Getting Research Opportunities

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Research is essential for many graduate programs or jobs, especially in science, and offers a great opportunity for studying one specific subject in depth. A research job can also become a wonderful summer project or form the basis of a senior thesis.

Finding opportunities

  1. Email a professor whose research you're interested in; ask him if you can work for free or whether he has any funding.

    Example email:

    Dear Professor ____,

    I'm an undergraduate in ___ and recently took a class exploring ____. This really awakened my interest in ____, which your lab seems to be actively researching at the moment. Are there any openings in your lab for an undergraduate researcher? If not, I would still appreciate the opportunity to speak with you further about your research if you have the time.

    Thank you in advance!


    Be patient; professors are busy and often can take a week or more to respond.

  2. Apply to the Science, Technology and Research Scholars (STARS) Program. See Dean Garcia, Maria Morena, or your own college dean about interest.
  3. Go to the fellowships office and tell them that you want to do scientific research and ask what fellowship opportunities are available. Alternatively, you can browse this online list of fellowships.

Choosing A Lab

  1. Be sure to choose a lab that is undergraduate friendly. A lab that is not might be overwhelming.
  2. Interview different professors about their research. See which one clicks. Also, don't feel badly if someone doesn't click - just move on to the next person!