First Experiences in Research

Anthony Sciulli

“[Before I started at Pitt] I believed research was reserved for the elite, the geniuses, who spent time locked in a dark, mysterious lab like those on CSI—certainly not for an inexperienced freshman. But… I was wrong." 
Anthony Sciulli (Rehabilitation Science)

First Experiences in Research

Through our First Experiences in Research (FE-R) program, Dietrich School students can gain meaningful, hands-on research experience in their very first year. And we’re not just talking about white coat, test tube, science lab research. Research projects with Pitt’s world-renowned faculty are available across all disciplines. How about analyzing camera angles in Breaking Bad? Or creating snow fences alongside an acclaimed studio artist? Or interviewing actual lighting designers on Broadway? Or dispelling stereotypes about refugees? 

Undergraduates conduct research as early as the spring term of their first year through First Experiences in Research (FE-R). In the fall term, you'll be paired with an expert faculty member. In the spring term, you'll conduct hands-on research with that faculty member. Projects come from across all disciplines and areas of interest -- including biology, communications, economics, musics, neurology, political science, studio arts, and theatre arts, to name a few. Students enroll in the spring term ARTSC 0120: First Experiences in Research course to learn the fundamental of research, and showcase their work in the campus-wide Celebration of Research poster session at the end of the term. Students conduct five or 10 hours per week to earn one or two academic credits.

Who is eligible for FE-R?

  • Any Dietrich School undergraduate who is interested in joining a community of scholars


  • building a relationship with a faculty member
  • conducting research or creative activity outside of a prospective major

How do I start FE-R? 

  • In the fall term, attend an FE-R Information Session. Dates, time, and locations will be announced each summer at
  • After attending, make selections from a catalog of available research projects.
  • Once matched to a research project, interview with an FE-R Mentor 
  • Once approved by FE-R Mentor, enroll in a section of ARTSC 0120: First Experiences in Research for the spring term. If not selected, group sessions are available to discuss personalized research options. 
  • In the spring term, you will begin your mentored research!


Continuing Experiences in Research

FE-R students are eligible for Continuing Experiences in Research (CE-R) in the fall term following FE-R. In this second consecutive term, students strengthen research skills, earn academic credits, and delve deeper into research. The accompanying CE-R course introduces students to writing for conferences, articles, and independent research proposals

"The unique part of [Continuing Experiences in Research] is that it acts as the transition between being a research assistant and becoming an independent researcher. My professor, Dr. Andrew Lotz, connected me with multiple resources that supported my own individual research endeavors. He helped me to craft my first grant proposal, which was successful accepted into the Brackenridge Fellowship program." - Reena Naik (Economics and Political Science)

Who is eligible for CE-R?

Any Dietrich School undergraduate who has completed the FE-R program. 

How do I start CE-R? 

Enrollment details will be provided in your spring term ARTSC 0120: First Experiences in Research course.


Become an FE-R Faculty Mentor

Dedicated faculty research mentors are the heart of First and Continuing Experiences in Research. Thank you to all who submitted a project this year. Faculty project submissions for FE-R will reopen in May 2020