Frequently Asked Questions

Why participate in SWP?

Students gain valuable experience working with a mentor on their individualized learning goals. Student receive academic credit for the experience and are paid for the experience. These experiences provide access to CALS research labs, farms, greenhouses and classrooms.

How do I get started?

  1. Establish mentor/mentee relationship.
  2. Complete the registration form and submit to 201 Curtiss.
  3. Register for Science with Practice course (AGEDS 312) on AccessPlus for academic credit. 
  4. Come to the first day of class (or the first class after you add - registrations can be added through week 2 with instructor signature).

Can I take the Science with Practice course more than once?

You can, but we do require that the student be learning something different or more complex than they were the first time – it cannot just be a continuation of the same project with the same learning objectives. While SWP allows the course to be repeated, it is up to individual majors for whether the credits can be used in the degree more than once. You cannot complete Science with Practice without enrolling in the course credits.

Does SWP assign students with mentors? 


You are required to have a mentor, but we do not assign. Sometimes we know of mentors who are looking for a student, but you are encouraged to talk to your advisor or faculty you wish to work with about opportunities in your area. 

Is SWP open to freshmen?

Yes. There is NO class limitation, but most students are typically juniors or seniors.

How many hours can I work?

You can work 20 hours per week in a Science with Practice position. Iowa State University limits the hours a student employee can work to 20 hours per week when classes are in session. Note: This is a total of combined jobs so if you work 10 hours a week for ISU dining, you can work another 10 hours per week for Science with Practice for the 20 hours total.

What does Science with Practice Pay per hour?

Pay rates are determined by the mentors. Science with Practice pays half of the students’ wages while the mentor pays the other half. This arrangement can sometimes lead to students receiving higher wages or more hours than they may receive otherwise being hired as an undergraduate assistant.

Can I complete SWP and the honors program at the same time?

The short answer is yes, but the learning outcomes and requirements need to be met individually (you cannot "double count" the same project). For example, you may be placed in a research lab and are working on objectives 1 and 2 for SWP but objective 3 meets your honors project requirements. Please ask questions of both SWP staff and honors college if you have questions.