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Funding Undergraduate Researchers


See below for various opportunities to fund undergraduates in research experiences!

Federal Work Study Program
We encourage faculty mentors to utilize the Federal Work Study Program to fund research assistants’ wages. Federal Work Study is a federally funded program that allows undergraduate students who qualify for this financial-need based program to gain valuable skills and earn money while pursuing their degree. As a research mentor and employer, it is an excellent way to create more opportunities for students, as your salary costs will be subsidized by the Work Study Program. Under this program, on-campus employers benefit from having 60% of the student’s wages paid through federal or state Work Study funds! View the UW Work Study on-campus employer guide for more information on how to hire a student through the Federal Work Study Program. This guide supports off-campus employers through the process of hiring a student through the Work Study program.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announces the opportunity for investigators and United States institutions/organizations with active NIH Research Grants to request administrative supplements for the purpose of promoting job creation, economic development, and accelerating the pace and achievement of scientific research. These supplements will also encourage students to seriously pursue research careers in the health related sciences, as well as provide elementary, middle school, and high school teachers, community college faculty, and faculty from non-research intensive institutions with short term research experiences in NIH-funded laboratories.

NIH Diversity Supplements
The National Institutes of Health offers opportunities for investigators with active and eligible grant types (please review PA-21-071) to request supplements to assist underrepresented individuals in the development of their research careers at all stages (high school students through early career Independent investigators). Eligible grant must have >1 year of funding left at the time of award. The UW School of Public Health maintains a list of grants meeting the timeline and grant type criteria, as well as helpful details about applying for both investigators and students. Fred HutchSeattle Children’s and the Institute of Translational Health Sciences also provide helpful information.

National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)
NSF REU supplements provide funding for undergraduates to work on projects tied to NSF-funded grants to faculty.  Visit the NSF REU website or contact your program manager at NSF for information. Annual deadlines may apply. You can also view this NSF REU Toolkit on applying for a supplement for additional guidance.

Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics
CURM will help faculty members set up an academic-year (i.e., September – May) undergraduate research group at their own institution. Each year, CURM will award mini-grants ranging from $8,000 – $25,000 each to professors who are accepted into the program. These mini-grants will consist of financial support for undergraduate research groups consisting of 2-5 undergraduate students and one faculty member.

Mary Gates Research Scholarship
Mary Gates Research Scholarships are competitive scholarships intended to enhance the educational experiences of undergraduate students at the University of Washington while they are engaged in research guided by faculty. We hope that with research scholarships, students may focus more attention and time, deepening their inquiry into a discipline or project with a reduced financial burden. Students receive research scholarships to pursue research in a variety of disciplines.

Summer Institute in the Arts & Humanities (SIAH)
SIAH offers an opportunity for undergraduates to engage in scholarly research with accomplished scholars and peers while earning full-time academic credit. Four faculty members guide twenty students through this immersive summer opportunity. This scholarly experience occurs in the context of seminars and tutorial-style lessons with faculty who offer expertise from disciplinary and interdisciplinary points of view in a space that encourages mutual learning with peers as well as independent thought. Student participants develop individual, original research ideas related to an interdisciplinary theme, create a scholarly research paper or project, work through a faculty and peer critique process and formally present their work to their colleagues and the larger community at a closing symposium. Faculty members interested in leading a cohort of SIAH students can email us at

There are many STEM undergraduate research programs, some hosted by the Undergraduate Research Program, and others facilitated elsewhere across the university that offer opportunities for faculty mentorship. Learn more about these programs, which provide compensation for students, at the links below.

Summer research programs at UW

Academic year STEM research programs hosted by the Office of  Undergraduate Research & the Mary Gates Endowment

Awarding Credit…

Before Acceptance into a Major

  • Not in a major yet? You can still earn credit through General Studies 391!
  • Often, students work with their faculty mentor to identify an academic project and can earn 1 credit for every 30 hours of research completed per quarter, pending the faculty mentor’s approval.
  • Application to enroll in GEN ST 391 is available on the UW General Studies website.
  • More information available from Undergraduate Academic Affairs Advising.

After Acceptance into a Major

  • The Office of Undergraduate Research does not issue credit for undergraduate research; however, most students can earn departmental or general studies credit.
  • To learn more about obtaining credit for involvement in research, students should talk to their departmental adviser.
    • Often credit is offered in the form of a 499 course (e.g., Psych 499, Bioen 499, or CHID 499) and can be applied toward requirements for your major.