Department of Your Department

The Undergraduate Research Institute for the
College of Liberal Arts & Human Sciences

A Virginia Tech Exemplary Department

The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Undergraduate Research Institute (URI) provides research opportunities to undergraduates with majors and minors in the College of Liberal Arts & Human Sciences, enabling them to engage in and contribute to the diverse modes of investigation, inquiry, and creative expression characteristic of the liberal arts, fine arts, and human sciences. The URI aids students by:

  • Maintaining a database of available research opportunities
  • Supporting student research by awarding grants to students and college departments
  • Coordinating a recognition program for student researchers and faculty mentors related to undergraduate research
  • Serving as liaison, connecting students interested in research with faculty mentors
  • Offering a range of workshops and coaching sessions designed to help students prepare themselves for meaningful research experiences
  • Coordinating an Undergraduate Research student exchange program with the École de Gouvernance et d'Économie in Rabat, Morocco
  • Sponsoring an Undergraduate Research Institute Scholars Program to support the development of our undergraduate researchers

About the URI

With support from then Dean Jerry Niles, the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences (CLAHS) Undergraduate Research Committee was formed in 2005. A plan to create an Undergraduate Research Institute for CLAHS resulted from the committee’s meetings. Created in 2006, the Undergraduate Research Institute has been recognized as a Virginia Tech Exemplary Department. The Institute is committed to fostering a culture of undergraduate research in CLAHS, and, by providing financial support and professional development opportunities to student researchers, enables them to participate directly in Virginia Tech’s core research mission. The Institute makes possible rich learning experiences by enabling students to pursue research in areas about which they are curious, and by creating opportunities for students to not just learn about an academic discipline but to contribute to and participate in its life. The URI’s support of research also provides opportunities for students to hone skills important for graduate education and for many careers. By supervising international student exchanges, the Institute helps students grow into responsible global citizens, and by incorporating student research projects into those experiences, the Institute makes possible the rare opportunity for international research collaboration at the undergraduate level. The Institute also oversees the publication of the student-led undergraduate research journal Philologia. Philologia is a forum for student researchers to gain recognition by publishing the results of their research, and provides as well opportunities for students to engage with the editorial and publishing aspects of research. The Undergraduate Research Institute was awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates grant in 2012, and continues to partner with departments across CLAHS to provide superior educational experiences.

URI Faculty Board:

Erika Grafsky, Human Development
Jim Kuypers, Communication
Rick Masters, Music
Nancy Metz, English

Luke Plotica, Political Science

Debra Stoudt, Foreign Languages and Literatures
Peter Wallenstein, History

The College of Liberal Arts & Human Sciences Undergraduate Research Institute is located in 232 Wallace Hall. Appointments may be made at any time via email:


Hear from some of our college's undergraduate researchers:


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New Updates

International Undergraduate Research Exchange Program in Rabat, Morocco

Meet our Featured Undergraduate Researchers

CLAHS Students in the News:
Nancy Mason
Alexandria Hubbard

Congratulations to our Fall 2014 Grant recipients!

New faculty research opportunities for students.

Applications for the Undergraduate Diversity Scholars Program are now available.

Need statistical support for your research? Check out LISA, the Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Statistical Analysis. For more information, visit the About LISA webpage.

Contact Info:
Robert Stephens
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs
(540) 231-6770