All students should be compensated and recognized for their research.

Some students feel experience is enough compensation. Others prefer to be paid. Many students do research for academic credit. This page guides you through your options.


Being a student is expensive. For many students, volunteering or getting course credit may not be a viable option. This often creates issues of inequity for very valuable experiential learning opportunities. Not all research positions are able to offer financial compensation. If you are a student who needs financial compensation in a research experience where no funding is available, ask your mentor if they are willing to help you find your own funding. Here are some funds available to UI students: 

Follow OUR's Newsletter "OUR Updates" for scholarship and funding opportunities that we hear about.

Research Courses

OUR Independent Study Courses

OUR offers research courses each semester, available for registration through MyUI. Students and mentors should agree on an appropriate number of credit hours and grading expectations prior to registration.

  • Note: According to University of Iowa Guidelines, 1 semester hour of credit is equal to approximately three hours of research work per week.  Please register accordingly. 
Students in round-table research discussion

URES:3992 is a 0-semester hour course evaluated R/W (Registered/Withdrawn) and does not affect GPA.  This course provides transcript verification of a student's participation in research during the semester.  

Students should register for this course if they:

  • Are paid.  (Students cannot receive course credit and payment for the same work.)
  • Are volunteering in a research position.
  • Do not want to accrue extra tuition costs or fees (i.e. Summer semesters).

URES:3993 can be taken for 1-4 semester hours, meaning extra tuition and fees may be applicable where appropriate.  This course is graded S/U (Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory) and does not affect GPA.

URES:3994 can be taken for 1-4 semester hours, meaning extra tuition and fees may be applicable where appropriate.  This course is graded on an A-F basis and does affect GPA.


Departmental Courses

Many departments offer research/creative study courses for majors. Talk to an academic advisor to determine the appropriate course. 


University Honors and Honors in the Major

Collection of Honors Theses

University of Iowa Honors Program.  UIHP students may register for HONR:3994 (Honors Research Practicum). Please see the Honors Program website for information.

Honors in the Major Refer to "Departmental Courses" above.  URES and HONR courses are not the same as departmental research courses.  Departments may or may not accept URES courses for Honors in the Major.  This needs to be verified with the department BEFORE registration. 


Senior/Honors Thesis Project

A thesis or other senior project is an original contribution to inquiry or art.  Students choose a  topic of interest and conduct a small, independent research project or complete a creative piece. 

Students pursuing Honors in the Major (aka Departmental Honors) need to know:

  • A student's thesis must be done under faculty supervision.
  • Thesis work often counts for 3-6 semester hours of  academic credit.
  • Projects usually take one to two semesters to design, complete, defend, and submit.  
  • Theses are typically completed in the student’s junior or senior year.  

Students interested in Honors in the Major should contact their major department or academic advisor fort more information.

Mix & Match

YES! You can get paid for your work and earn credits - you just can't get paid and credit for the same hours. Many students mix and match, depending on their semester. Credit hours can be a great way to fill in needed hours during tough semesters or bolster a GPAs, even if you still need money. As long as you keep track of your credit hours and paid hours separately, this is a viable option. Always discuss your preferences with your mentor first.

University of Iowa Certificates

Research may count toward a student's certificate. The University of Iowa offers a broad variety of Undergraduate Certificates, including those listed below.  For a more complete list of certificates by college, visit the UIowa Admissions Webpage.

​Certificate in Clinical and Translational Sciences
The Undergraduate Certificate in Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) is a selective certificate program designed to complement mentored research.  CCTS strengthens  academic knowledge and interest in biomedical research or policy in areas like chemistry, biology, physiology, and health sciences. Visit the Institute for Clinical and Translational Science website for more information.

Certificate in Museum Studies
Students of all majors can benefit from earning a Museum Studies Certificate.  Courses introduce students to the spectrum of museum endeavors, from organization and mission planning to institutional histories and current developments within the field. The Museum Studies program offers courses that are of value to those pursuing museum-related careers, or those with a general interest in the arts, sciences, or humanities.

Certificate in Global Health Studies
A Certificate in Global Health Studies provides an introduction to an academic field experience that is often needed in order to be competitive for post-graduation opportunities. This program includes a final project and presentation, ultimately preparing students for advanced academic work and careers in global health.

Writing Certificate
Certificate students explore and develop their own writing skills in a wide range of genres and for varied purposes, including creative writing (fiction, nonfiction, poetry); writing for the professions, such as the arts, business, journalism, or science; writing for organizations; and writing related to personal interests.

Have your compensation figured out? 

See how to make the most out of your experience at "What Next?" or look into "Summer Research Experiences".