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Research Opportunities

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The Honors Program offers unparalleled opportunities to conduct original research. Students must apply for research positions, but, after you're accepted, work begins as early as the summer before you matriculate at Clarkson. This is a key part of our five-week "Pre-Frosh" Summer Research Program. In any of the following summers, you can apply to the Summer Research Program, doing up to 10 weeks of cutting edge research in a Clarkson laboratory, or an independent project under the guidance of a faculty member in engineering, business, or arts & sciences.  We strongly encourage students to "leverage" their Clarkson experiences and seek opportunities in national internship programs such as the NSFs Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, EPA, Amgen and DoE. Your research experience will culminate in the Honors Thesis, which is a piece of publishable quality scholarship, conducted under individual supervision of a faculty mentor.  

Imagine applying to graduate school or your first job with several summers of research or project experience, an original Honors thesis, and perhaps even a peer-reviewed publication or patent on your resumé!  

We say "research" because that is the general term for the work that we do in universities, but as well as wearing a lab coat and peering into microscopes, you can conduct surveys, develop a business plan, study science fiction, write a play, or design a smart phone app!  And these are just some of the projects undertaken by current students.  

Summer Research

Summer Research is one of the highlights of the  Honors Program at Clarkson University.  It is often recalled by graduating seniors as a transformative experience, both for the cutting-edge research, design and creative skills acquired in the laboratory or field, and the life-long friendships forged on picnics on summer evenings and weekends. 

All Honors students in good standing are eligible to apply to conduct research work with a faculty advisor on campus in the summer.  The Honors Program provides on-campus housing and a modest meal stipend.  For upper class current students who join our 10-week program, an additional stipend is available on a competitive basis.  Students are housed on campus and they participate in a variety of trips and other sponsored extracurricular activities, all while conducting research on campus and in the field.

If you have been accepted to the Honors Program, you are eligible to apply to participate in our five-week "Pre-Frosh" Summer Research Program starting even before your first official semester at Clarkson!  Pre-Frosh students get to know the campus and faculty and make friends with other students before the mad rush at the start of the academic year.  All incoming accepted Honors Program students are eligible to apply, and the Honors Program covers the expense of on-campus apartment-style housing and provides a modest weekly stipend for meals.  Please note that participation in Pre-Frosh Summer Research is not guaranteed.  Accepted students are placed in the program depending on the availability of Faculty Advisors and upperclassmen peer mentors.  We do our best to match Pre-Frosh students based on their anticipated major and areas of interest. 

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Honors Thesis

The Honors Thesis is required of all students who graduate with the Honors degree.  The Honors Thesis is a written manuscript that presents original scholarship conducted under the guidance of a faculty mentor. It is typically based on research, design or creative work within the student’s major field of inquiry, but it is also possible to engage in other fields as long as the work meets appropriate level of scholarly achievement in that field. Most of our students do projects with some kind of “experimental design,” which traditionally advances a hypothesis to be proved or disproved, but students may pursue a literary undertaking (e.g. a novel or screenplay, or a series of poems, plays, or short stories), a portfolio of creative works (e.g. paintings, photographs, or digital media), an installation (e.g. sculpture or museum exhibit), a design project or a business plan.  

Go to Honors Thesis

Research Assistantships and Internships

Many Honors students also do research during the semester on projects and/or in laboratories at Clarkson University, sometimes for credit, sometimes for pay, and sometimes simply for the value of the experience.  Some students also leverage their Clarkson experience to obtain prestigious Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) opportunities at other institutions across the nation and even overseas. Finally, some of our students do research while on summer internships at NASA or the FBI, or while on internships and co-ops in industrial/corporate R&D.

You can learn more about activities of our students on our Student Achievements page.

"Honors summer research is an essential part of a Clarkson education. During my summers of research in ’09 & ’10, my mentor challenged and guided me to tap abilities that I didn’t know I had."
Jeevaka Somaratna '12, Goldwater Scholar 2011