Student Research & Innovation

Gain hands-on research experience while studying as an undergraduate.

The opportunity to conduct hands-on research alongside faculty experts as well as graduate students is part of what distinguishes a CAS education. In humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and math and computer science, each year our students have their work published, present at professional conferences, and earn recognition from peers, mentors, and leading experts. Students can pursue research in their major, in a related field of study, or in an entirely different area, even working with faculty in one of BU’s professional schools such as the School of Management or School of Education.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program

The main vehicle for this research activity is the BU-wide Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). Students participating in UROP are awarded stipends to participate in a 10-week program over the course of the semester. Students can also request funds for supplies or for travel to present at conferences or perform research in the field.

Most students in UROP are CAS students; in 2017-18, CAS students completed 559 UROP projects, and 390 CAS students received funding for supplies, travel, or other research needs. Each year, approximately 25 to 30 CAS students have their research published—a major achievement that helps set them apart in the eyes of graduate schools and employers.

Recent examples of CAS student research include:

  • Archaeology: “Early Agriculture in the Islamic Golden Age city of Kath: An Archaeobotanical Analysis” (Sydney Hunter)
  • Biology: “CRISPR-Based Knockdown and Repair of the Nemo Gene as a Model for Cancer and Immunodeficiency Therapy” (David Liu)
  • History: “Making a Radical: Labor, Ideologies, and the 1913 Paterson Silk Strike” (Anna Stroinski)
  • International Relations: “Cyprus in the Nuclear Age” (Anna Ellis)
  • Physics: “Machine Learning and Ecologically Inspired Computing” (Owen Howell)

Honors Research Travel Awards

The CAS Honors Research Travel Award program funds grants of up to $1,000 for travel to conduct research by advanced undergraduates pursuing the B.A. with honors in any College of Arts & Sciences major. Learn more

Innovation Resources

At CAS, you have the opportunity to participate in projects that prepare you for the flexible, innovative and collaborative nature of the most coveted positions in today’s workplace.

  • Attention rising juniors and seniors: The BU Cross-College Challenge (XCC) is a project-based, one-semester elective course that’s open to juniors and seniors in most of BU’s undergraduate schools and colleges. By working on an XCC project, you develop your research ability, information literacy, capacity to collaborate, and oral communication skills. You also gain the interdisciplinary team experience that 21st-century employers and graduate schools expect.
  • BUild Lab, which is part of Innovate @ BU, connects you with like-minded students, so you can take part in workshops and gain support and resources to foster your entrepreneurial ambitions.
  • BU Spark! is part of the Hariri Institute for Computing and supports student-driven innovation and entrepreneurship in computer science, computer engineering, and related disciplines. Check out BU Spark!’s fellowship program, CAS course offerings, network of resources, young alumni, and experts who can help you achieve your goals.