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Awarding Credit

Students working on scholarly projects (research, creative works, etc.) under the guidance of an instructor or professor can receive academic credit for their efforts.  A student should communicate with a research advisor prior to registering for credits in order to be clear about the expectations, time commitment, number of credits to sign up for, etc.  The following bullets may be helpful in thinking about credit for research, innovation, creativity and scholarship. 


  • Registration:  Most often the student will register for XX401: Undergraduate Research.  If students are working towards a thesis, XX403 may also be an option.
  • Credit towards graduation: In some cases, 401 or 403 credits can count towards graduation requirements, most often as an elective credit under the major.
  • Expectations:  Faculty should clearly communicate expectations with regard to level of effort (how many hours/week?, level of independence?, adherence to checkpoints?), product (paper, presentation, notebook, etc.), and how a grade will be assigned. For one credit, a student should expect to spend a total of 4-6 hours/wk on the project.
  • Communication: Lack of communication is the quickest way to derail a research experience.  Faculty should be clear with students about expectations for frequency of communication, method of communication (in person, email, etc.), and what is expected during the communication (updates on progress, examine notebooks, etc.)
  • Assigning a grade: In assigning a grade, you can consider the level of effort, the quality of the work, the initiative and originality, progress, and other factors that are relevant to the project.  It is best to avoid the grade of Incomplete, though it may be appropriate in some cases.  Unlike graduate programs, thesis credit (403) cannot be reserved until completion of the thesis.