Undergraduate Research Experience in Statistics

Beginning in Fall 2014, the Department of Statistics began offering the opportunity for undergraduate students to participate in a research experience with faculty for a full semester. This is the Undergraduate Research Experience in Statistics (URES).


  • Students can apply to a specific research topic or to the URES program in general. Sponsoring faculty will receive a list of all applications and will contact those students whom they wish to offer a research role.
  • The student-faculty research pair will discuss their mutual interests in statistics and agree upon an area of study, goals, and a progress schedule for the semester.
  • Student researchers will learn best practices in preparation, interaction with fellow research team members, communication of ideas and results, and presentation of research findings through posters and papers.
  • Student researchers will get to enroll in STAT 391: Honors Individual Study for credit and a letter grade. Since this is a additional honors experience to the curriculum, the credit hours earned from the URES will not count towards major requirements for the degree. (For summer appointments, enrollment in STAT 391 is optional.)
  • Students will likely also have developed the material and ability to submit for presentation at the yearly campus-wide Undergraduate Research Symposium in April.
  • Students are encouraged to write a summary report paper or create a presentation poster chronicling their efforts for consideration at the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium. Superior research and work might possibly also be polished for submission to an undergraduate research journal for publication.


  • Open to all undergraduates students with a preference toward Statistics and Statistics and Computer Science majors.
  • Selection will be based on an application, grades, and progress toward completing the statistics degree and is done by the individual faculty members.
  • We would like to also see some exceptional students who are still early in their career (i.e., freshmen and sophomores) apply for a spot.


  • All interested students must fill out an application for consideration. The application is only open when there are positions to be filled. An announcement and link to the application will go out to all Statistics and Statistics & Computer Science majors when there are open positions.




  • I’m a new student at the University of Illinois. Can I participate in URES as an incoming student or is it advisable to participate next semester onwards?

New freshman students have many other responsibilities in their first semester to lay a foundation for a successful career here. We encourage those students to apply in a later semester. Transfer students have already had some experience at the collegiate level and are welcome to apply to URES in their first semester.

  • What are my chances of getting an invitation to participate in URES?

The number of announced positions for student researchers varies per semester. It’s hard to say what one individual’s chances are of getting in because it depends on the pool of all applicants and the number of positions. My advice is to select your schedule for the coming semester as if you will not participate in URES, but have a backup plan if you do get in and need to shuffle some classes because of the added responsibility. Regardless, we encourage all students to apply for this opportunity.

  • If I don’t hear from a faculty member by the end of this semester, does that mean that I won’t have undergraduate research for next semester?

Not necessarily. The opportunities on the URES application are only the ones we know about right now. As we’ve seen in past semesters, more faculty usually step forward at the beginning or even midway through a semester. The applicant pool will continue to be circulated and available to faculty leading up to and throughout the semester.