Research Experiences for DKH Majors
Engaging actively in independent research serves an advantage in developing research skills and preparing students for the rigors of graduate school. It is a great opportunity to develop competencies as a scientist and benefit from the strong mentorship of a department faculty member. Students may conduct research for credit under two formal course mechanisms: Independent Study and the Department Honors Research Program.
Students interested in conducting research with a faculty member — and who would like to obtain course credit for doing so — should consider registering for a research-oriented Independent Study. This is a great way to experience first-hand what it is like to be part of a research team.
We encourage students to seek out research opportunities during their second year so that they can be a part of a lab for 2-3 years. It is critical for students to establish relationships with faculty and gain research experience in their second and third years to optimize their letters of recommendation and graduate school applications.
Receiving Course Credit
The Independent Study course is worth 1-3 credits. Three hours of research per week are required per credit (i.e., 1 credit = 3h/week, 2 credits = 6h/week and 3 credits = 9h/week). Enrolled students are under the supervision of the research mentor and the number of credits that the student enrolls in should be mutually agreed upon by the student and research mentor. Students must apply and register for Independent Study for each Semester they participate.
Students are allowed to conduct research in labs outside of the Department of Kinesiology and Health. However, if students conduct research in a lab outside of the Department of Kinesiology and Health, they must also obtain a mentor within the Department to co-supervise their independent study.
How to Enroll in an Independent Study
Students must identify a faculty mentor they are interested in working with and work with that professor to develop a directed plan of study for each term. Students can review research labs in the Department of Kinesiology and Health here. Once the faculty mentor and student establish a plan of study, the student will need to complete the form (select the appropriate form for your major below) and obtain all relevant signatures.
Once the form is completed, it must be submitted via email to the DKH Undergraduate Director, Andrea Spaeth (
Students must email the completed form at least 1 business day prior to the end of the add/drop period. Paperwork is processed during business hours 8:30am-4:30pm. Given that multiple signatures of approval are needed to complete the Independent Study form, we encourage students to begin the process at least 1 month before the beginning of each semester.
ADDITIONAL RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES
Volunteer Research Assistantships
The ability to evaluate the reliability and validity of scientific information in places like journals, magazines and newspapers is critical to functioning in the medical community as physical or occupational therapists, physicians, nurses, etc.
While classroom instruction provides basic knowledge about research with human subjects, knowledge in action is equally important. To that end, we encourage students to volunteer to help on research projects in the labs of our faculty. Being part of a research team provides students with close-up, hands-on experience in how collaborative research is conducted and what goes into producing a finished, published document. Importantly, it also provides opportunities to sharpen students’ critical thinking and research skills, which are useful in all domains of life.
There are several ways for students to find available opportunities:
- Check with the faculty members teaching classes you find interesting and excel in
- Check with fellow students
- Check with the Undergraduate Director
- Visit the Department’s research page which lists each faculty member’s lab
- Visit other Departments research pages in areas you are interested in (i.e., psychology, biology, sociology, chemistry)