Opportunities & Courses

Find Research Courses

Many students at UNC start their research in a class. Taking a class is a great way to find out what research is like in a particular field, to learn techniques for conducting research, and to begin to do your own research. Students who don’t have time to pursue research outside class also find this a great way to work on projects they care about while leaving time for extracurricular activities, athletics, jobs, and other responsibilities.

There are many classes that involve research principles, but the Office for Undergraduate Research has identified some courses that make research a major component of the class. These courses also count toward the requirements of the Carolina Research Scholar Program.

  • Research-related Skills Courses: These courses promote the development of scholarly writing, critical scholarly literature review, and research presentation skills during your undergraduate research experience.
  • Research Methods Courses: These courses will teach you the methods that scholars in a given discipline use to ask and pursue research questions. Please consult the Director of Undergraduate Studies in your major department if you have specific questions about courses that teach research methods.
  • Research Exposure Courses: Research-exposure courses introduce you to research on a particular topic or in a specific field, and will include at least one fully-realized research project as part of coursework.  Each Honors course automatically counts as a Research Exposure Course (certain Honors courses may count as Research Intensive or Research Methods, but they will be listed in those databases. Even Honors courses that are not listed in the Research Exposure course database count as Research Exposure Courses for the purposes of the Carolina Research Scholars Program).Many, but not all, Research Exposure Courses have a graduate student who serves as a consultant to help you with the research project. These “Graduate Research Consultants” (GRCs) are only there to coach you—they do not grade your work.
  • Research-Intensive Courses: Every department offers courses in which over half the course is devoted to students conducting original research and presenting research conclusions. Many of these courses are numbered 195, 295, 395, 495, 595, or 695 (these numbers are reserved for undergraduate research experiences). Review the course catalog to obtain course descriptions and specifics about any prerequisites for these courses, since each department is responsible for their own course offerings. Each semester, most departments also offer other courses which have a substantial research component, but since the amount of time devoted to the research component can change depending on the particular instructor, those courses are not listed here. Questions about specific courses should be addressed to the Director of Undergraduate Studies of the relevant department (in the College), or to the person in charge of undergraduate studies in the professional school that is offering the course.

Students interested in research can also take IDST 184 or IDST 194. These one-credit, pass-fail courses introduce students to research in a variety of fields. In each class session, different researchers from UNC (IDST 194) or triangle-area companies and non-profits (IDST 184) talk to the class about the research they are doing right now and what research looks like in their fields.

  • Modes of Inquiry (IDST 194; formerly IDST 195)
    A one credit pass-fail course open to all students (no prerequisites). Students learn to “host” faculty speakers who will discuss their original work, how they became interested in the field, the methods they use, the satisfaction they derive (and the difficulties they have faced), and how undergraduates can get involved. Students interview faculty prior to the class, and post a background summary on the course website. Students who are engaged in research discuss the value of those experiences and offer advice about getting started and finding a mentor. This course meets one of the requirements of the Carolina Research Scholars Program (CRSP). Faculty are invited to participate by the OUR.
  • Research Beyond Academia (IDST 184)
    A one-credit pass/fail seminar course designed to introduce students to research as it is practiced by researchers in the Triangle and beyond.  Researchers working in state and federal government (e.g., the Environmental Protection Agency) as well as researchers in for-profit and nonprofit organizations (e.g., the Research Triangle Institute or the North Carolina Museum of Art) will address the students in this class. As guest speakers, they will be invited to discuss their research and the development of their careers. Following each guest lecture, there will be a brief question and answer session, during which time students can discuss ideas and ask questions informally of the guest speaker and with each other. Students who are engaged in research also discuss the value of those experiences and offer advice about getting started and finding a mentor.

This course meets one of the requirements of the Carolina Research Scholars Program (CRSP). Enrollment in IDST 184 is limited to a select group of students from the Excel@Carolina program.


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