Information for Students

students-at-computerWe're so happy that you're interested in potentially joining a VIP team. Students on VIP teams work with lots of others, such as faculty, fellow students, other collaborators, etc., on important research projects. We encourage participation for several semesters if not years. You will earn academic credit for your participation through the RES 4000 course.

Below, we've described the program in a little more detail from the perspective of students, but if you have any other questions, please let us know at

  • There are numerous benefits associated with involvement in research in general. For example, students who participate in research have been shown to have the following:

    • Improved written and oral communication skills
    • Critical thinking
    • Problem solving
    • Acquiring information independently
    • Analyzing literature critically
    • Developing intellectual curiosity
    • Academic and professional socialization
    • Having better credentials for grad school/careers
    • Success in graduate school

    There is also research on the benefits of VIP participation in general (a compendium of publications about VIP can be found here). For example, VIP provides a way for students to participate in large-scale research projects for several semesters. Students who participate for longer periods of time are likely to see improved gains in all of the above areas as they gain expertise in the research experience. In addition, because VIP is a team-based research experience, students will learn more about how to effectively work in teams. And students will get to know their faculty mentor and other project leaders, who ideally can write letters of recommendations for graduate school and jobs later on. 

  • Tasks vary depending on a lot of factors, such as what discipline the project is in, what level you are, what stage the project is in, etc. All students will present their research at the Symposium of Student Scholars and will write a reflection about their experience, a requirement for the "It's About Engagement" initiative at KSU. Other tasks will be decided on in consultation with the Primary Investigator and other team members.

  • Students in their first semester of a VIP project will be oriented to the topic and the project. You can likely expect to read journal articles on the topic, engage in safety training or human subjects ethics training (if applicable), and learn how to use equipment or design studies. Once you've gotten more familiar with the project and the topic, you will do more advanced work. Students who have been on a VIP team for a few semesters may be asked to take on leadership roles, helping to mentor newer students on the project. Students who have been on a VIP team for multiple years may be doing very independent work that can become a capstone project or senior thesis.

  • All students will enroll in a course each semester that they participate in a project. The Primary Investigator (PI) of each team will create a syllabus for their section of RES 4000, which will explain the grading requirements. Students may be graded on the quality of their work on the project, their performance on a team, their attendance/participation in team meetings, and possible outputs such as a final poster, oral presentation, and/or paper (note that this list is not exhaustive; please consult the PI for more information).

  • Right now, we are recruiting faculty members at KSU to begin VIP research projects. Descriptions of each project will be located online at You should contact the Primary Investigator (PI) on the project you wish to join to learn more about the project if you have questions, and you should complete the form indicating your interest in joining a particular team. The form will be available as soon as the projects are listed online.

    Once you are selected to join a particular project, you will enroll in RES 4000, which is the KSU course designated for VIP academic credit. Talk to the PI of the project regarding how many credits this course will be. Most students enroll in one credit per semester, which is equivalent to approximately 3 hours per week working on the project.

  • The VIP program is open to all students of all majors at all levels. You can join teams that are in your major or outside of your major, although we advise you to consult with your academic advisor regarding how VIP credit can fit into your degree program. 

    Some of the project descriptions may target students in particular majors, but if you're interested in joining a project and your major isn't listed, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Primary Investigator (PI) to see if you might be a good fit. Often, students' backgrounds, interests, and enthusiasm may make them a good fit even if their major is not listed.