To provide research experiences to a broad section of the population within institutions of Higher Education, many Colleges and Universities are offering Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CURE). A CURE, particularly at the introductory first-year college level, can play a significant role in increasing the number and diversity of students who access independent research experiences. While CUREs vary, there are some consistent factors that include: increasing exposure for students to hypothesis-driven research on unknown topics; allowing students to experience the joys and struggles of conducting research; and encouraging them to disseminate findings to a broad audience. To increase younger students’ access to opportunities for research and help reduce barriers for these students as they enter undergraduate education, Brown Pre-College Programs has implemented Course-Based Research Experiences (CREs) within the Summer@Brown Program.

Academically talented students ready for study at a first-year collegiate level thrive in Brown’s Pre-College programs, which in turn provides Pre-College instructors with a wonderful “laboratory” for pedagogical experimentation. For instructors interested in designing and implementing their own CURE for undergraduates, a Pre-College CRE enables an opportunity to preview the curriculum and take the best practices learned through the summer course to refine future work in the CURE space.

Instructors interested in conducting a Pre-College CRE will design a course that provides the student a research challenge for which the answers are unknown, supports them in a four-week course, and culminates in an opportunity for the student to present and disseminate their findings. The curriculum would be necessarily fluid, with students finding success and experiencing failure as they progress – much like a true research lab. Learning outcomes for the course include: students’ gaining a mastery of some specialized techniques and/or a broader knowledge of the content area covered; experience conducting research; an understanding of how to use this experience to overcome traditional institutional barriers; developing a greater capacity for self-advocacy; and the ability to apply for further research opportunities in higher academic pursuits.  

If you are interested in proposing a future CRE for the Pre-College Programs, please email the STEM Program Director,, for more information on the process or visit the Propose a Course page of this website.

Visit CUREnet: Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences to stay up to date on current CURE implementation, pedagogy, and practitioners around the country.

For more information from Erin Dolan, co-founder of CUREnet, please review this article: Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences: Current Knowledge and future directions commissioned by the Committee on Strengthening Research Experiences for Undergraduate STEM Students found in the web archives of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

For more information on CUREs, please read this article from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s journal, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, ASBMB Today on “Research for All: a CURE for undergraduates”

For more information on the importance of inclusion in the undergraduate research space, please read this article from the American Society for Cell Biology, CBE – Life Sciences Education on how “Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences Can Make Scientific Research More Inclusive”

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