I'm studying Bachelors in Computer Science.

I've taken a course this semester where the professor requires us to write research paper inorder to complete the course. High quality papers from this course are published in journals like Springer.

So I was wondering - how will undergrad research effect my application for masters or my career further down the road?

  • 3
    I am very sceptical that an undergraduate student with no prior research experience can do proper original research on any subject and document it in a paper in a single semester, or even two semesters for that matter. It may be a good learning experience, but you may also pick up some bad habits along the way (due to the unreasonable expectations). – 101010111100 Jun 20 '17 at 20:25
  • 7
    Also, Springer is not a journal. – 101010111100 Jun 20 '17 at 20:29
  • 4
    I don't know about Computer Science, but in general I can hardly imagine an undergraduate writing, alone, a paper worth of publication in the timespan of a course. – Massimo Ortolano Jun 20 '17 at 20:39
  • 1
    @101010111100 A common form of these papers are essentially reviews. I had written two of them by the time I was done as an undergrad, one of which was submitted. 10 years later, it remains my highest cited publication. Arguably one of my most prestigious publications was also done as an undergrad. It was arguably a special case, but it's far from impossible. – Fomite Jun 20 '17 at 20:46
  • Is undergraduate research worth it? -- If a course offered at your undergrad institution has a track record of providing students an opportunity to get published in legit venues, then, yes, absolutely, research is worth it. (That's a big, ol' fat "if", by the way.) – Mad Jack Jun 21 '17 at 2:23

It's always hard to tell exactly what people think of your application, but I was accepted to a masters (and PhD, one semester later, after I dropped the masters) in chemistry, and I am reasonably confident that I would not have been if not for the 2 semesters of research I had on my resume, as my GPA was kind of weak (2.95, but 3.3 if you ignore the first year).

It's a common saying that "GPA keeps you out of a graduate program, but doesn't get you in; something else does", and depending on what your field is, that "something else" could be research.

Also, it sounds like your course will give you excellent writing practice, which is often unfairly delegated as low priority.


In every program I've been involved in, undergraduate research in some form has been considered a positive, and often the most compelling single piece of an application (the other being letters...especially letters discussing undergraduate research).


It is undeniably a positive, but perhaps not for the reason you think.

If your undergrad project is similar to the research of someone you plan to apply to, that is certainly a benefit, but more importantly: it demonstrates you understand what graduate school is about. PIs like to know that the students they hire have an idea of what they're getting themselves into. To the extent your project accomplishes that, you will have a leg up


Undergraduate research always looks good when you're applying for graduate school. If you already have a research paper, then even better! Everything you can do to separate your self from the pack is good to do. If you do some undergrad research, it can look good on a job application as well because it shows that you were capable of handling many projects at the same time.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.