The G&G program strongly encourages undergraduate students to participate in cutting-edge research as early as possible. Such research can culminate in the senior project, but at an early stage it can be undirected, allowing students to sample a variety of research avenues. Advisers recognize that many undergraduate students do not have prior experience in their specific research topics, so on-site training is considered the norm. Students are encouraged to take initiative in seeking out potential advisers for research, introducing themselves by email and setting up appointments to discuss specific opportunities.
Research topics in G&G are highly variable, not only in the problems being addressed (climate, energy & environment, paleontology, seismology, etc.), but also in the day-to-day operations of the work. For example, some research topics are strongly field-oriented, whereas others may involve more extensive laboratory work or computer programming. Undergraduates considering research should first decide whether they plan to do their research during the semester or the summer, or both. They should also think about the kind of day-to-day work activities they envision for themselves, which can broadly be grouped into the categories of field work, laboratory work, or computer programming. Much information on research topics can be gained by browsing the Yale G&G faculty web pages.
If research is planned during the semester, then students should choose among three options: work for course credit (G&G488a or G&G489b, available to juniors and seniors with DUS approval), work for pay, or volunteer. Work for pay is dependent on the availability of funds; opportunities are listed below. Extensive field work is not possible during the school term, thus research at these times is limited to laboratory-based or computer-intensive work. Individual work and wage plans can be devised by each student in consultation with his or her potential adviser.
If research is planned during the summer, students should begin planning as early as the preceding December, for many of the funding opportunities have application deadlines in January or February (see below). Field work usually entails funding of all travel and cost-of-living expenses, but no further salary for time in the field. However, field projects are usually only 2-6 weeks long, so it may be possible to divide one’s summer into a field component and a laboratory- or computer-based component. Individual work and wage plans can be devised by each student in consultation with his or her potential adviser.
Many research fellowship opportunities are listed, and arranged by application deadline, on the Yale College Science & Quantitative Reasoning website.
In support of research in Geology & Geophysics, there are the following specific opportunities:
- Karen Von Damm ‘77 Undergraduate Research Fellowships in G&G – Applications due in Nov-Dec.
- Yale Tetelman Fellowships for International Research in the Sciences – Applications due in Feb.
- Yale Environmental Summer Fellowship – Applications due in Feb.
- Yale College Dean’s Research Fellowships (including the Heywood Fellowship for the Physical Sciences) – Applications due in March
- SURGE (Summer Undergraduate Research in Geoscience and Engineering) at Stanford University – Applications due in February; women and ethnic minorities particularly encouraged to apply
- If all other attempts at finding research funds fail, please contact the G&G Director of Undergraduate Studies for further suggestions.
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