Undergraduate research opportunities are fundamental for those interested in pursuing a career in the sciences and will stand out on graduate school applications and job interviews alike. The undergraduate research experience takes on many forms. Whether you are conducting experiments, running analyses or helping keep the lab clean and organized, volunteering in an academic biology lab is an invaluable experience. Students who form relationships with graduate students and faculty early on in their academic career will have greater opportunities to learn advanced research skills, explore new fields and deepen the knowledge gained in the classroom. Participating in undergraduate research is beneficial in the following ways:
- Gain valuable experience that will be advantageous in any career path
- Potentially earn credit towards your degree
- Meet new colleagues and expand your future career options
- Explore different areas of research and find your research passion!
How to get involved in undergraduate research
There are many ways to participate in research as an undergraduate. The best place to start is to find a project you are interested in. The Department of Biology has consolidated available research projects with faculty in the department. Browse available projects and apply to the three you are most interested in using the biology research application.
Browse available projects with the Department of Biology
Other options for research projects
Students are welcome to independently pursue research opportunities outside of the Department of Biology, including opportunities with other University departments or programs, as well as outside of the University with an off-campus research group or other institutions. Current professors, graduate teaching assistants and other undergraduates already involved in research would be a great resource for finding a project. A few examples of researchers outside the Department of Biology you could contact include:
- Faculty member in another department such as Psychology, Nutrition, Biochemistry, or Natural Resources and Environmental Science (NRES)
- Faculty member in a department at the University's medical school such as Microbiology, Physiology or Pharmacology
- Faculty member at the Desert Research Institute (DRI)
- Researcher for an off-campus research group
When independently pursuing research projects, be sure to get in touch in a professional and respectful way to ask if they are willing to take on any new student researchers. Personalize each correspondence, and give them as much information as you can about your availability, type of position you are looking for (are you volunteering, seeking academic credit, or, on the rare occasion, looking for a paid assistantship), and your interest in their research.
Think of this like a job interview- many students want these spots and you will make a bigger impression if you review the professor’s research so you are knowledgeable about their field.
Good luck and have fun!