The effectiveness of undergraduate research programs: A follow-up study

Linda S. Hirsch, Angelo Perna, John Carpinelli, Howard Kimmel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations


Graduate work, especially the Ph.D., requires extensive research, a skill not often emphasized in undergraduate programs. Although not much is known about all the factors that influence undergraduate students' decision to pursue or not pursue graduate studies, particularly in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, recent research indicates that many undergraduates feel unprepared for graduate studies and view the research requirement as a deterrent. Opportunities for undergraduates to engage in research have increased recently as a result of federally funded programs including Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs), McNair Achievement Programs and Bioengineering and Bioinformatics Summer Institutes (BBSI). Students work in research laboratories during the summer, interact with faculty and graduate students, learning hands-on how to do research. The Attitudes toward Graduate Studies Survey was developed to help evaluate the effectiveness of these programs at New Jersey Institute of Technology. Students who participate in these programs show increases in their attitudes toward graduate studies and have significantly higher attitudes than students who do not participate. Often students indicate confidence in their ability to pursue graduate studies but only a small percentage think that they will have the skills necessary to begin a Ph.D. program when they complete their undergraduate degree. A possible conclusion is that even though students feel confident in their academic abilities they do not feel confident enough about their research skills to complete a Ph.D. program, making research programs such as REU's, BBSI and McNair, necessary. A follow-up study of students who attended these programs at NJIT over the last decade has found that participation in these programs increases attendance in graduate programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2012 Frontiers in Education Conference
Subtitle of host publicationSoaring to New Heights in Engineering Education, FIE 2012 - Proceedings
StatePublished - 2012
Event42nd Annual Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2012 - Seattle, WA, United States
Duration: Oct 3 2012Oct 6 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE
ISSN (Print)1539-4565


Other42nd Annual Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySeattle, WA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


  • Attitudes toward Engineering
  • Attitudes toward Graduate Studies
  • McNair
  • Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)


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