Undergraduate Research Program

COVID-19 FAQs for undergraduate research

Updated: April 6, 2020 at 3:45 p.m.

Below are answers to frequently asked questions related to undergraduate research during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additional important resources for undergraduates, undergraduate researchers and mentors of undergraduate researchers include:

FAQ for undergraduate research

What’s the plan for this spring’s Undergraduate Research Symposium?

In response to the UW COVID-19 safety measures employed moving spring quarter instruction online, we are exploring virtual options for students who planned to present their work at the Undergraduate Research Symposium. We will be in touch with presenters with further details and will also update the URP website with any further developments.

Can I get involved in undergraduate research this spring?

Research is still happening at the UW this spring, however, students should understand that faculty are very busy at the moment getting prepared for online courses and adjusting their research spaces and activities to allow for social distancing and remote work. This means that it may take longer to find a position, and those who are looking to get started in certain fields requiring such activities as bench work, interaction with human subjects, and fieldwork this spring will need to be engaged instead in preparatory research work, such as literature reviews and existing data analyses or other work that can be done remotely. Of course, those in fields that lend themselves to remote work, such as computational work and literary analysis, to name just a few, will find getting started to be not as challenging this quarter. Regardless of your field, you will need to check in with your departmental adviser regarding policies for undergraduate research credit as they may be more restrictive during this time.

Sign up for a URP information virtual information session to get you started.

I’m already involved in undergraduate research and want to know if I can continue my research this spring?

This spring, while it will pose a challenge to make progress on research requiring in-person work such as bench work, interaction with human subjects, and fieldwork, you can adjust your work in consultation with your mentor(s) to make progress in different ways. This spring will be a good time to perform activities such as data analysis, literature reviews, thesis writing, or to assist with proposal and progress report writing. For those receiving funding for their research in spring quarter, check in with program staff to update them on what you will and won’t be able to do this spring. In some cases, students might elect to take a break from research this spring and to move their funding to a subsequent quarter, if possible. All options should be discussed so that you can determine what will work best for your learning this quarter. Regardless of your field, you will need to check in with your departmental adviser regarding policies for undergraduate research credit as they may be more restrictive during this time.

Sign up for a URP remote advising session if you would like to discuss your situation with our staff.

As a research mentor, what information do I need to know regarding mentoring undergraduates this spring?

As this is a continually evolving situation, to stay on top of the latest guidance, we consult the Office of Research website. A few key sections on that site are “Guidance for undergraduate researchers” and “Working remotely.”  Please be sure to understand the restrictions undergraduate researchers must follow in order to maintain their safety while pursuing research activities.

Additionally, the Office of Research website includes a link to the document, “FAQs for Research during the Stay Home, Stay Healthy Time Period,” where information on 499 undergraduate research credit is provided.

The way we, in the Undergraduate Research Program, interpret the guidelines provided by the Office of Research is that mentors should work with undergraduates to ensure that they have work they can do remotely, adjusting prior plans as necessary. We also hope that mentors will consider taking on new undergraduates, engaging them in preparatory and other work that can be done remotely this spring. Undergraduates should check with their departmental advisers regarding 499 credit and other departmental guidelines.

Finally, we thank you for your support of undergraduate researchers! Please feel free to contact our staff at urp@uw.edu for more information. We are available to connect with you by email, phone, or Zoom.