Undergraduate Research Opportunities

As an R1 research institution, UW offers plenty of opportunities for undergraduates to get involved in research!

Geography Registered Student Organizations

The Department of Geography is glad to partner with Plenum, independent publishers of an annual undergraduate journal, and GeoDat, the Society for Geography & Data Science at UW. Find more information about each RSO and get in touch with the organizers to join!

Geography Research Labs

  • Humanistic GIS Lab: This lab is committed to exploring the Digital Earth as the home of humankind. Driven by this common interest, a group of UW scholars and student researchers have been working together (1) to explore innovative methodologies to improve geospatial technologies with the consideration of human experience,  (2) to reflect upon the social implications of maps, geovisualization, and other geospatial technologies, and (3) to geo-narrate a variety of geographic phenomena, especially those related to vulnerable populations.
  • Anti-Eviction Lab: This lab brings together spatial, racial, and technological justice collective projects with student researchers. Housed at University of Washington and led by Erin McElroy, it prioritizes collaborative knowledge making with groups such as the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project. One of its current focuses is Landlord Tech Watch aimed at producing scholarship and popular education materials related to the property technology industry.

Geography Undergraduate Research Symposium

Each year, the Department of Geography features outstanding undergraduate research projects in the Geography Undergraduate Research Symposium. We look forward to welcoming our student participants as well as audience members from our department community! More information and archived symposium programs available online.

College of Arts and Sciences Research Opportunities for Undergraduates

Faculty in every Arts & Sciences department pursue leading-edge research – and many invite undergraduate students to join them in this important work.  Experiencing the challenges and excitement of the discovery process can be a powerful complement to classroom learning.

As an undergrad, you can review declassified CIA documents for human rights cases, help preserve endangered languages, excavate a T-rex in Montana, identify gene mutations in fruit flies, search for signs of life in the universe, and much more.

More information and tips to get started from the College of Arts & Sciences website.

Undergraduate Research Program

The Office of Undergraduate Research provides resources and opportunities to support students, mentors, and staff across all disciplines to support the creation of transformative research experiences. Through diverse forms of inquiry, creative work and practice, undergraduates interrogate existing ideas and ask critical questions to create new knowledge.

Introductory tools and advising support from the Undergraduate Research Programs website.

UW Libraries Undergraduate Research Tutorial Canvas

The UW Libraries Undergraduate Researcher Tutorial is developed by the Undergraduate Student Success team, the Office of Undergraduate Research, and Libraries student employees. The updated tutorial content concentrates on honoring student strengths and expertise and actively applies an anti-racist lens to citation, information evaluation, and publishing and scholarship practices. Tutorial modules updated include: Strategic reading; Evaluating information; Database & search skills; Citation practices; Publishing & sharing research and Finding your balance, including a new section on “imposter phenomenon.” 

The Tutorial is open to all students via Canvas. The Tutorial is maintained quarterly in UW Canvas by the Undergraduate Student Success team and consistently receives ~35,000 views per academic year.

GEOG 499 Special Studies

GEOG 499 credits can be used for Special Study supervised by a geography faculty member. This course might be used to conduct individual research or to engage in deep study of a particular topic within geography. Before registering for GEOG 499 credits, you must contact a faculty member to discuss whether they are willing to supervise your project. If they agree, you may follow the procedure below to register for GEOG 499 in any quarter. 

How do I register for GEOG 499? 

Have you: 

  • Decided on a project, with learning goals and particular outcomes, that you want to focus on during GEOG 499?
  • Received approval from a UW Geography Faculty member who has committed to supervising your GEOG 499 credits? 

If the answer to both questions is yes, then please visit the registration request form linked below:


Note: to fill in this form you must have 2-3 learning goals, a brief overview of the work you plan to complete, a list of deliverables and a timeline for completing these elements of your project. You must also share how you plan to be evaluated for your work during GEOG 499. Please be sure you can answer these questions before filling out this form.

Before submitting the form, select the option to save your responses to these questions. Once you have submitted this form, your responses will be sent to the Geography Advising Office. You will be responsible for sending your responses to your selected geography faculty supervisor, which is why you need to save your responses. Please send one email that includes both the Geography Advising Office (geogadv@uw.edu) and your geography faculty supervisor with your responses attached, and ask your geography faculty supervisor to confirm that they have agreed to support this work plan. 

Your registration request is not complete until your faculty supervisor confirms your independent study plans. If there are any concerns with your request, the Geography Advising Office will contact you. Please allow 5-7 days for registration to update! You can reach out to geogadv@uw.edu with any questions in the meantime.