Frequently Asked Questions

Program Basics

Structure of FRI Courses

  • Does the program follow a regular grading system?

    Yes, students are taking courses for the FRI program, and they receive letter grades for those courses. However, the grades for the FRI courses are not on a curve. This means that there is not a pre-determined distribution of grades. The course grades are based on achieved competency and research progress.

  • How are the FRI courses structured? 

    In the research methods seminar, there will be two hours weekly of lecture and discussion. In addition, students will have the opportunity to participate in team meetings with their instructor and office hours will be available. The laboratory portion of the program (second and third semesters) is run as an authentic research lab. You will have access to faculty and teaching assistants throughout. If a student wants additional help, the student can and should ask the professors or a teaching assistant for assistance, just as the student would if conducting an independent study project. In addition, the FRI program monitors the progress of all students, and so checks individually with students about their progress.

Research Streams

  • Do the students in each stream work individually or in teams?

    For the research conducted, students will work in teams. We have students work interdependently because developing teamwork and collaborative skills are so important in research today. Each student team will work on a research question that is related to the overall objective of the research stream for that year.

  • Is it possible to switch my Research Stream?

    During your first semester, if slots become available in the stream you are interested in, you may be able to switch streams. You should not count on this option as research streams are usually full. FRI is more about the research experience than the research topic. Once you complete the program, you can pursue research opportunities outside of that field.

  • When do I find out which Research Stream I am accepted into?

    Students are assigned to a Research Stream after the Binghamton University deposit deadline (May 1st). Students should expect to receive a stream assignment email by mid May.

Research Outside the Program

Open House and Registration

  • How do I register for FRI courses?

    You will be automatically pre-registered for your first FRI course (Research Methods) before summer orientation. During orientation, confirm that you are enrolled in the appropriate section for the particular research stream to which you have been assigned.

    For the second and third semester FRI courses, you will be informed about what to register for and when.

  • What information can I get about FRI at Binghamton's Open House?

    FRI students and faculty should be available to answer any questions you may have. At each Open House the FRI program hosts an information session and provides tours of the research labs.  Visit our sessions to get a closer look at the science buildings, hear personal stories and inquire about what research at Binghamton entails.


  • Do I get scholarship money for participating?

    No. There is no monetary award for the program. 

  • Are there any fees associated with this program?

    Yes. You will be charged an additional $38.50 in course fees for the first semester research methods course. You will also be charged an additional $150 in lab fees for both your second semester of your first year and first semester of your second year, for a total cost of $300. Research-grade equipment and supplies are expensive. The laboratory fee subsidizes the cost of the research-grade supplies and the need for students to be able to repeat procedures as they learn protocols and design and run experiments.

Before college, I would have never thought that I would be working with UAVs to identify oil and gas wells, which in turn will help NY state solve a very important issue. By participating in this program, I have learned that I should not limit myself and stop myself from amazing opportunities that can broaden my horizons.

FRI Environmental Visualization Student