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Which one are you?


Students in the Freshman Research Initiative (FRI) earn three hours of course credit for each semester that they do research with the program. The course credit depends on the semester.  First-semester freshman are placed in a Research Methods course or other preparatory course appropriate for their major. Once they enter a Research Stream students earn credit for Spring Research Courses and Fall Research Courses that depend on the stream they join.


Frequently Asked Questions


Do I have to be a student in the College of Natural Sciences to be in FRI?
Yes. Only students admitted to the College of Natural Sciences can join FRI.


I am admitted to a CNS honors program. Can I also be in FRI?
You do not need to fill out an FRI application if you are in one of the following programs: Dean’s Scholars, Health Science Scholars, Polymathic Scholars, or HANS –Honors in Advanced Nutritional Sciences, as students in these programs are automatically enrolled in FRI. Students in an honors program not listed here who are interested in FRI should submit the online FRI application.


If I have been accepted in other CNS learning communities, can I still apply to FRI?  
Students accepted to Women in Natural Sciences (WINS) or Biology Scholars Program (BSP) are automatically enrolled in FRI and do not need to submit the online FRI application. Texas Interdisciplinary Plan (TIP) Scholars are required to apply through the regular FRI application.


I am interested in FRI but I am unsure if I will attend UT Austin. Should I still apply?
Yes. Space in FRI is limited so new freshmen should apply as soon as possible to be considered. 


How long does FRI last?
The basic course sequence of the FRI program starts the fall semester of your freshman year and can continue on to the fall semester of your sophomore year.


How does FRI count towards my degree?
During the fall of their freshman year, the majority of FRI students are enrolled in the UGS 303 Scientific Inquiry Across the Disciplines course. This class fulfills the UT signature course requirement. The spring research experience offers lower division lab credit while the fall research experience offers upper-division lab credit.


How many students are in a stream?
There is an average of 35 students in each full stream.


What specific areas of research are covered by available research streams?
Each research stream is led by a faculty member who has designed a program of research using our educational model to pursue their fundamental research questions. Research topics include  biology, chemistry, computer science, physics, and astronomy. Browse through our research streams to learn more.


I am not interested in becoming a researcher. Why should I join FRI?
There are many advantages in joining FRI. Better academic outcomes, research in cutting-edge labs while getting full course credit, being a member of a small community with long-lasting friendships, access to professors and future letters of recommendation, excitement of scientific discovery and better opportunity in graduate and professional programs. 


I am a high school sophomore or junior; can I do summer research in an FRI stream?

Yes, you can apply for the High School Summer Research Academy.