All undergraduate students wanting to get involved in research do so through their own initiative. MCUR cannot find a research opportunity for you, but we can advise you on a search strategy for finding opportunities and point you towards appropriate resources.
When starting a search:
- Think carefully about whether you can commit to spending six to ten hours per week during the semester to working on a faculty-mentored research project. Your course work should be your priority, so do not take on a research project if it will put your academic work in jeopardy.
- Start by talking with people you already know—Talk to your current or past professors or your undergraduate major advisor.
- Survey the research being done by faculty members in your department or major. (The Research in My Major page on the MCUR website includes links to faculty directories for each academic department and program).
- Identify faculty members whose research looks interesting to you.
Once you have identified some faculty members with whom you would like to work, send the faculty member(s) a personal email:
- Do not wait until several weeks into the semester to contact faculty members about research opportunities. Research positions may fill up quickly, so start contacting faculty members before the start of the semester.
- Be sure to use your official UMD email account and include a subject line mentioning your reference request. (This shows that you are a UMD student. Keep in mind that emails from commercial accounts such as Gmail or Yahoo often get deleted by spam filters).
- Include a subject line in your email stating your interest in undergraduate research.
- Your email should include the following:
- Your major (if you've declared it) and academic year (freshman, sophomore, etc.)
- When you would like to participate in the research (fall or spring semester, academic year).
- A clear reference to the faculty member's research and what interests you about their research.
- Highlights of coursework you have taken which are relevant to the research project.
- Mention of any previous research experience.
- Knowledge of skills or software that might be relevant to the research project or field.
- Ask if you may set up a time to talk with the faculty member about available research opportunities.
- Faculty members are busy people. If you have not received a response in a week or two, re-send your email.
- You may also find information on research opportunities on MCUR's website:
- Search the Maryland Student Researchers database of available on-campus opportunities.
- Set up an appointment with MCUR staff (email us at firstname.lastname@example.org) for help on searching for research opportunities.
- Attend a MCUR workshop on research opportunities. Upcoming workshops and slides from past workshops are posted on the home page.
- Look at Research on Campus and Research in My Major for other listings and links to research opportunities on campus. You may also want to look at the directory of the University of Maryland's Research Programs and Centers.
- If you are interested in off-campus research opportunities, look at Research in D.C., Research in the U.S., and International Research Opportunities.
- Graduating seniors (especially those in the biological and biomedical sciences) may want to look at the Post-Baccaulaureate Research Opportunities page.