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PAI 3.04 
(512) 232-9358

Texas Institute for Discovery Education in Science
College of Natural Sciences
The University of Texas at Austin
103 W. 24th St., G2550
Austin, TX 78712

Lynda Gonzales
Director for Student Programs

Schedule a consult: TIDES Engage peer ambassadors are available to meet with students. To learn more about their backgrounds and expertise and to make an appointment with a TIDES Engage ambassador, go hereor email tides@cns.utexas.edu.

To make an appointment with Lynda Gonzales, Director for Student Programs, go here.

View FINDING A RESEARCH PLACEMENT ON CAMPUS - a step-by-step guide to identifying possible research groups to work with and contacting potential faculty supervisors.


Step 1: Explore and Identify your interests 

  • Ask yourself ... What are you genuinely interested in? What drew you to science in the first place?  Are there courses/topics that you want to know more about? Is there a particular research area or topic you have in mind?

Step 2: Come up with a list of 3-5 faculty members who are doing research that is a good fit for your interests.

Step 3: Prepare to contact faculty members.

  • Come up with a list of 3-5 faculty members you’d like to contact about assisting on a project.
  • Plan to contact them one at a time.
  • Before contacting, find the list of recent publications by this person. Browse titles and abstracts.

Step 4: Email faculty members.

What should you include in an e-mail?

  • Use professional, formal writing, and keep your message brief.
  •  Introduce yourself and give your background and qualifications.
  •  Show interest in the research taking place in that group, not just in your personal gains.
  •  Express interest in assisting on the project.
  •  Ask if there’s a convenient time to meet to discuss project and possibilities.
  •  Include your full contact info.
  • For sample e-mails, see the resource section at the bottom of this page.

Step 5: Meet with faculty member.

 Prepare to answer these kinds of questions:

  • Why do you want to get involved in research?
  • What is it that made you want to join our research group?
  • How much time can you dedicate to research? (hrs/week and number of semesters)

Step 6: Do research!

What if all goes well and you join a research group?

Clear communication from the outset is important.

Research can be done as a volunteer, for course credit, or sometimes, for more advanced positions, for pay. Speak with your faculty supervisor about options.

Negotiate a plan/schedule with your faculty mentor. Keep your commitment. Ask if anything is unclear.

Ask key questions like:

  • Is there any reading I should do to prepare?
  • Is there a weekly lab meeting I should plan to attend?
  • Who should I schedule my lab time with?
  • What other expectations do you have?