Finding Opportunities

Want a paper copy? Download our PDF document that gathers together all of the below ways to get started in undergraduate research, including tips for approaching faculty members.

  1. The URI hosts an online Undergraduate Research Portal*.  From paid research positions to methodology courses, the Portal gathers all different types of research opportunities and activities in one place for your viewing pleasure.[*Note: The Undergraduate Research Portal is housed within E-class/Moodle.  You will be required to sign in using your CCID. On your first visit, you will be prompted to enrol in the course. Click "Enrol me" to access the forums.]
  2. Sign up for the URI e-newsletter to hear about current research positions and workshops.
  3. Opportunities for undergraduate research and the production of creative works exist (or can be created) in any discipline and faculty. Many of us automatically think about mentored research opportunities where you work one-on-one with a faculty member.  See the link to your left for tips on approaching faculty members.
  4. There are many different avenues for you to get involved with undergraduate research. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at your favourite classes.  Think about why you enjoy them and what more you’d like to learn about the subject. Check out some of the world-class researchers at the U of A by looking at who has received an award from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).
  5. Try to think more broadly than just mentored research options - other possibilities include:
    • Research-based courses (e.g. BIOL 299 - Research Opportunity Program)
    • Independent/directed-study courses (e.g. W ST 401 - Directed Readings in Women's Studies)
    • Honors or specialization majors that require final projects or dissertations
    • Fieldwork with a faculty member during the spring or summer
    • Research assistant positions (paid or volunteer) with a faculty member, postdoctoral fellow or graduate student
    • Internship placements with organizations (e.g. Faculty of Science Industrial Internship Program)
    • Supervised research awards (e.g. Roger S. Smith Undergraduate Student Research Award)
    • Community service-learning courses (e.g. CSL 350/360)
    • International placements (e.g. RISE: Research Internships in Science & Engineering)
    • Volunteering (e.g. in a research lab, for a community organization, with a graduate student)
    • Publishing and sharing results (e.g. take a research paper you've already written for a class and submit it to journals and conferences)

URI Tips!

  • Eureka, the UofA science undergraduate research journal, has an article with tips for getting involved in science research - check it out here!
  • Here are some points for you to consider at this early stage, provided by U of A faculty members who currently supervise undergraduate researchers:
    • Faculty members may not be available to directly supervise you; instead, you may be working more with postdoctoral fellows and graduate students on day-to-day research tasks.
    • Some activities require certain background knowledge and coursework; you may not be qualified or experienced enough to do all research activities you’re interested in.
  • You may also be interested in seeking out volunteer opportunities in the broader community.  Many not-for-profit organizations work with volunteers, and they may have opportunities for you to conduct unpaid small-scale research projects with them. A great way to explore these opportunities might be to try out a Community Service-Learning course or project.