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.