The Randall Research Scholars Program (formerly Computer-Based Honors) is a nationally recognized undergraduate research program which pairs academically elite students directly with leading research professors and cutting-edge computing technology to complete scholarly research projects in any field of study.

Randall Research Scholars

The Randall Research Scholars Program at The University of Alabama has been cited by the National Institute of Education as one of the six most intriguing honors programs in the United States and was the first university-wide undergraduate research program in America.

Randall Research Scholars gives outstanding students majoring in any field the opportunity to work one-on-one with professors while applying computing technology to a research project in their major field of study. Whether you want to be a doctor, lawyer, chemical engineer, marketing executive, or English professor, applying research skills and computing technology to your career field is essential for success.

During their freshman year, students complete an intensive series of courses on complex problem solving, the use of computers, project management and research fundamentals. These essential skills enable students to quickly learn and adapt to technologies required for faculty-directed research projects. Throughout their sophomore to senior years, Randall Research Scholars select a research project in which the student will work closely with a faculty member who will serve as a project director. Students will typically work on projects in areas related to their academic discipline; however, they may elect to work in an unrelated field to challenge themselves and broaden their exposure to academic research.


Students eligible to apply for the Honors College (28 ACT or 1250 old SAT/1310 new SAT and 3.5 High School GPA) are eligible to apply for the Randall Research Scholars Program. On average, the 2014 entering class had above a 33 ACT or 1450 SAT and 4.30 GPA.

Application Process

Students can apply through the Randall Research Scholars application after completing the Honors College Application.

The selection committee will review the applications to determine the finalists for admission. Finalists are then brought to campus for the interview process. Applicants will be notified of their status during the first week of February. All communication will be through the student’s Crimson email account assigned by The University of Alabama.

Randall Research Scholars Finalist Visit

All CBH application decisions will be emailed to the applicant’s Crimson email account.

Finalist Visit Dates

More information will be available this winter.

Q:  How early can I check-in to the hotel if I am driving?

A:  Check-in at the Capstone Hotel begins at 3 pm on the Sunday of the visit. Staff will be on site at the hotel beginning at 3 pm.

Q:  If I live within driving distance do I have to stay at the hotel Sunday night?

A:  Yes, that is our preference. Staying in the hotel allows you to spend needed time with current Randall Research Scholars and other finalists.

Q:  Can my parents attend the Finalist Visit?

A:  Parents are welcome to come with you to Tuscaloosa, but the focus is on the finalists. There are NO activities scheduled for the parents during the visit.  Finalists will have full schedules of activities, so parents will need to plan their own activities.  Finalists are encouraged to spend time with current students and other finalists to get a feel for the program. The Randall Research Scholars Program will not pay for the hotel room or travel expenses of the parents, and parents must make their own hotel reservations.

Q:  Who will be in my hotel room?

A:  Students will stay in hotel rooms with other finalists; boys will be three to a room and girls will be two to a room.  The young men will be provided with an extra bed so no one will have to share a bed.  Roommates will be assigned prior to the event; students may not request specific roommates.  Parents may NOT share a room with their child.

Q:  Will I need to bring money for meals?

A:  All meals will be provided for students during the orientation.  Students do not need any money unless they would like to purchase souvenirs, snacks from the hotel vending machines, etc.

Q:  What if I am invited to the University Fellows Experience visit and I can only attend one program visit due to scheduling and/or expenses?

A:  First, congratulations. Second, please contact the Honors College office as soon as possible. We work very closely with the Director and Coordinator of the UFE and will make accommodations for your visit needs.

Q:  What if I can’t get there on time on Sunday?

A:  This is fine. You just need to let us know beforehand so we can schedule someone to be there to pick you up from the airport or provide you other directions if you will be arriving by car.

Q:  What if I have to leave early on Monday?

A:  This is fine. But once again, please let us know.  We can accommodate your schedule and ensure that you attend all required events within the time period you can be on campus.

Q:  If I am flying in, how will I get to the hotel?

A:  Students who are flying in will have an escort pick them up at the airport in Birmingham.  Students might be carpooling in with others who have similar arrival times. Students will be returned to the airport in Birmingham in time to make the departing flight.

Q:  If I am carpooling in a vehicle with 2 or more students, who will receive the reimbursement for gas mileage?

A:  Only the driver of the vehicle will be reimbursed for gas mileage.  Students from the same school or city are encouraged to carpool.

Q:  How should I dress?

A:  The dress code for orientation is casual. This means jeans casual…NOT business casual.  Please wear comfortable shoes because you will be walking around campus for various meetings. You may also want to check the weather for Tuscaloosa and dress appropriately.

Q:  Will there be anyone monitoring the students in the hotel?

A:  Yes. There will be at a minimum 4 senior Randall Research Scholars staying overnight in the hotel with the students. In addition, all students will be given Dr. Sharpe and Mrs. Batson’s home and cell phone numbers. Both are on-call 24 hours/day during the finalist visit.

Q:  Does this invitation mean that I have a seat in the Randall Research Scholars Program freshman class?

A:  No. This invitation means that you are a finalist for the next freshman class. There are only 40 seats available in the freshman class. More than 40 students are invited for the visit. This visit gives us the opportunity to get to know more about you than what can be written on an application. This visit also gives you the opportunity to evaluate CBH and the University to determine if this is where you wish to pursue your college career.

Q: My school requires documentation in order for me to be excused from school.  Will this be provided?

A: Yes. If you let us know this is required by your school, we will send a standard form to your school detailing your agenda and the purpose of your visit to campus.  We will need you to provide the contact information and any additional information we need to include.  If your school has an excused absence form, please bring it with you for us to sign or send it beforehand so we may return it prior to your visit.

Tentative Finalist Visit Schedule

Sunday 3:00 Registration and Check-in at Hotel Capstone lobby
4:00 Informational Meeting

Hotel Capstone

5:00-5:45 Bus Tour of Campus and Tuscaloosa
6:00-7:30 Supper

Hotel Capstone

8:00-9:30 Reception

Nott Hall- Research Lab 1st floor (Current  students, faculty and staff)

Monday 7:30-8:30 Breakfast – Burke Hall Dining Room

(Go through the line. If your card does not work, please tell them it is a special events card and has money on it, not meals. They may have to call for directions on how to scan the card.)

8:30-11:00 Interviews

Interest Area Visits

Randall Research Scholars Research Presentations

11:15-12:15 Lunch

Hotel Capstone

12:30-5:00** Interviews

Interest Area Visits

**This is a tentative general schedule. Each finalist will have his or her own schedule and will not necessarily be required to stay until 5:00 pm on Monday.

CBH Live

Randall Research Scholars Project Sponsors

Each semester faculty across campus are encouraged to submit a research proposal using the Randall Research Scholars Project Proposal Form. Based on their academic backgrounds, interests, and the perceived value of the project, students select a project and meet with the faculty member to negotiate a contract for the scope of work the student is to accomplish during the specified project period. Projects may be worked on by a single student or a team of Randall Research Scholars students based upon the requisite skills and volume of work to be accomplished. In addition, a project may last one semester or span several semesters provided there are incremental deliverables to gauge the student’s progress.

Selection Process

After selecting a project submitted by a faculty member, the student works closely with that faculty member who serves as project director. The student works with the faculty member to develop a two-part project contract (divided into Phase I and Phase II) specifying the work to be completed within a given timeframe. The student immerses him/herself into the research domain and participates in various stages of the research project depending upon the agreed-upon scope of work. The project director is responsible for supervision of the student throughout the project and evaluating the student’s work. Students are required to formally present their work to their faculty sponsor, peers, and other student project directors at the end of the academic semester, and the project director must complete an evaluation of the student using the standard student evaluation form.


The role of a Randall Research Scholars student is to serve as a research assistant to a faculty member in a related field of study. The students should participate in the multiple stages of a research projects and develop an understanding of the objectives and value of the research.

Randall Research Scholars students receive three hours of Honors credit per semester. Therefore, students should engage in an active learning experience at an accelerated pace. The students are not to be used as employees who only apply previously acquired knowledge to produce a product. CBHP students are not to be used as data-entry personnel or library research assistants.

Randall Research Scholars students are expected to work with their project director to create and sign a project contract specifying the goals of the research project, activities and deliverables for which the student is responsible, identified risks possibly compromising deadlines or deliverables and the learning outcomes for the student. Students and project directors should meet weekly to keep the research project on track and ensure learning objectives are met.

Project directors must complete an evaluation of the students at the end of an academic term using the standard student evaluation form. The form should be received by the Randall Research Scholars Director on the first business day following the student’s final examination.

Submission Process

If you have a research project you believe will fit into the program and are willing to participate in this program by working with an undergraduate student, then you are encouraged to submit a description of this project. You may download and complete the project proposal form and email it back to Once your project is selected around the second week of an academic term, the CBHP student will contact you directly for further information and begin filling out a project contract for you to review and approve.

The deadline for submitting a semester’s proposed computer research project to the address below is the first week of classes for that semester. Please don’t hesitate to contact Shane Sharpe, Randall Research Scholars Director at or at 348-5029 with any questions.

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