How VIP Works

In VIP, students work with faculty on multidisciplinary project teams. Students earn academic credit and can participate for multiple semesters. In addition, some teams offer the option of pay (Federal Work-Study) in lieu of credit.

Students joining a VIP team for course credit must apply before they can register for the class. Students can apply early in the semester before they join their teams (for example, applying in mid-August to join a team the following spring), or as late as the first week of class. Teams do fill up, so students are encouraged to apply early if they are interested in a specific team.

"Vertically Integrated" refers to VIP team compositions, which include sophomores, juniors, seniors, graduate students, post-docs, and faculty. Some team leaders allow participation of first-year students as well.

VIP at a Glance


Sizes typically range from eight to 20 students.

Teams are led by one or more faculty advisors and typically include graduate student mentors.

Teams meet weekly in most cases.

Students / Team Members:

Members typically include undergraduate and graduate students.

Returning students take on additional responsibilities.

Members work two to three hours outside of class per credit hour per week.

Members contribute to shared documentation and maintain their own notebooks, e-portfolios, or other records.

Team Projects:

Students work together to advance long-term, large-scale projects, taking on different roles and responsibilities as needed.

Unlike many conventional class projects, students are involved in original research and collaborate to develop research practices, data sets, and other core components from the ground up.