Course-Based Research Undergraduate Experiences (CUREs)
Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs) are courses specifically designed for first-year, second-year, or transfer students looking to gain an authentic research experience right away. Many CURE classes have no prerequisites! CUREs take a research question based on a faculty member's field of study that requires many people to complete the data collection and analysis. Students in a CURE class participate in this project, helping to move novel research questions forward and advance our understanding in that field.
Some benefits of CUREs include:
- They look great on a resume/CV
- They can help students determine if a particular research field is right for them
- Skills developed in CUREs can establish the necessary relationships and trajectory for be competitive for future research opportunities
New CUREs are developed each year, so check back regularly to see new courses! CUREs that have already been created are listed below. Navigate courses by which college they are offered in. Note - many CUREs are NOT limited just to students in the college the course is housed in! Explore CUREs both within your discipline and outside of it! See our current offerings page to see which CUREs are running now.
Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) are another great course-based research opportunity. Learn more about VIPs here.
Faculty interested in developing a CURE can visit this page for more information or email CURE Training Institute Manager Courtney Leligdon (email@example.com) with any questions about developing CUREs.
AREC397C (variable units): Title TBD
BAT102 (3 units): Data Science Heroes: An undergraduate research experience in Open Data Science Practices
Description: Despite a growing demand for data scientists, university training in science ethics, code licensing and best reproducibility practices are not generalized for undergraduates. In this CURE, students will conduct an assessment of the current landscape and the evolution of accessibility, documentation and reproducibility practices in bioinformatics. The CURE will be a two-credit course in the Department of Biosystems Engineering accessible to students from any college. In this CURE, students will learn and reflect upon best practices for open science and science reproducibility. Several practical skills will also be developed such as science communication, as well as the use of computational tools for code versioning and documentation. No prerequisites.
CALS297E (3 units): Discovering Biodiversity
Description: The Sonoran Desert Region is home to more species of native bees than any other region of the world. In this course our main research goal will be focused on discovering and documenting the diversity of Tucson's native bees. This course provides an introductory research experience that immerses students in the process of discovering, describing, and classifying biodiversity. They explore biodiversity research using cutting edge laboratory, field, museum (curatorial), and bioinformatics techniques. The data they collect will be published and shared freely with both the scientific community and the general public. Course prerequisites are MCB181L, MCB181R, ECOL182L, and ECOL182R.
ENVS270L (1 unit): Critical Zone Science Lab
Description: The critical zone is Earth’s skin - extending from the top of the tree canopy to the bottom of the groundwater zone. Movement of mass and energy maintain a chemical and thermodynamic disequilibrium, resulting in the ecosystems and their services found throughout the critical zone. In this lab illustrative activities and quantitative explorations lead students to describing the critical zone. Laboratory activities complement ENVS 270 lecture topics. Students should have previously taken or be concurrently enrolled in ENVS270 Critical Zone Science Lecture.
NSC395B (3 units): Participation in the integrated stress response pathway research techniques
Description: The integrated stress response (IRS) is a ubiquitous cellular pathway that regulates protein synthesis and is associated with many chronic diseases. Animal models indicate that abnormal behavior (diet, physical activity and sleep) disrupts regulatory proteins in the IRS within several tissues, but it’s unclear if the same response occurs in humans and if the proteins can be detected in a biofluid (saliva or urine). The purpose of this class is to determine if IRS proteins can be detected in biofluids and if they are associated with diet quality, physical activity levels, and sleep. To do this, students will participate in data collection, protein extraction and quantification, lab assays, data visualization, data analysis and create a poster to summarize the data collected during the project. This is an entry level class, where class time and outside activities will be used to introduce and discuss these activities sufficiently to develop student self-efficacy with laboratory procedures. At the end of the course, students will be able to describe a research project from start to finish and effectively communicate the results of the research. No prerequisites.
PLS299 (4 units): CROPPS Inc. - Biological Engineering
Description: CROPPS Inc. – Biological Engineering covers fundamental principles in molecular and cellular biology and basic genetics. Emphasis is placed on biological function at the molecular level, with a focus on the structure and regulation of genes, the structure and synthesis of proteins, how these molecules are integrated into cells, and how these cells are integrated into multicellular systems. Students will apply what they learn in a concurrent lab to generate resources that will be used to dissect root-to-shoot signaling in plants. These resources will help biologist engineer plants with increased nitrogen use efficiency, a critical goal for increasing the sustainability of crop production. Course prerequisite is MCB181L/R or high school AP Biology equivalent.
RNR297A (variable units): Natural Resources Workshop
APCV303 (3 units): Data Fluency for All
APCV361 (3 units): Data Analysis and Visualization
Description: APCV 361 Data Analysis and Visualization will lay a foundation for students to understand how to process, analyze, and visualize data. Topics include data collection and integration, exploratory data analysis, statistical inference and modeling, machine learning, and data visualization. The emphasis of the course topics will be placed on integration and synthesis of concepts and their application to solving problems. Students will explore these topics using software tools. Course prerequisites are APCV302, APCV320, prior Python programming experience. The course is only available to CAST students.
Application of Research in Social Emotional Development of Children and Adolescents
Description: This course is designed to develop an applied understanding of social science/educational research related to social emotional development of school aged children. Topics covered include an introduction to current literature on behavioral, social, and emotional development for children and adolescents, with an emphasis on trauma and stress among youth from underrepresented backgrounds. Literature on resilience and positive development will also be introduced. Along with an exploration of research, the course offers an introduction to the tools necessary to engage in research including literature searches, research methods, data collection, basic data analyses. Students will learn to interpret results and apply findings to practice in schools. Through a guided research experience, students will identify a research question, analyze data, and interpret results for application to the school community. Students will learn about methods for dissemination of findings by preparing a professional poster and presenting their research findings and implications to an audience of peers and university community. No prerequisites.
TLS299 (2 units): Intro to Education Research Methods: STEM Education, College Access, & Equity
Description: In this 2-credit course for all majors, students learn about social science and apply research methods to design and conduct a group research project. Students design and implement surveys and interviews to investigate students' experiences and views of college access, inclusion, and equity. No prerequisites.
MUS4/529 (variable units): Music, Health, and Wellness Story Lab
Description: How can music promote health and wellness in our lives and communities across the lifespan? For years, ethnomusicologists have been studying music around the world as a form of healing and a vehicle for community building and identity formation. One of the most important ways ethnomusicologists do research is by learning directly with and from individuals and communities through interviews, observant participation, and thoughtful engagement in communities of practice. In this interdisciplinary, hands-on, fieldwork course, we will explore the relationship between music and health through the creation of collaborative, community-based digital storytelling projects. Working in teams, students in this course will meet with individuals from diverse backgrounds from in and beyond the Tucson area to learn about their musical preferences and practices, document their musical life stories, and work to map the musical spaces and activities that have brought and continue to bring meaning, wellness, and health to their lives. To raise awareness about how music can be used to build and strengthen healthy communities, the stories students gather will be collected and shared as a growing creative toolkit to be shared with community members and healthcare providers. No prerequisites.
AFAS2/3/499 (variable units): Community Responsive Digital Humanities Research
Description: Students will join in a theoretical and hands-on practical introduction to the Digital Humanities and advanced technologies used in the field (augmented reality, virtual reality, volumetric, 360 imaging, etc.). This knowledge will be applied in a real-world project with a local cultural center as students collaborate to explore how to undertake critical, embedded Digital Humanities partnerships in community settings with vulnerable populations. No prerequisites.
HNRS209 (3 units): Imagining Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca’s Relación (1542): A Mapping Project
Instructor: Dr. Anita Huizar-Hernandez
Last offered in Spring 2022
Description: In 1542, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca published a detailed account of his eight-year journey from Spain to present-day Florida to the borderlands of the U.S. Southwest and northern Mexico. Cabeza de Vaca was part of the failed Pánfilo de Narváez expedition, which began in Spain in 1527 with over 600 people and ended in northern Mexico in 1536 with only four survivors—Cabeza de Vaca, two other Spaniards, and an enslaved Moroccan man they called Estebanico. In the nearly five hundred years since the first publication of Cabeza de Vaca’s portrayal of their harrowing struggle for survival, his vivid descriptions of the people and places that he and the other survivors encountered have become canonical reading for students and scholars of European colonization of the Americas. This course asks: how can applying twenty-first-century technologies to Cabeza de Vaca’s sixteenth century text help us better understand that colonization? Students must be part of the Honors College.
RELI406 (3 units): Religious Diversity in Healthcare - Intercultural Training
Description: This course is designed to offer tools for understanding religious and cultural diversity within healthcare settings, which includes consideration of religious patients, religious healthcare workers, faith-based healthcare institutions, and the impact of religious communities on healthcare laws and services. To develop skills for navigating intercultural differences, students will practice applying academic approaches to religion to health-related case studies. No prerequisites.
ECOL182L (1 unit): Introduction to Biology II Laboratory
Description: This class is based on a course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE) model. In this class you will collaborate with your classmates to perform experiments, including those of your own design, and have the opportunity to repeat and improve your experiments. The theme of this class is ecological and evolutionary topics in biology. We will focus on how organisms interact with each other and their environment, and how species change over time. ECOL 182L is the laboratory companion to ECOL 182R, Introductory Biology II Lecture. These classes are conceptually related but administered, and graded, independently. Some students might find it beneficial to take both classes simultaneously, but it is not required.
GEOS197E (3 units): Experiences in Geochronology
Description: This course is for introductory students interested in gaining hands-on experience in geochronology research and learning the general principles of global and regional geology. No prerequisites.
GEOS275 (3 units): Tree-ring time machines: Research Experience in dendrochronology
Description: Geological evidence indicates that a massive earthquake or series of earthquakes occurred about 1,100 years ago under what is now Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia, WA. By applying dendrochronology dating techniques on earthquake-killed trees killed, BA Black’s lab recently showed that two separate faults ruptured simultaneously in the year 923 AD, causing the region’s largest earthquake in at least the last 16,000 years. The magnitude 7.8 earthquake was comparable to the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake, or the recent earthquake that devastated Syria and Turkey. However, two additional faults in the area may also have been involved in this massive 923 AD earthquake. In this class, we will use dendrochronological techniques to attempt to date trees killed along these two other faults to determine whether they, too, died in the year 923. In so doing, we will test whether the single earthquake was even larger than we now know, or whether there was a rapid series of earthquakes over months to decades. This information will be used by geologists to better understand linkages among faults and to inform seismic risk and associated building codes in western Washington state. No prerequisites.
Instructor: Dr. Soumaya Belmecheri (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Typically offered every Spring
SP24 Description: The Cascadia Subduction Zone is a 1,100 km fault along the US western seaboard that runs from British Columbia through northern California. The fault last ruptured in the year 1700 and was dated using trees killed during the earthquake that had preserved in coastal marshes. When the Cascadia Subduction Zone ruptures again, the magnitude 9 earthquake and associated tsunamis (destructive ocean waves) will devastate the Pacific Northwest in what will be the most catastrophic natural disaster in the history of the United States. There is therefore a critical need to understand the intervals between earthquakes along the Cascadia Subduction Zone, and trees may unravel that history. In this class, we will look for evidence of a suspected earthquake in the 1480s using trees killed by the 1700 earthquake. If an earthquake occurred in the 1480s, it would likely affect the growth patterns in these trees that were susceptible to damage or death during the 1700 earthquake. This information will be used by geologists to better understand Cascadia earthquake history and inform seismic risk in the US Pacific Northwest. No prerequisites.
HWRS349A&B/350 (3 units): Principles of Hydrology
Description: Students in this course will work to answer the question: “Do monsoon storms start later in the day than they did decades ago?” This question has been raised by numerous long-time Tucson citizens, who insist that monsoon storms start in the late evening (after sunset) rather than 3-5pm. While this started as a pedestrian question, it also has meteorological and practical implications if it is in fact true. The in-person class is a hands-on Collaborative Learning course, and there is a practical, applied lab with several field trips, many of which involve interaction with hydrology & atmospheric science professionals. Some examples of field trips for the lab include: Stream gaging with the US Geological Survey; A tour of the National Weather Survey office and a weather balloon launch; A tour of Biosphere2's Landscape Evolution Observatory (LEO) Project; and more! This is an excellent course to gain a broad, applied understanding of virtually every subdiscipline in hydrology! Course prerequisite is Calculus I (MATH 113 or MATH 122A&B).
MCB397D (3 units): The Molecular Genetics of Plants
Description: This course is designed for juniors, particularly transfer students who have not participated in university research up to this point. The course will give students the opportunity to participate in an ongoing research project that seeks to understand the molecular basis of how plant (Arabidopsis) roots respond to their environment and different nutrient levels. Students will conduct a research project on self-selected environmental factors; developing projects to understand how plants regulate the growth of their roots. In addition to participating in research, students will learn about the undergraduate research ecosystem at the UA campus by exploring and applying for potential research opportunities. At the end of the class, students will have cultivated research skills that will make them competitive applicants for summer research programs and graduate school. Course prerequisites include MCB181L/R, ECOL182L/R, CHEM151L/R, and CHEM152L/R.
NSCS/NROS397 (3 units): VIP-CURE: Brain Communication Networks
Description: Our objective in this VIP-CURE is to predict and test candidate brain proteins participating in neuron-glia communication and neurodegenerative disease. Students will learn computational approaches for “big data” analysis to generate a list of gene candidates, followed by the evaluation of these candidates in Drosophila (fruit flies) with learning and memory or locomotor behavioral readouts. Students will gain real research experience using hand-on techniques and will contribute to new knowledge about the way neurons and glia communicate in health and disease. More information can be found here. Course prerequisites are MC181L, MCB181R, ECOL182L, and ECOL182R. Concurrent enrollment or equivalent AP credit are acceptable.
PSY197E (1 unit): Engaging in Psychology Research
Description: This is a hands-on course that provides students with an authentic research experience. The class works together with the instructor on a novel research project involving humor and well-being.
ANTH211 (3 units): Biosocial Interpretations of Reproduction
LING2/3/499 (variable units): Community-led Language Technology Development
POL297B (3 units): The Origins of Data in Politics and Policy
Description: This course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE) will introduce students to the main ways in which scholars and other experts in the fields of political science and public policy obtain and analyze data relevant to politics and policy in variety of contexts across the world. Beyond discussing the origins of data analyzed in our fields of study, we will also spend time collecting and working directly with our own original data to better understand both where data come from and how they are used in academic research. Students will work in teams on ongoing research projects supervised by the instructor and SGPP faculty. Students are given the opportunity to choose from a menu of projects based on their interests. Projects in previous semesters have focused on a variety of topics including political psychology, armed conflict, and migration. The course will involve three hours per week of class-based training and lecturing alongside six hours per week of students working in teams tackling specific research tasks on their selected projects. Finally, we will also discuss and practice how to effectively present data and research findings for non-academic audiences. No prerequisites.
SOC/CHS403B (3 units): Care, Health, and Society (CHS) in the Wild: Conducting Ethnographic Studies of Health and Medicine in Action
Description: This course is an introduction to methods and practices of studying how we moderns organize health care. The aim is to ground you in the foundational ethnographic literature in these areas, focusing on the relationships between theory and data, and between researcher and researched. Because this course is a CURE (Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience), this aim will be met in the context of your ventures into field sites where you will be expected to make sense of the methods, often messy and accidental, that organize everyday practices intended to produce health. The course covers the essentials of research: data access and gathering (i.e. interviewing and observation), data analysis, reliability, and writing. When we do field work, we make a number of ethical decisions, so you will learn and apply principles of ethical review, such as informed consent and granting anonymity of interviewed participants (among other things, by attaining training on research with human subjects (CITI). These essentials will be covered as you conduct original field research, share and critique each other's field notes on a weekly basis, and produce a presentation and final report based on your ethnographies. Health and Society (CHS303) is a recommended course but not a prerequisite.
HNRS314 (3 units): Ideas into Action: An Introduction to Civic Engagement
Description: This is a dynamic service-learning course where students investigate notions of community and civic engagement through the lens of a social scientist, community members, and non-profit leaders. Students are asked to engage in service-learning pedagogy with real-world practice in this hands-on experiential learning class. Students will spend time understanding systematic social issues and structured inequalities with a non-profit community partner. Students will work on an interdisciplinary Honors Civic Engagement Team (HCET) to address and respond to social issues impacting marginalized communities. Students should expect to spend about 45 hours on community-based projects that the host organization often would be unable to complete with their own resources. Students will spend time unveiling their personal values and identities to better understand solutions to social issues plaguing society including racism, sexism, classism, and other forms of bias through reflections, readings, discussions and academic inquiry. Students will develop an understanding of their long-term social responsibility in responding to community-based social issues through the lenses of a social scientist, a non-profit leader, and a community member. Must be an Honors student to enroll.