Research Experiences

Students in the Westbrook College of Health Professions (WCHP) are active in research and scholarship through coursework that is part of each academic program. Students may also take part in, independent/directed study courses, as well as through paid and volunteer experiences. Many of the research experiences are interprofessional in nature.

Types of Research Involvement

Undergraduate students can be involved in research and scholarship at many levels from observing or participating in several data collections, to participating on a regular basis as a volunteer or for academic credit or a Summer Research Fellowships.

The research work resembles work done in an independent/directed study course in that it is worthy of academic credit, which is awarded for learning accomplished by the student.  Students may work for a stipend if funding is available. Students generally cannot receive both full credit and salary, in some cases a combination of credit and pay may be worked out.  

Three different possible arrangements are outlined below.  Actual terms are worked out between individual students and their faculty sponsors.

Volunteer Researcher

Students often volunteer in the research group of a faculty member.  Volunteers do not receive pay or credit, but can pick up pointers from older undergraduates, sleuth in the library, learn where equipment is kept, how to use some of the computer programs, machinery, etc., while reading about the subject being investigated.  It is common for students to volunteer in the lab before making the commitment to undertake a formal summer research experience; some faculty require it.  Volunteer research is also an alternative for students who have no need of credit and are involved in a research project that is not funded.  The terms of a volunteer commitment are qualitatively the same as those of a research commitment recognized by credit or funding.

Research for Credit

Students can earn academic credit for their research assistance, from one to six or more credits per semester depending upon the amount of work agreed upon by the student and the professor.  Some curricula limit the number of independent/directed study that will count toward a degree so you should check with your academic advisor to find out the requirements for your program. The Independent/Directed study for can be found on the Registrar’s Website under Registration Forms.

WCHP Summer Research Fellowships

WCHP students are eligible to apply for a summer research stipend to perform research full time (40 hours per week) with a faculty mentor and the stipend is $320/week for a minimum of 4 weeks and a maximum of 12 weeks. Applications are generally solicited in the late January or early February with applications due in late February or Early March.
Summer research Fellowships are competitive and students work closely with their faculty mentor in preparing the application.  Therefore, students are strongly encouraged to identify a research mentor early in order to put together a proposal strong enough to be awarded a Fellowship.