Research at F&M

Are there theories or questions you’re eager to investigate? You can at F&M. The cornerstone of our educational experience is students working and learning side-by-side with faculty who want to help you test ideas — not just talk or read about them.

Investigate, Explore, Uncover

While most undergraduate institutions reserve research opportunities for students in their graduate programs, we want you to engage now — not later. At F&M, you’ll find invaluable opportunities to convert theory into practice and enjoy hands-on experience in and out of the classroom. You may even see your name in print, with your work earning you a research publication (or two!). 

“I knew a lot of people did research at F&M, but I didn’t think I would be one of those people. Now I can’t imagine not doing it.”

– Georgia May '25, who completed research testing robot-child interaction and learning.

“This research project—and also just being at a liberal arts school—has opened up these different windows of opportunities to explore these different interests that I didn't think I would have the chance to do otherwise.”

– Lauren Chen '23, who completed research studying COVID-19 and its impact on adult English language learners' interest in taking an online English class in the future.


Curious How Research at F&M Works?

These experiences are typically led by faculty or are completed through an independent study.


Faculty-Led Research

Our faculty are engaged, accomplished scholars who conduct groundbreaking work in their fields of expertise. They not only bring their vast wells of knowledge and passion to the classroom every day, but they also offer remarkable opportunities for you to join their research projects, allowing you to leave your footprint on what sometimes are years-long endeavors. 

Research in Your Courses

Many professors weave their ongoing research into their coursework. This means that you and your classmates will engage in research as part of your class assignments. Your part in the project would conclude at the end of the semester when your class is complete. 

Research Outside of the Classroom

You may find professors offering research opportunities outside of your coursework. This means you would engage in this research on your own time, though you may apply to receive academic credit for the experience. These opportunities may take place throughout the academic year or as part of our Summer Research Scholars program.

Summer Research Scholars

A centerpiece of faculty and student joint research at F&M is the Summer Research Scholars program, funded in part by an endowment created by an alumnus, William Hackman of the Class of 1939, and his wife, Lucille. The program involves 80 to 100 students working side-by-side each summer with more than 50 faculty members across campus in innovative projects that span the natural sciences, humanities, social sciences and the arts

The 5- to 10-week period of intense research allows for focused attention on a problem and sometimes results in co-authorship of a publication in a peer-reviewed journal or other professional output. Some students have had as many as six co-authored publications from their F&M research; others have seen their research incorporated into public history walking tours or constructed as historic costumes.

Independent Studies

Do you have a theory you can’t wait to test out? Or a burning question you need to investigate? Or maybe you want to write a novel, produce a play, or compose a piece of music. You can do all of these for academic credit! These independent studies originate with and are led by you in close collaboration with a faculty member. They’re usually completed in your junior or senior year and, if your project is approved, you can apply for grants to help fund your research or project.

F&M Student Research in Action

June 5, 2024

Willie Wilson Awarded NSF CAREER Grant for Computer Science

Ongoing research into robots and machine ethics has resulted in a prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER grant for Jason “Willie” Wilson, assistant professor of computer science at F&M.

May 29, 2024

Student Startup Promotes Responsible AI Use

A recent F&M graduate and a current student hope to harness the power of artificial intelligence to help students learn.

May 24, 2024

Faculty Awarded Over $2.63 Million in Recent Grants & Fellowships

This semester, more than $2,630,627 in grant and fellowship opportunities was awarded to faculty across various departments, with many award announcements still pending.