Office of Undergraduate Research

student showing and describing a poster
Photo credit: Scott Shaw

The Office of Undergraduate Research provides intellectual and administrative support for students conducting research with faculty members at Oberlin College.

Some say that undergraduate research was invented at Oberlin. This form of student-faculty collaboration is a central feature of Oberlin’s academic campus culture. Here at Oberlin, every faculty member engages in ongoing research or artistic practice.

On a small, liberal arts campus without graduate students and postdocs, Oberlin undergraduates who participate in research have an opportunity to work closely and directly with their professors to ask questions, design projects, and participate in cutting-edge research. Undergraduate research at Oberlin has long served to amplify student learning, advance faculty scholarship, build strong student-faculty relationships, and contribute to social good.

Oberlin undergraduate research distinguishes itself from other colleges in four key ways:

Oberlin’s historic strengths in the sciences

Among liberal arts colleges, Oberlin has a tremendous reputation for educating students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Research in STEM has been a hallmark of an Oberlin education since the 19th century, when students like Charles Martin Hall used undergraduate work with professors as the foundation for later inventions that had a broad impact on the world. Now, undergraduate research propels Oberlin alumni into careers in science and allied health fields.

Oberlin’s historic strengths outside of the sciences

While many consider undergraduate research to be centrally the purview of the sciences, Oberlin has long-standing and current strengths in research outside of STEM, including in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

Oberlin’s commitments to access, community, and equity in undergraduate research

Oberlin’s Office of Undergraduate Research was originally founded in the early 1990s to provide funding and support for first-generation college students, Pell-grant-eligible students, and students of color to conduct faculty-mentored undergraduate research.

We continue OUR commitment to that mission through OUR cohort programs today.

Oberlin’s commitments to social justice in undergraduate research

Oberlin’s campus culture is highly invested in furthering social justice. Oberlin students regularly use research and community-engaged learning to understand the challenges of the world they live in, and determine ways to change that world.

Read stories of student research at Oberlin.