Undergraduate Research Opportunities

To engage all students in experiential learning, Luther College undergraduate research opportunities are available year-round. Through research, Luther students examine complex problems and formulate solutions.

Luther offers a variety of programs for students to participate in undergraduate research and collaboration in research with faculty mentors. Students also have opportunities to present their work, both on campus and at regional and national conferences.

Through research experiences students:

  • Advance their knowledge in the chosen project area
  • Foster professional relationships with faculty
  • Build important transferable skills

Explore examples of student research projects

Get Involved with Research At Luther College

From summer-long to year-round research projects, there is generous funding available to undertake research projects at Luther College and through outside programs you wish to pursue.

Research Assistantships are opportunities for students to conduct research or a creative activity in partnership with a Luther College faculty member, often as part of an ongoing faculty research project. Assistantships are available during both the academic year and summer.

How the Student Research Assistantship Program works

  • Faculty supervisors initiate & request a Research Assistant position. Research opportunities may be coordinated directly between the supervisor and a student or be posted as an available position through Handshake.
  • The faculty supervisor evaluates student applications for a position, may request individual student interviews or additional information, and selects qualified student(s) for the position.
  • Research assistants will be paid an hourly wage for project work. The wage level may vary with funding source and position expectations, but must be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Research.

2023-2024 Academic Year Student Research Assistantships

  • Research assistantships during the fall or spring semesters are limited to 8 hours per week.
  • A student’s research assistantship hours will be coordinated with other work study hours and cannot not exceed the maximum amount allowed under a student’s work study award.
  • Research work must be done primarily on the Luther campus.
  • Applications for funding will be reviewed at the beginning of each term and will be approved for a single term. Reapplying for funding for a second term is permitted but priority for funding will be given to student/faculty pairs that have not been previously funded through the program.

Summer Research Assistantships

  • Summer research takes place May through August (dates vary by project) and work times (maximum 40 hours per week) will vary by position. Expectations for a position will included in the posted position and related questions should be directed to the faculty supervisor.
  • Research work must be done primarily on the Luther College campus. Students working at least 20 hours per week will qualify for a room in a Luther residence hall. On-campus housing may be included in research assistantship contracts.
  • Students working full-time as research assistants cannot hold other positions or be involved in courses on campus.

Requests for funding from the Office of the Provost for Summer 2024 Research Assistant positions will be evaluated beginning March 1, 2024. 

Visit KATIE to learn more about Research Assistantships

The Research Scholars Program provides students with an opportunity to engage in an in-depth learning experience that builds upon and extends classroom learning. Students are invited to propose a research project and grants are awarded to to work on the research project during a summer session, guided by faculty mentors.

How the Research Scholars Program Works:

  • The Research Scholars Program supports student-designed research projects. We encourage students interested in submitting a proposal to discuss ideas with faculty in related fields. To submit an application for this program, a student will need to identify a faculty advisor willing to guide the progress of the project.
  • Students from all majors are invited to submit a research proposal for the Research Scholars Program. The designated faculty mentor will be asked to submit a recommendation form for the student and agree to participate in the project.
  • A faculty committee reviews the proposals and recommends awards.
  • Selected student participants receive a $1500 stipend and on-campus housing during the program. It is encouraged for students to complete project work at Luther College, but not required. Applications involving justified work away from campus will be considered. In addition, the student-faculty team may apply for funding for expenses associated with the project.
  • During the project, research scholars engage with other research students during workshops, lunches to share experiences, and other events.
  • Research Scholars are required to present to the broader Luther community during an on-campus symposium within a year of completing the project.

Application details and materials for the Research Scholars Program can be found on the Undergraduate Research KATIE page. Applications for the Summer 2024 program are due March 1, 2024.

Visit KATIE to learn more about the Research Scholars Program

The Steen Fellowship aims to support student-initiated projects that demonstrate independent scholarship, investigation, and creativity. Student Steen Fellows pursue projects independently of faculty supervision.

How the Steen Fellowship Program Works

  • A rising junior or senior student interested in undertaking independent scholarship in any field related to their college studies is welcome to apply for a Steen Fellowship. Project proposals should be student-initiated, developed with the guidance of faculty, but the project should not require faculty supervision.
  • Projects should be designed and carried out by the applicant in an 8-10 week period during the summer and should culminate in some sort of public report, presentation, performance or display.
  • A faculty committee reviews the proposals and recommends awards based on quality, feasibility and originality of the proposal. Successful proposals must fit the applicant’s background, qualifications, and goals.
  • The program will award up to two Steen Fellowships each year of up to $5000 each. An awardee may use funds to support project work, travel, and student stipend (following provided budget guidelines). Fellowships may not be used to for support of internships or for formal study at other academic institutions. On-campus housing is not included as project work away from campus is encouraged for this program.

Application details and materials for the Steen Fellowship Program can be found on the Undergraduate Research KATIE page.

Visit KATIE to learn more about the Steen Fellowship Program

Share Your Discoveries

There are many opportunities to showcase your research from on-campus symposia to professional conferences.

Presenting Research

Presenting research is a core part of the student research experience. At Luther College, students have multiple opportunities to present research to public and professional communities.

On-Campus Opportunities

There are opportunities to present your research at Luther during each term. Events include:

  • Internship & Summer Research Showcase: This event occurs in conjunction with Family Weekend each fall
  • Fall Semester Poster Symposium: This event occurs in December on the last Thursday of the fall semester
  • Learning at Luther Showcase: Each spring, Luther holds a day dedicated to gathering the Luther community to share and celebrate scholarly work.

Off-Campus Opportunities

Some Luther College students also present research at regional or national research conferences. Students should consult with their faculty research mentors early in the research process if they are interested in presenting at a larger-scale conference as abstract submissions are commonly due months before conferences occur. Students whose presentations have been accepted at an academic conference can apply for a student travel grant.

We are excited to offer funding to support student research travel. Funds are available for specifically for students to travel to an academic conference, meeting or event to present their research work. Students whose research presentations have been accepted at an academic conference can apply for a student travel grant.

The amount of funding available each year varies and funding decisions are made in the order they are received. Please make your request for funds at least four weeks prior to the date the funds are needed and/or prior to the date of travel. The requesting student and faculty advisor will be notified about the funding decision. Priority will be given to students who have participated in a Luther College research program (research scholars, assistantships, or Steen Fellows) and have not previously been awarded a travel grant through this program.

Students may apply for grants to cover expenses for travel, registration fees, and lodging (meal costs will not be covered, unless included as part of registration fees). Due to limited funds available, a cap of $400 will be placed on each grant. However, we ask that you itemize all of your expenses regardless of the cap to assist in the allocation process.

Apply for Student Research Travel Funds

The poster printer is located in Valders 377. This printer is designated for academic poster printing only. Students are permitted to print posters for presentations at academic conferences or on-campus events.

In order to print a poster, a faculty member must fill out the Request Access to Valders Poster Printer Form to request student access to the printer. Please note the access requests require two business days to process so must be made in advance to printing.

For on-campus poster presentations, the dimensions of your poster cannot exceed 42″ x 36″. To print, the poster file must be in PowerPoint (NOT Google Slides).

The Undergraduate Research poster boards and easels can be checked-out for use on campus. To make a request, please fill out the Easel and Poster Board Check-Out Form.