Find a Research Opportunity

At the University of Alberta, there are a wide range of opportunities for students to engage in research and creative activities. One size does not fit all! The first step is to ask yourself the following questions:
What are your research interests?

One of the coolest things about undergraduate research is that it can give you the opportunity to follow your own curiosity. So what are you curious about?

  • Is there a particular topic or course that sparks your interest?
  • Are there any topics you'd like to learn more about?
  • Are there any specific skills you'd like to develop?

If you already have an idea for a specific research project, great! If you don't, that's okay too. All you really need at this point is a general idea of what areas you might be interested in so you can identify opportunities that might be a good fit.

What kind of research opportunity are you looking for?
  • Are you looking for a paid or a volunteer opportunity?
  • Are you looking for a full-time (e.g. summer) position, or a part-time opportunity?
  • Do you want to receive academic credit for your research?

Once you know what kind of opportunity you are looking for, consider the range of possibilities.

Where can you find a potential supervisor?

For mentored research opportunities, honours projects, and many research-based courses, you'll need to find a supervisor.

In some cases, you'll be able to find a specific posting for a research opportunity with the supervisor already identified. If so, you're in luck - they're looking for someone like you!

The URI maintains an Undergraduate Research Portal in eClass with research opportunity postings, including links to listings within various Faculties and Departments. Keep an eye on bulletin boards around campus and listen closely in your classes, too - many professors recruit students from within their courses.

What if you don't see a posting anywhere that interests you?

That doesn't mean there are no opportunities! The truth is, most undergraduate research opportunities arise from students approaching a potential supervisor in their area of interest.

Not sure how to approach a professor?

Nervous about talking to strangers? Hey, we get it, and that's why we're here to help. Check out the resources on this page, or contact our office to arrange an advising appointment. We can discuss your interests in more detail, and help you determine next steps for getting started in research.

Need a boost of courage to get started?

Here is one student's story of finding the courage to take the first step, and the advice she has to offer other students who want to get started in research.

Potential Research Areas

Honours Projects

Characteristics

  • Usually a more substantial mentored, project undertaken in 4th year as part of an Honors program
  • Unpaid
  • Recognized on your transcript

Examples

Consult your Faculty to determine whether an Honors program is available for your area of study.

Internships, Co-ops, and Research Practicums

Characteristics

  • May or may not be recognized on your transcript (depends on program)
  • Usually involves one or more full-time work terms
  • Could be paid or unpaid (depending on program & funding availability)
  • Could take place on or off-campus (depending on program)
  • Not all placements are research-based

Examples

Science Internship Program
Arts Work Experience Program
Engineering Coop Program
ALES Internship Program
MITACS research internships

Mentored Research Projects

Characteristics

  • May be paid or unpaid, full-time or part-time, during the summer or academic year
  • Usually do not offer academic credit
  • Students might work on their own project or part of a larger ongoing project
  • Students are usually encouraged to apply for funding (see Apply for Funding)

Examples

Research Abroad

Characteristics

International placement

Examples

MITACS research internships
U of A International (Go Abroad Programs)

Research Assistant Positions

Characteristics

  • May be paid or unpaid, full-time or part-time
  • Usually do not offer academic credit
  • Student typically provides support to a larger ongoing project (e.g. with a graduate student or professor)

Examples

Research Certificate

Characteristics

  • Recognized on your transcript
  • Students complete a series of requirements, including a research project

Examples

Research-Based Courses

Characteristics

  • May receive academic credit
  • Unpaid
  • May be taken during the academic year (less common in spring/summer)
  • Various levels of engagement & time-commitment (usually a few hours/week)
  • May be a classroom/lab-based course or a mentored project with a professor

Examples

  • Research methods courses
  • "Research Opportunity" courses (e.g. 299, 398/399, 498/499)
  • Independent or directed studies
Student Groups

Characteristics

Typically group projects, which may be supervised by a faculty mentor

Examples

Summer Jobs

Characteristics

Could be a mentored research project on campus (see above) or work experience with industry.

Examples

Attend our Getting Started in Research seminar

This live online session will introduce you to the process of getting started in research, from finding opportunities, to reaching out to professors.

Thursday, January 7, 2021 (12:35-1:20 pm) 
Wednesday, March 17, 2021 (12:05-12:50pm)

Register here


The Undergraduate Research Portal is an online resource that helps connect undergraduate students with research opportunities.

  • Research opportunity listings (including research-based courses, internships, and summer positions)
  • URI Events calendar and upcoming events
  • Quick links to the Undergraduate Research LibGuide and other library resources
  • Q&A forum - ask your questions about research
  • Information and resources related to undergraduate research

All members of the U of A community with a valid CCID can access the Portal, search the forums, and post opportunities.

Access the Portal

Resources on finding research opportunities