At Northern, there are no limits.

Student research is a critical component of Northern’s DNA. Every day, student researchers in the College of Arts and Sciences and schools of Business, Education and Fine Arts are pushing the boundaries of knowledge and insight.

Research opportunities abound at Northern, as well as programs that reward and encourage research, creative and scholarly activities. Students are involved in a wide variety of scholarly activities, supported by strong faculty mentorship. 


To support and encourage student research, the Student Research Program provides travel and research grants each year. If you have questions about research at Northern, please contact Dr. Susan Citrak or visit myNSU Student Research.


'An amazing experience'

Northern State University student Megan Fastenau presented her research at the Legislative Poster Session in Pierre, S.D.

Fastenau, a sophomore biochemistry major from Aberdeen, attended the session along with Drs. Susan Citrak and Jon Mitchell, Northern faculty members.

Fastenau’s project, “Bacteriophage Isolation against Actinomycete Gordonia rubripertincta and Bioinformatic Characterization of the Bacteriophages MossRose and Eliott,” aims to isolate and purify novel bacteriophages and then annotate its genome. The findings are expected to help further understand bacteriophages and their host specificities.

Fastenau said her experience in Pierre was amazing.

"I showcased my research on bacteriophages to various legislators and toured the capitol building. This opportunity wouldn’t have been possible without Dr. Citrak, Dr. Mitchell, and the support of NSU," she said. 

"I worked with Dr. Mitchell to isolate the genomic DNA of a bacteriophage from a soil sample. Along with isolating the bacteriophage, I will annotate the sequenced genome. NSU has an incredible science building with advanced technology to make research possible for undergraduate students like myself."

Undergraduate Competitive Research Grant

The NSU Undergraduate Competitive Research Grant program is for eligible undergraduate students, who are welcome to apply for a grant of up to $2,500 to support their independent research project. The research project can be part of a student's honors thesis or related in some other way to his or her course of study. The money can be used for expenses such as travel, materials/supplies or publication.

Application deadline: March 22, 2024

Northern Edge Award

The Northern Edge Award is a funding opportunity designed to augment existing funding sources for student scholarship.

  • Open to undergraduate and graduate students
  • Total award amount up to $1,000 per project
  • Application deadline: March 22, 2024

Student Travel Grant

Since student research is vital to Northern, NSU's Student Travel Grant Program supports students who travel to conferences to present their research. Travel grants are available throughout the academic year. Current NSU students will find more information on myNSU.

TRIO McNair Scholars program

In the McNair Scholars Program, eligible students receive the resources they need for academic and personal success in preparation for graduate school.


  • First-generation college students who also meet income qualifications and/or
  • Students who are underrepresented in graduate education, according to U.S. Department of Education regulations
  • Students who demonstrate curiosity, strong academic aptitude, and a keen interest in pursuing a Ph.D.