Undergraduate Research Program

COVID-19 FAQs for undergraduate research

Updated: October 19, 2020

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?

The 24th annual UW Undergraduate Research Symposium which will take place on Friday, May 21, 2021 will be a virtual event. All undergraduates engaged in research are encouraged to apply by February 11, 2021 to share their work in this high-energy, interactive virtual event! More information can be found on our website.

Can I get involved in undergraduate research during the 2020-21 academic year?

Research is still happening at the UW, however, students should understand 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 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 during this time. 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. 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 year?

This year, 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 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 if your in-person access to research space is limited or not available. For those receiving funding for their research, check in with program staff to update them on what you will and won’t be able to do this year. In some cases, students might elect to take a break from research this autumn or winter, 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 year. 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. Please consult the Undergraduate and Graduate Research Guidance section on that page and scroll to “Guidance for undergraduate researchers.”  Please be sure to understand the restrictions undergraduate researchers must follow in order to maintain their safety while pursuing research activities.

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 year. Undergraduates should check with the department issuing 499 credit or with their departmental advisers, if receiving credit in their department, to ensure that the department has not placed any additional restrictions on 499 credit.

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.