What is mentored research?

Want to take an in-depth look at a topic that interests you? Do you have the initiative and self-motivation to be your own boss? Consider researching under the mentorship of a UI faculty member. You'll enhance critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, build a strong relationship with your faculty mentor, and practice collecting, analyzing, and applying data. Research experience is incredibly valuable in preparation for jobs in data analytics, marketing research, financial valuation, and more. And if you are thinking of going to graduate school, research experience is often a requirement.

Why register for a Tippie RISE research course?

Tippie students are encouraged to register for a research course whenever they engage in a research project for an academic term; students doing Honors in the Major or working with Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates have designated courses, all other business undergraduate researchers should take BUS:3600. Research course registration brings a number of benefits for both the students and faculty mentors.

  • Research is clearly noted on student's transcript, which may be beneficial in future graduate school admission or job searching
  • Satisfy the Tippie RISE experiential learning requirement
  • Earn 0-4 semester hours and a letter grade
  • Clarify expectations with your faculty mentor about the research tasks, time commitment, deadlines, and deliverables
  • This in turn can lead to a higher quality and more productive experience for the student and faculty mentor

Compare research course options

Eligibility criteria for BUS:3600

  • Undergraduate researcher is a business or pre-business student
  • Research mentor is a faculty member in the Tippie College of Business
  • Undergraduate researcher participates in research a minimum of 3 hours per week for the majority of the semester or academic term
  • The majority of the tasks completed by the undergraduate researcher require critical thinking and analytical skills, not simply data collection or data entry
  • Enrollment follows the relevant university registration deadlines. 

Steps to sign-up for Mentored Research (BUS:3600)

Step 1: Determine your research interest

First time undergraduate researchers usually prefer to help out with research that a faculty member is doing before taking the lead on a research project. That way, you learn the common procedures and challenges from an experienced researcher. However, if you feel prepared to coordinate a research project, you will still benefit from the support of a faculty member with a similar research background.

Step 2: Find a faculty mentor

This step can be the most time consuming, so make sure to start searching early; preferably in the semester prior. Begin by asking faculty members in your desired major what undergraduate research opportunities they may have available. It may be easiest to start by talking to faculty members and instructors you know, but you can also read the faculty members' profiles on your major department's website to learn their research interests. Keep in mind that sometimes faculty research projects may not be able to accommodate an undergraduate researcher due to the very complicated nature of a particular research project or the stage in the research process.

Step 3: Complete Mentored Research Agreement

Next, you, the student, complete the Mentored Research Agreement (pdf) in consultation with the faculty mentor, then turn it in to the Tippie Undergraduate Program Office, C140 PBB. If all the listed course criteria are met, you would then be given permission to enroll in the course. Please note, if you are not enrolled in classes full time (fall/spring) or it is the summer term, you will be assessed tuition and fees per semester hour. More details about tuition and fees are available online.

Frequently asked questions

What research course options are available for students?

Students completing a thesis for Honors in the Major should register for the course numbered 4999 in the department of their major within Tippie. Students receiving funding through ICRU will be directed to register for URES:3995. Students who wish to earn zero hours, non-business elective hours, or who are conducting research with a faculty member outside of Tippie should register for the appropriate ICRU Research course: URES:3992, URES:3993, or URES:3994. Students not registering for either honors thesis or ICRU should register for BUS:3600. As an independent study, BUS:3600 has no preset meeting times; students should decide with their faculty mentor when and how often to meet. View more information on these course options.

How is BUS:3600 graded?

Additionally, this course is set up to be graded in the traditional scale (A-F), but you can request to change it to pass/non-pass by the add/drop deadline for that academic term. It is up to the faculty mentor’s discretion whether or not to approve such a request. See the academic calendar for more details about deadlines.

How do I decide the number of credit hours the student should earn for the research?

When you enroll in this course, you will select 1-3 semester hours and the specific faculty member, so make sure to decide with the faculty mentor the appropriate semester hours prior to this point. Some students do not have an interest in earning more than one semester hour because they don’t need the additional hours in order to graduate. Other students may want as many hours as possible. Following the general guideline that for each hour in class, a student should spend 2-3 hours outside of class:

  • 1 semester hour: approx. 3 hours of research work per week for 16-week term
  • 2 semester hours: approx. 6 hours of research work per week for 16-week term
  • 3 semester hours: approx. 9 hours of research work per week for 16-week term

Because summer term research is condensed over a 6, 8, or 12 weeks, the guidelines for the number of hours would increase weekly by 1.3 times for the 12 week term, by 2 times for the 8 week term, and by 2.6 times for the 6 week term.

Obviously, there are many aspects of research that would be included in this time, so talk with the faculty mentor about the time commitments prior to determining the number of semester hours that would be appropriate.