Classroom learning provides a solid foundation of knowledge and theory, but hands-on experience and research projects are crucial in developing critical thinking, problem-solving, and creative skills. Additionally, participating in research projects can provide you with a deeper understanding of the subject, explore career paths, and help you stand out to graduate programs and potential employers.
Undergraduate Research Opportunities
The College of Sciences & Mathematics offers opportunities for students at all levels to work on a focused, 6-week research project over the summer. Participants can apply for a stipend and housing. Students will gain firsthand experience in being part of a research team as in industry or graduate school, have the opportunity to learn through interactions with other researchers, including faculty mentors, and gain experience with new state-of-the-art instrumentation.
The Scholar communities program was developed as a blend of the structure of a summer session class and a research team focused on a faculty-designed research project. Students typically spend 16-18 hours a week for eight to 10 weeks on a research project, working with several other students and faculty mentors. The Summer Scholar Communities Program differs from traditional undergraduate research because, in addition to participating in their own research projects, the students and faculty from various disciplines have the chance to meet regularly at joint weekly meetings to learn from each other and to present their research findings.
Undergraduate Student Research Symposia
The Belmont University Research Symposium (BURS) began in 1991 by Dr. Donald Ramage, who at that time was the Dean of the School of Sciences. This even occurs annually in April. There were 21 students who presented that first year and it has grown to 284 presenters in 2019. Students from across campus now have the opportunity to present advances in their research discipline. This symposium was created to provide undergraduates an opportunity to conduct independent research and present it to a community of peers. Each spring, students at Belmont gather to present their findings, listen to eminent speakers and enjoy the company of fellow researchers.
Belmont’s College of Sciences & Mathematics hosts the Science Undergraduate Research Symposium (SURS) each fall semester. The first annual event was held December 2, 2004, with 27 presenters and has grown to over 100 presenters in 2019. SURS is the culmination of many hours of undergraduate research work done during the summer and fall with faculty advisors and peers and offers these research students the opportunity to show the Belmont community the interesting research that is being done.
Faculty within the College of Sciences & Mathematics are passionate about providing students with opportunities to present their research findings at national and regional professional conferences. These experiences enhance our students’ communication and presentation skills which are foundational to finding success in the sciences. In a typical year, over one hundred students from the College of Sciences & Mathematics will travel with a faculty member to a regional or national professional college within their discipline, seizing the opportunity to learn about new research findings, network with professionals in the field, and participate in graduate school and job fairs.
Undergraduate Research Seminars & Presentations
BAW is the global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research. Every March, the campaign unites efforts of partner organizations worldwide in a celebration of the brain for people of all ages. Belmont Science Departments have hosted on-campus BAW events for the past decade. Recently, CSM students and faculty have included outreach programs in the planned BAW week.
Faculty and students from across the campus attend and listen to faculty present findings in different areas of research. The aims of this seminar series is to promote interdisciplinary research, foster community and create research opportunities for faculty and students across Belmont.
Each semester, departmental representatives invite scientists from their area of expertise to address current topics, expound upon lecture content and expose students to the wide variety of scientific interests.
In the Fall semester of 2016, the College of Sciences & Mathematics began a student/faculty discussion seminar on Faith and Science. This seminar series continues to investigate the interesting and important interface between science and the Christian faith, and better equips students and faculty to discuss these topics with others at Belmont and the broader community. (link to science & religion club page)
The Vaughn Science Lecture is sponsored annually by Dr. Tony Vaughn, a Belmont alumnus and dentist in Franklin, TN. CSM students, faculty and special guests have the opportunity to attend fascinating lectures presented by scientists who are experts in their fields.
Women in Science is a student organization committed to emphasizing the importance of women in STEM fields, making science more relatable and accessible to female students and heightening publicity of Belmont’s science programs.