Getting Started in Research

First, reflect. Spend time thinking about how getting involved in undergraduate research can complement your academic experience and prepare you for your future goals.

Second, note that not all undergraduate research opportunities are found the same way. There is no 'one-stop shop' for finding opportunities given the variety of experiences available - from formal research programs, to labs, to summer experiences, and individual faculty projects. More often than not, faculty mentors and researchers are eager to have students show initiative and reach out thoughtfully to them about possible opportunities. It shows commitment, curiosity and will allow you and the faculty member to decide if it might be a good match. Because the research environment often involves some type of mentorship, a ‘good match’ between faculty and student is very important. This is not a traditional job search. You are advised to treat this as an opportunity not an expectation. Faculty are under no obligation to involve undergraduates in their work.

Talk with your academic advisors, the directors of undergraduate studies in your department, and staff at the CCSA for further guidance on identifying opportunities, when might be a good time to engage in research, and how to gain the most from the experience.  If you are a student in STEM, consider contacting the UC Careers in STEM in Career Advancement for further guidance on careers in research and potential Metcalf funding for research-based internships. Below you will find some general advice, as well as suggestions for how to identify research opportunities. Click on the links to the left to find general advice, tips on how to find research and an advisor(s), how to communicate with faculty, and what you can expect to prepare for a potential research advisor's review.