Collaborative Undergraduate Research and Inquiry
The St. Olaf Collaborative Undergraduate Research and Inquiry (CURI) program provides opportunities for St. Olaf students of all academic disciplines to gain an in-depth understanding of a particular subject through working closely with a St. Olaf faculty member in a research setting.
CURI promotes collaborations between students and faculty during the academic year through our summer program, which supports research projects set both on and off-campus. Throughout the experience, students learn how research is performed in the discipline of their choice. The program is also a good opportunity for students to reflect and further evaluate where their skills, interests, and values best fit with their future professional endeavors. A student interested in applying for the CURI program must be enrolled as a St. Olaf student and be a rising sophomore, junior, or senior. There is no GPA requirement that must be met in order to apply for the program, but a student’s academic record will be considered during the selection process. We also support students engaged in independent research projects during the summer through the Steen Fellowship. During the academic year, we support student travel to present research findings at regional and national conferences. Supported presentations can be based on classroom projects, independent research, or summer research on or off campus.
Research Opportunities at St. Olaf
Research opportunities can be discovered in a variety of settings; talk to faculty members about which classes support original research as well as about how to be involved in each faculty member's current research projects. The Elevator database (https://elevator.stolaf.edu/curi) displays information about recent projects and helps students identify a professor’s area of study. You can also find research posters hanging in hallways throughout the academic buildings. Besides these informal exchanges, students have several options to explore opportunities during the academic year and in the summer.
Typically, students do not earn course credit for summer research because they are paid employees of the college. The remuneration also includes housing on campus. A general email announcement inviting students to apply for summer research is sent to all students early in the second semester. This email directs students to a list of descriptions of projects for which faculty are seeking student collaborators.
There are several ways in which students can participate in undergraduate research during the academic year. Many majors require students to conduct original research in structured seminars. Students may take an Independent Research course and work on a project under the supervision of a faculty member. Another option is our Directed Undergraduate Research (DUR) course. In this course, which may be taught in any department or program, a small group of students work with a faculty member on research. These courses are listed in the class and lab schedule in the Student Information System (SIS) under the "396" code. Students are encouraged to discuss these opportunities with associated faculty.
Finally, each spring students in applied mathematics, statistics, and computer science are invited to apply to be Fellows in the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (CIR) for the following academic year. Eligible statistics students will have completed at least STAT 272, while criteria for students in applied math or computer science will depend on the nature of proposed projects. More information on the CIR is available at wp.stolaf.edu/cir.