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Undergraduate Research

Research Opportunities

The department offers many opportunities for undergraduates to conduct research in collaboration with our faculty. Joining one of the department research groups will help you understand how natural science research is designed and conducted, and will provide you with research skills that will benefit you in your courses, and that will be valuable in your future career. You will also learn how to interact and communicate with faculty and other researchers, gain new mentors and friends, and learn to work effectively in a team. Research experience is essential for any student planning to apply to a PhD program.

Conducting independent research with our faculty is one of the very best ways to explore your interests and build your resume for grad school and/or a career in geosciences. We encourage you to explore this possibility, either through UROP or by contacting our faculty members directly. See the department website for a list of research groups. Advisors can help you with this process.

Students can earn academic credit (EARTH 299, 498, or 499) for working in a research lab. 


The Honors major is tailored to fit the interests of qualified students and offers an opportunity to increase the breadth and depth of their undergraduate experience. Honors students complete a thesis by the end of their senior year under the supervision of a faculty advisor. Many Honors majors finish their undergraduate career with a paper ready to publish in an academic journal, which can be a significant advantage when applying to graduate school.

The University of Michigan Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP)

UROP creates partnerships between students and Michigan faculty, providing a wealth of research opportunities for students primarily with freshman or sophomore standing without previous research experience. More than 1000 students work on real research and real scholarship with over 600 faculty members. For more information about research opportunities at the University of Michigan please refer to the UROP webpage.

Student Research Grants

The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences will accept applications on a rolling basis (any time) from undergraduates doing research in a lab in the department. Funds may be requested to support travel to a conference (e.g., regional or national scientific meetings), field-based studies, or for small, well-defined on-campus research projects. For full details see here.