CPH:4990 Mentored Independent Undergraduate Research in Public Health

Public health research is defined as systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge related to the practice of public health. Mentored undergraduate research is defined as independent research under the mentorship of a faculty supervisor. The primary appointment of the faculty supervisor may be at the College of Public Health, at the University of Iowa, or at another university, as approved by the Undergraduate Program Office. Independent research is defined as scholarly activity that includes the conception and execution of a project by the individual student with frequent and regular contact with the supervising faculty member.

Students must register for CPH:4990 on MyUI and pay tuition and fees based upon the number of credit hours (0-3) earned.  The course can be used to fulfill the experiential learning requirement for public health majors, and the course can be repeated.  STUDENTS PLANNING TO GRADUATE WITH HONORS IN THE MAJOR MUST COMPLETE THIS COURSE REQUIREMENT.

This course has been designed to occur over two semesters. Students should register for CPH:4990 during each semester. During the first semester, students are expected to (1) develop and write their research proposal and (2) begin conducting research. During the second semester, students are expected to (1) conclude their research and (2) focus on writing up their research results in manuscript style. In limited circumstances and with prior approval by the Undergraduate Program Office, a student may petition to complete the requirements for this course in one, rather than two, semesters.

The CPH Undergraduate Program Office makes the ultimate decision regarding whether or not a specific research project meets the definition of mentored independent undergraduate public health research. In cases where the student’s project is not deemed appropriate for mentored independent undergraduate public health research, the student may consider receiving alternate means of academic credit. Examples include URES:3992:0IND Undergraduate Research/Creative Projects (0 s.h.) or URES:3993:0IND Undergraduate Research/Creative Projects (1-4 s.h.). NOTE: These will not fulfill the experiential learning requirement for the public health major.

To be eligible for registration and enrollment, students should:

  • be a public health major in the College of Public Health
  • be in good academic standing as defined by the College of Public Health
  • have completed or be concurrently enrolled in CPH:3600 by the time they register for CPH:4990 Mentored Independent Undergraduate Research in Public Health

Registration for academic credit:

During the fall and spring semester, students should register for:

  • 1 s.h. for 5 hours of research activity/week
  • 2 s.h. for 6-10 hours of research activity/week
  • 3 s.h. for 11-15+ hours of research activity/week

During the 8-week summer session, students should register for:

  • 1 s.h. for 10 hours of research activity/week
  • 2 s.h. for 11-20 hours of research activity/week
  • 3 s.h. for 21-30+ hours of research activity/week

Students who are receiving payment for their research activity should register for 0 s.h. At a minimum, students should be engaged in 5 hours/week of research activity during the fall or spring semester and 10 hours/week of research activity during the 8-week summer session.

The following steps should be completed prior to requesting permission to register:

  1. Identification of a supervising faculty research mentor. Research mentors can include faculty affiliated with the College of Public Health, the University of Iowa, other universities and colleges, or other research institutions.
  2. The student should share this document with the research supervisor which details the College of Public Health’s expectations for the research supervisor.
  3. The student and the research mentor should develop an agreement about the following items related to the research project:
    • Start and end dates for the project
    • The research question and the scope of the research project
    • The duties and responsibilities of the student, including the completion of research specific training (e.g., human subjects research training, lab safety training, etc.)
    • Whether or not the student will be receiving payment or other compensation for their work
    • The estimated amount of time to be devoted each week to the project and the appropriate amount of academic credit.
    • Other items as determined by the research supervisor (e.g., products such as papers and/or presentations in addition to those required to fulfill the experiential learning requirement for CPH).

 In order to request permission to register for CPH:4990 (and no less than 3 weeks before the start of the term in which the student will be registered), students should:

  1. Complete an application form that includes information about the research project and asks students to describe how the specific research project will contribute to their overall educational goals and/or career aspirations. To obtain this application form, contact the CPH undergraduate academic advisor – Kim Klinedinst(kimberly-klinedinst@uiowa.edu), CPH Student Services.
  2. Obtain a signature from the research mentor on the application form and/or attach a signed letter or email from the research mentor in lieu of a signature.
  3. Submit the application form to Kim Klinedinst (kimberly-klinedinst@uiowa.edu), CPH Student Services.
  4. The online application form will be circulated for signatures from the (1) CPH undergraduate academic advisor and (2) CPH undergraduate program director or the CPH Honors faculty advisor (for Honors students). All signatures must be obtained prior to receiving permission to register.

In addition to completing the research experience as agreed upon by the student and the research supervisor, the student must also fulfill the following requirements for CPH:4990 Undergraduate Research Experience in Public Health:

 During the first semester:

  • Write a research proposal summarizing the background, goals, and methods of the research project according the guidelines set forth by the College of Public Health.
  • Submit the research proposal to the faculty mentor and the Undergraduate Program Director for approval prior to the start of research.
  • Complete all training, including training in human subjects protection, as needed and prior to the initiation of research activity.
  • Conduct the research project with frequent and regular feedback from the supervising faculty mentor.
  • Complete an early-term (during the third week) and end-of-term self-assessment and progress report for each semester enrolled. Online forms will be provided by the Undergraduate Program Office.
  • The supervising faculty mentor will complete an early-term check-in (during the third week) and end of term evaluation of student performance and progress. Online forms will be provided by the Undergraduate Program Office.

During the second semester:

  • Complete the research project and begin writing up their results.
  • When research is completed, submit a final report in manuscript style to the supervising faculty mentor and the Undergraduate Program Office. Honors students must meet the submission requirements outlined by the College of Public Health for submission of Honors Theses. If continuing registration into additional semesters without completion of the final report, the student should complete and submit a progress report. All reports should be written in accordance with guidelines set forth by the Undergraduate Program Office.
  • Present the research results at an oral or poster presentation in a venue approved by the Undergraduate Program Office. Honors students must also present their research to their faculty mentor and the CPH Honors Faculty Advisor.
  • Complete an early-term (during the third week) and end-of-term self-assessment. Online forms will be provided by the Undergraduate Program Office.
  • The supervising faculty mentor will complete an early-term check-in (during the third week) and end of term evaluation of student performance and progress. Online forms will be provided by the Undergraduate Program Office.

General Expectations of the Student

The student will:

  • Define their area(s) of interest
  • Identify faculty members who might have related interests
  • Approach the faculty member in the area that interests them and discuss the possibility of completing an independent research project under their mentorship
  • Reach an agreement with the supervising faculty member about the scope of the project and related products (as outlined above)
  • Meet the requirements for course registration (as outlined above)
  • Complete all training, including training in human subjects protection, as needed and prior to the initiation of research activity
  • Perform the required work as agreed upon with the supervising faculty mentor
  • Meet regularly and frequently with the supervising faculty mentor
  • Be responsible for completing all course requirements in a timely manner (as outlined above)
  • Honors students must also be responsible for completing all requirements for graduating with Honors in the Major in a timely manner (as outlined above)

General Expectations of the Supervising Faculty Member

The supervising faculty mentor will:

  • Work with the student to establish criteria by which the project will be defined and evaluated
  • Oversee the student’s research experience
  • Provide an early-term check-in (during the third week) and end-of-term evaluation of student performance, for each semester that the student is enrolled in CPH:4990
  • Assign the appropriate grade (S/F) for completed work, in consultation with the Undergraduate Program Office
  • The faculty mentor’s responsibilities are not to be delegated to others.

Questions or comments? Contact Margaret Chorazy. This page was last reviewed on March 27, 2019.