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Research and Creative Practice at UW-Madison

Research and creative practice can help undergraduates explore academic paths, get hands-on experience relevant to graduate/professional school, consider career paths, and become eligible for scholarships and grants. Most of all it is a way to develop and follow your curiosity as a scholar and growing academic.

There are several paths for undergraduates to get involved in research or creative practice at UW. URS is just one specific way. Click here for more information on other paths.

Learn more about the URS Scholar experience by viewing this recent URS Scholar video, produced in spring 2021. The video features five Undergraduate Research Scholars representing a variety of research and creative practice placements. Time to cue the music and let some of our Scholars speak for themselves…



The URS Program

The Undergraduate Research Scholars (URS) program is a high-impact practice (HIP) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  The program facilitates learning both the skills of your field and acquiring an interdisciplinary perspective on research, and creative practices. URS is also for those that are interested in developing critical thinking skills, communication skills, and growing as an informed well-rounded scholar.

URS is dedicated to enhancing the academic experience of UW-Madison students by providing first- and second-year undergraduates, and transfer students in their first year at UW with opportunities to earn credit for participating in research and creative practice with UW-Madison faculty and staff.

URS was created with the Wisconsin Idea and the university’s mission – to create, integrate, transfer, and apply knowledge – in mind.

The program includes two main components:

Partnerships between Mentors and Scholars. Scholars are matched with a Mentor from the UW-Madison faculty or staff for a year long research or creative practice project. Mentors facilitate Scholar education by giving them hands on experience and skill development in a particular field. Scholars also receive peer mentorship from two Fellows who are upper-level students with experience in research or creative practice.

Weekly seminars. Scholars take a weekly seminar facilitated by URS Fellows. Seminars are small classes where Scholars engage with a variety of topics related to the implications of research and creative practice in the world. Scholars also develop critical thinking, writing, and research presentation skills.

URS is made up of three important communities:

The Communities of URS

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Scholars are first- and second- year students or transfer students in their first year at UW. They attend weekly seminars every Wednesday, and participate in a mentored research or creative practice project. For more information about Scholars, click here.


Fellows are upper-level students who lead Wednesday seminars for Scholars, and build class plans & syllabi with the supervision of the URS staff. Fellows are hired by the URS program and trained as peer mentors. They often serve as the first point of contact for Scholars as they navigate their research and creative practice experiences. For more information about fellowing, click here.


Mentors are UW-affiliated faculty and staff (i.e. professors, Principal Investigators, senior scientists…) from any discipline who offer year-long research or creative practice projects for Scholar participation. Mentors provide hands-on introductory education to their field of practice. To learn more about mentoring, click here.

Mission Statement

  • We bring together first- and second- year undergraduates, and transfer students with faculty and staff to enhance the university’s mission of research and creative endeavor
  • We help to create a diverse and inclusive scholarly community.
  • We develop leadership through peer mentoring
  • We assist students in planning challenging post-baccalaureate opportunities