Freshman Research Initiative (FRI)
Want to feel what it’s like to be a professional scientist? Have your world rocked by the thrill of discovery? At UT Austin, nearly half of all brand new undergraduates in the College of Natural Sciences have that opportunity.
Many participate in our Freshman Research Initiative and its dedicated “research streams.” They conduct real-world scientific research in faculty-led labs, publish new knowledge, present their work and make discoveries.
What FRI Provides
Life-changing experiences. You’ll work at the cutting edge of modern science with the latest equipment and technology and contribute brand new knowledge in areas like artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, and biochemistry.
Course credit: Research in FRI counts towards your degree.
Friendships and connections: Students forge relationships in their research streams that last through their college career, and many become mentors to newer students after their own first years.
A leg up: Not only do graduate schools and employers value the FRI experience, students who participate have been found to be more likely to graduate within four years with a STEM degree.
Not Just for Freshmen
Sophomores, juniors and transfer students can participate in a program similar to FRI: the Accelerated Research Initiative. Staff in the College of Natural Sciences also help match students with the right faculty lab to get the most out of undergraduate research experiences at any stage.
Students connect with real-world research opportunities beyond our faculty labs in the Inventors Program. Private companies, public organizations and nonprofit or community-based partners present problems for STEM students to solve over the course of a semester or year. You’ll learn to take a new product to market, build skills and get course credit for solving real challenges with a team.
Sprints & Hackathons
Jumpstarting a new research or internship opportunity can begin with just a day or two. With Science Sprints, Inventors Sprints, and hackathons, you also can opt to spend a day or weekend with a team of fellow students joining forces to tackle a problem from the real world.