1. Narrow down your research or creative project interests.

Chemistry - Analytical, Physical, Theoretical, Organic, Bioorganic, Inorganic, Bioinorganic, Structural Inorganic, Computational, Organometallic, Chemical Physics, Chemical Education, Radiochemistry, Chemical Biology

Mathematics - Ring Theory, Group Theory, Number Theory, Set Theory, Geometry, Analysis, Computational Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, Logic, Homological Algebra, Probability and Statistics, Mathematical Physics, Mathematical Economics, Algebraic Topology, Partial Differential Equations

Earth System Sciences – The course ESS 191 discusses current research topics in Earth Sciences.  Atmospheric chemistry, Geochemistry, Biogeochemistry, Oceanography, Biosphere-atmosphere Exchange, Physiological Ecology, Atmospheric Dynamics, Fluid Dynamics, Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics, Global Change Biology, Mathematical Modeling, Hydrology, Climate, Atmospheric Physics, Aerosols, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Planetary Sciences, Environmental Microbiology

Physics – The course Physics 99 discusses current research topics in Physics.  Astrophysics, Biological Physics and Medical Physics, Condensed Matter Physics (both Theoretical and Experimental), Cosmology, Particle Physics (both Experimental and Theoretical), Plasma Physics


2. Find out about faculty research interests by looking at the department websites, reading faculty profiles and reading their published works.  Talk to your TAs, they know a lot about this.


Chem – and

Math –

ESS – and

Physics –


3. Contact Professors who are researching something that interests you.  Email is fine. See sample email


4. Meet with potential research mentors. 


Be on time, dress well, answer questions honestly and have questions ready for them.  Bring a résumé or curriculum vitae (CV), just in case, or at least a copy of your transcripts.  They may ask for one.  Walk away from the meeting knowing exactly what would be expected of you if you sign up with them.  Get answers to these questions and more:

How many hours per week will I be working?
Will I get academic credit?
What are your expectations of me?
Who will I be reporting to?
What will my specific duties be?
Is this a group or individual project?
What additional books or articles do you recommend that I read?


5. Sign up for the appropriate research class:

Chem – Chem 180
Math – Math 199
E&ES – ESS 199* or H199*,  *enrollment requires submission of a Research Application form (available on the ESS webpage by clicking here or going to CH 3200).
Physics – Physics 195, 196 or H196.


~~~ Requirements for Research ~~~


 There are no specific requirements to get involved in research, but there are several things that are highly recommended.  Most professors prefer the following:

1. High GPA.  You should have at least a 3.0, especially in your major.

2. Experience.  Experience is usually obtained by taking classes.  Usually students engage in research after their second year, as a junior or senior.  This way you know your way around the lab and have a better grasp on the scientific concepts, safety, instrumentation, etc.

3. Knowledge of your professor’s work.  Get to know them through class and during office hours.  Get to know what they research by talking with them and reading their research papers.  Start by looking at their faculty profiles.

4. Ability to work well independently and with others.  You will do some projects by yourself and some with others.  There is a good chance that when you begin in a lab, you will shadow a graduate student.   Graduate students and professors are willing to train you, but they are all very busy.  They want you to learn the procedures quickly so they can set you on your own to start collecting reliable data.


Most importantly…

Be optimistic about finding a research position.  Remember, professors are professional researchers, this is what they do.  They are always looking for eager and highly qualified students to help them.

During your interview be personable and attentive.  Do not be afraid to ask questions.  While searching for a professor to work with have goals in mind and be sure that the professor knows what they are.  You will only be able to find a good match if you get answers to some important questions.

Know what will be expected of you.  Find out exactly what you are getting yourself into.


~~~ UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program) ~~~


 The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) office has a lot of information on research.  Visit them and ask questions about funding, grants, projects, professors and more:

Go to the Student Researcher’s Handbook at for some more great information.