In this study, I examined the hypothesis that undergraduate research enhances the educational experience of science undergraduates, attracts and retains talented students to careers in science, and acts as a pathway for minority students into science careers. Undergraduates from 41 institutions participated in an online survey on the benefits of undergraduate research experiences. Participants indicated gains on 20 potential benefits and reported on career plans. Over 83% of 1,135 participants began or continued to plan for postgraduate education in the sciences. A group of 51 students who discontinued their plans for postgraduate science education reported significantly lower gains than continuing students. Women and men reported similar levels of benefits and similar patterns of career plans. Ethnic groups did not significantly differ in reported levels of benefits or plans to continue with postgraduate education.