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Schedule a consult: CNS peer ambassadors are available to meet with students who are interested in finding a research placement.

Make an appointment with an ambassador. 

Make an appointment 
with Lynda Gonzales, Director for Student Engagement and Outreach.

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?