, the student must:

  • Apply to the UGR Scholars Program through LAUNCH
  • Be actively involved in an independent undergraduate research project throughout both the fall and spring semesters under the mentorship of a TAMUG Faculty member throughout the academic year
  • Have completed at least 60 credit hours (junior status) of undergraduate course work
  • Have at least 24 credit hours at TAMUG
  • Have and maintain a cumulative GPR of at least 3.0
  • Be expecting to graduate in May of the current academic year, or later

Upon acceptance to the UGR Scholars program students will be expected to:

  • Register for a 491 course (0-4 credit hours)
  • Produce a written undergraduate thesis to be published in the Undergraduate Research Scholars Capstone Collection in the Texas A&M OAKTrust Repository, or in a peer-reviewed journal
  • Attend the Orientation and Thesis Workshop in October
  • Adhere to all thesis deadlines throughout the academic year as set by LAUNCH
  • Make a public presentation at the TAMUG Student Research Symposium or other local or national conference or symposium by the end of the Spring semester
How do I serve as a LAUNCH Undergraduate Research Ambassador?

To be eligible, the student must:

  • Apply through LAUNCH
  • Have at least one semester of faculty-mentored undergraduate research experience
  • Have at least 60 credit hours (24 hours at TAMUG)
  • Have and maintain a GPR of 3.0 or higher
  • Possess outstanding oral communication skills
  • Be able to enthusiastically describe your undergraduate research to a general audience
  • Be willing to serve as a source of information on how to get involved in undergraduate research
  • Be expecting to graduate in May of the current academic year, or later
  • Provide a letter of support from a Texas A&M faculty mentor

Upon acceptance to program UGR students will be expected to:

  • Participate in an all-day orientation and training in August
  • Attend Ambassador meetings
  • Participate in at least 10 hours of activities per semester, including:
    • LAUNCH-sponsored events
    • Workshops
    • Student consultations
    • Presentations to classes, student organizations, prospective students, parents, and administrators
  • Review, interview, and train the incoming class of Ambassadors