Although students typically receive either course credit or paid compensation, some departments make exceptions for students who receive a stipend or scholarship instead of hourly pay.
If you do want to apply for course credit, you need to register for a course. The course may be called “Undergraduate Research,” “Independent Study,” or something similar. The course will not be an “open enrollment” course, but rather a “permission only” course where the department’s Undergraduate Director and/or the student’s Research Supervisor clear the student to register the credits. Students should check their departmental website for information specific to their degree program.
For each credit hour the student registers, he or she is expected to work for approximately three hours a week for 15 weeks, or 45 hours over the semester.
A department is likely to require a student to register for at least three research credits to satisfy an upper-level elective or capstone requirement (3 credits = 9-10 hours x 15 weeks or 135-150 hours per semester on the project).
Students may register for as many credits as they wish, but there is often a limited number that can be used to fulfill a degree requirement. Students should check their departmental website for information specific to their degree program.