Undergraduate Research Advice

Undergraduate research is valuable whether or not you plan to be a researcher in the future.  If you envision going on to graduate school or if you plan to go into a career path where analytical problem solving is valued, then the experience of being part of a research team will be extremely beneficial.

Many students will participate in a research project while an undergraduate student. In many majors, students learn research skills in classes (e.g. GVPT100, PSYC420) or in internships that include a research component.

Where to look for undergraduate research opportunities?

Many faculty do not post research positions because they prefer to wait until highly motivated and interested students approach them. Most research experiences require a good bit of motivation and independence. Students who take the time to learn about a faculty member’s research and then to make the effort to talk with the faculty are exhibiting the behaviors that most faculty researchers value on their teams.

Ask the faculty in your classes to talk about their research. Do a little research ahead of time so you understand the basics of the faculty member’s research. Then you can ask interesting questions and appropriately convey your enthusiasm for their work.

The Maryland Center for Undergraduate Research has some excellent advice for how to look for research positions.  This website also posts research positions available across campus.

For research opportunities specific to your major, your departmental listserv or blog will be your best source. However, you should also read about the research of your professors online and approach those that particularly impress you to see if they have any positions.

Many BSOS Departments offer departmental honors programs in which students can conduct original research with a faculty mentor.