Research for Course Credit

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Enrolling in Academic Credit for Astronomy Research

If you are already involved in undergraduate research and you would like to earn course credit, please follow the instructions below:

  1. Confirm with your research advisor that you have their permission to sign up for the research for credit course.
  2. Figure out which course you will sign up for. Non-honors students will take Astronomy 4998 (non-thesis) or 4999 (thesis) and Honors students will take Astronomy 4998H (non-thesis) or 4999H (thesis).
    NOTE: If you are not doing research in Astronomy, but rather in Physics, Math, Earth Science, Chemistry, or some other department, then you will need to sign up for research through that Department instead.
  3. Figure out how many credit hours you'd like to take. We recommend signing up for 1 credit hour of research credit for every 3 hours of work per week, but the decision is ultimately up to you and your research advisor.
    NOTE: all research credits in the Astronomy Department are graded on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) scale, which means they do not affect your GPA.
  4. Email your academic advisor, David Zach (zach.11@osu.edu), and ask to be enrolled in research credit. Please include the following information:
    1. Which class you'd like: Astronomy 4998, 4998H, 4999, or 4999H
    2. Which professor you are working with
    3. How many credit hours you would like to enroll in
  5. Your advisor will respond to your email and copy your research professor after the class has been added to your schedule.

The last day to enroll in a research course is always at 5:00pm on the 2nd Friday of each term.
For Autumn 2020 semester, the deadline is Friday, September 4, 2020 at 5:00pm.

For information on completing an undergraduate thesis in Astronomy & Astrophysics and graduating with Research Distinction, click here.

Working for pay while enrolled for academic credit for Astronomy research

In the Department of Astronomy, undergraduates may perform research for academic credit through Astronomy 4998/4999, or they may perform research for pay if their advisor has a source of funds from which to pay them.  The same research work should not be afforded both academic credit and pay.

In most cases this means that a student should not be paid for research by an advisor who is supervising them in research for credit (4998/4999) in the same semester.  However, there may be cases in which the same student could work on distinct research responsibilities for the same advisor simultaneously.  An advisor who wishes to pay a student who is also performing research for credit should submit a petition to the Director of Undergraduate Studies explaining the distinction between the research being performed for credit and that being performed for pay and how that distinction will be maintained during the semester. The Director of Undergraduate Studies may approve or deny the petition, consulting with the department chair or the undergraduate studies committee as needed.  Denials may be appealed to the department chair, whose decision will be final.

The nominal expectation for research credit, as for other courses at Ohio State, is that one research credit hour corresponds to three hours of work per week including both contact hours and independent work. Thus, the nominal expectation for a student earning three 4998/4999 credit hours is nine hours of work per week.  However, the distinction between research for credit and research for pay with the same advisor should be based on differences in the character of the work and the specified responsibilities, not simply on work in excess of 9 hours per week. Responsibilities should be specified in enough detail that a student can clearly understand which activities to count when submitting timesheets for paid research.

A word of note, at current time it takes about a week to file all of the paperwork once Kristy Krehnovi has been notified. It then takes an additional 10 business days to process at the college level so advisors need to think about all of this at least 3 weeks ahead of time.