College Science Fair Projects

Get Science Fair Project Ideas

College science projects
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It can be a challenge to come up with a science fair project idea. There is fierce competition to come up with the coolest idea, plus you need a topic that is considered appropriate for your educational level. 

A well-designed project at the college level can open the door to future educational and career opportunities, so it pays to put some thought and effort into your topic. A good project will answer a question and test a hypothesis.

College students usually have a semester to complete their project, so they have some time to plan and conduct research. The goal at this level is to find an original topic. It doesn't have to be something complicated or time-consuming. Also, appearances count. Aim for professional-quality images and presentation. Handwritten work and drawings won't work as well as a printed report or poster with photographs. Possible topics include:

  • What forms of recycling are available to students? If college students participated in these recycling programs, what would be the effect on cost, the environment, etc.?
  • Does the presence of detergent in water affect plant growth? In what ways? What is the implication regarding water pollution?
  • Does magnetism affect the growth of plants? In what way?
  • How does the shape of an ice cube affect how quickly it melts?
  • Do the same types of mold grow on all types of bread? Are certain preservatives better at inhibiting dangerous molds than others?
  • Is the nutritional content of different brands of a vegetable (e.g., canned peas) the same? How much variation is there in any given product?
  • Do consumers prefer bleached paper products or natural-color paper products? What factors affect the preference? Age? Socio-economic status? Gender?
  • Is a seed affected by its size? Do different size seeds have different germination rates? Does seed size affect the growth rate or final size of a plant?
  • How does cold storage affect the germination of seeds? Factors you can control include the type of seeds, the length of storage, the temperature of storage, light, and humidity.
  • How close does a plant have to be to a pesticide for the pesticide to work? What factors influence the effectiveness of a pesticide (rain? light? wind?)? How much can you dilute a pesticide while retaining its effectiveness? How effective are natural pest deterrents?
  • What is the effect of a chemical on a plant? You can look at natural pollutants (e.g., motor oil, runoff from a busy street) or unusual substances (e.g., orange juice, baking soda). Factors that you can measure include rate of plant growth, leaf size, life/death of the plant, the color of the plant, and ability to flower/bear fruit.
  • Solve a problem. For example, can you design a better type of street intersection?