Get Involved

Recommended steps for students interested in undergraduate research:

  • Take two faculty-initiated courses
    • Talk to your advisor about registering for these courses for the upcoming semester!

UUNI 240 The Research Journey (3 credits)

This  course is aimed at freshmen and sophomores with an interest in research. This  will be an interdisciplinary course, exploring the rigor and principles of  research across disciplines - from social studies, to arts, to humanities, to  nursing, to natural and physical sciences. The purpose is not to explore how  research is conducted in any single discipline, but to facilitate an  understanding of how researchers identify and define problems and the  discipline that lies behind imagining research. The course will empower  students to think of research communities as cultures with unique vocabulary,  rituals, norms, and best practices. Readings will be diverse, taken from a  range of disciplinary specializations. The course will accomplish four  objectives: (1) inspire excitement about the research process; (2) dissuade  students of the inviolability of rigid disciplinary boundaries; (3) instill  comfort with the (seemingly arcane) terminology and concepts of research; and  (4) expand perception of the range of domains in need of informed researchers

UUNI 250 Becoming a Researcher (3 credits)

This course will prepare freshmen and sophomores to participate in research, individually, in groups, or with supervising faculty. The course will introduce students to the common steps in the research process, and how they apply across disciplines. Students will learn how to define problems across disciplines, the research designs commonly adopted across disciplines, and the commonly adopted methods of analyzing qualitative and quantitative data. The purpose of the course will be to empower students to participate with confidence in the various formal and co-curricular learning environments that characterize a Research I university. The course will accomplish four objectives: (1) recognize the similarities and distinctions in research across disciplines; (2) identify how to define a research problem; (3) understand the commonly adopted research designs across disciplines, and how to select among designs; and (4) become exposed to the commonly adopted analysis procedures of both quantitative and qualitative data, across disciplines.

  • Define your interests
    • What general field are you interested in?
    • What classes have been the most interesting to you?
    • Are you looking to develop specific skills through research?
  • Identify laboratories/research centers within your interests
    • Reach out to a faculty member to ask them about research within your major/interests
      • This provides an opportunity to find a mentor. If they do not have an open position, they may be able to connect you to a faculty member who does have an opening
  • Prepare to apply
    • Check the prerequisites for the laboratory/research center – Do you meet the prerequisites?
      • For example, minimum GPA, specific course prerequisites, etc.
    • Understand the minimum time commitment
      • On average, research assistants are expected to complete a minimum of 7-12 hours of research a week
    • Make sure you have everything you need for the application – do you need to obtain a transcript, or provide a résumé?
    • Try to read at least 2 research papers and/or publications that the faculty member has been involved with before you contact them or meet them
      • It is okay if you don’t understand a lot of the content, but it will help you develop a knowledge base so you can have informed conversations
  • Reach out to faculty
    • Email the faculty member associated with the laboratory/research center
      • Make sure your email is professionally written
      • Include complete contact information, as well as your interests, any previous research experience, your availability, relevant course work, a copy of your unofficial transcript, and what you would hope to work on
  • Be patient!
    • It may take time to hear back from faculty regarding research openings. If you don’t hear back in two weeks, visit their office hours
    • Be prepared for any meeting you might have with a faculty member – treat it like an interview!