Summer Research Program

Aligned with Augustana’s mission to challenge the intellect and engage all students in integrative, experiential learning, Augustana offers faculty-mentored undergraduate research opportunities each summer for all students. When students engage in research, they examine and respond to the needs of their communities. They use their Augustana education to examine complex problems and formulate solutions that improve people’s lives — thereby embodying the vocational purpose central to Augustana’s motto.

To participate in summer research, students must complete the tasks below:

1. Assess one’s qualifications and commitment to the requirements of the program.

To be eligible for summer research, students must exhibit or commit to the following: 

  • Completed at least one year of study and plan to enroll full-time in the Fall term;
  • Maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0;
  • Be available to collaborate with the faculty mentor and complete the project by the end of July;
  • Attend summer research orientation and speaker sessions held every other week throughout the summer;
  • Construct an ePortfolio showcase that captures their learning during the summer;
  • Submit a personal evaluation and project evaluation;
  • Track their hours using a weekly timesheet to ensure the satisfaction of program requirements;
  • Meet with librarians and Writing Center tutors if directed by one’s mentor; and
  • Present their research to the broader Augustana community during the summer research symposium and complete a program evaluation.
2. Locate a faculty mentor.

Many students select a professor within their majors because the research questions they formulated relate to their fields of study. A discipline-specific faculty member, however, is not required. The best mentors will possess the knowledge needed to guide students in their scholarly pursuits. To locate a mentor, students are encouraged to speak to the professors in the areas that interest them to assess their availability during the summer and their background related to their research topics. In some instances, faculty may already be engaged in an existing project and invite students to join them in their research. In other scenarios, students may develop proposals that are independent of, or closely align with, professors’ existing scholarship. In both situations, students will meet routinely with their mentors for feedback.

The frequency of faculty mentorship will depend on the scope of the project. Some research projects require more supervision from faculty than others based on safety risks, use of technology, and the timing of data collection. Students are encouraged to examine and discuss the mentoring relationship as a part of the proposal process. 

3. Engage in vocational reflection and select a research project.

Research projects may be both discipline-specific or interdisciplinary in scope. All methodologies and research designs are suitable given Augustana’s desire to validate or generate new knowledge across every field of study. Projects may include creative activities that leverage research as a way to drive innovation and advance the work of artists. Natural and social science projects that use quantitative or qualitative analysis are also suitable.

4. Formulate your proposal.

Students may choose from two different avenues of engagement.

  • Summer Scholar: Students may propose their own independent project or align their work with the research agenda of the faculty. Working closely with their mentors, students will choose between a 400-hour or 200-hour project. 
  • Research Assistant: Shorter in duration, this 100-hour project permits students to assist professors in their ongoing research. Students will work with their professors to itemize the use of the 100 hours.

Residence Life offers summer housing at a nominal rate for students interested in remaining on campus during the summer. Students may also request funding for laboratory supplies as a part of the application process. Students are encouraged to speak with their academic advisors or contact the Success Center for personal assistance with the application process.