The Characteristics of Excellence in Undergraduate Research (COEUR) summarizes best practices that support and sustain highly effective undergraduate research environments. In the twelve years since the original COEUR was published, it has been an extraordinary road map that has helped many establish undergraduate research offices, design new programs, communicate aspirations to and request commitment from leadership, and recognize the support needed to ensure that undergraduate students engage in one of the most impactful educational practices at their colleges and universities. 

Higher education continues to be shaped by a rapidly changing world, so it was time to refresh these characteristics of excellence. We hope that this updated version, COEUR 2.0, not only captures the current framework for building successful and accessible undergraduate research programs but also provides a sustainable foundation that will yield increasing engagement from diverse students, faculty, staff, and administrators that extends beyond this critical high-impact practice. While not all institutions and programs can aspire to fulfill all the characteristics, we invite you to examine them and read the personal stories of individuals, institutions, and students as a testament to what is possible when we aim for excellence.

Some of the updates you will find in COEUR 2.0 include:

  • The number of characteristics has been streamlined from 12 to 11, with the ‘Strategic Planning’ characteristic now incorporated into the ‘Campus Mission and Culture’ section
  • There is a stronger emphasis on diversity, equity, inclusion, and access in all the characteristics
  • A discussion on integrating research, scholarly work, and creative inquiry with other high-impact practices, such as community engagement, study abroad, internship, and work-based learning has been included 
  • and more

The full website and free downloadable publication will be available soon. Until then, click on the images below for a sneak peek at the updated eleven characteristics of excellence and an assessment tool.

Check out the 11 Characteristics of Excellence in this preview of the COEUR 2.0 publication. The full publication will be released this summer.

Using COEUR 2.0 to Advance the Institutional Culture of Undergraduate Research in Your Context

Use this form to think through and discuss with others how the application of the eleven characteristics of excellence are or could become evident at your institution.