We're here to help you find the right opportunity to pursue your interest in research.
How to Get Involved
Before Contacting a Professor
- Draft a list of what you need to do research (e.g., participate in an undergraduate research program, research topic, graduate mentor, research plan).
- Have an idea of the research area you are interested in.
- List courses you have taken that would be relevant to doing research in your area of interest.
- List the courses you plan to take in the next two semesters (this will help you determine how much time you can commit to research work).
- List your skills that could be useful to the research lab.
Use Your Network to Gather Information
- Ask peers who already have mentors or are working in research labs for advice on how to get involved in research.
- Talk to graduate students in your department.
- Talk to professors you have or had courses with; they may have information about opportunities to join their research group or another professor’s group.
- Utilize the web: get to know the professors in your department/program and visit their research group websites.
- Know professors’ research interests and areas of expertise.
- Find out who are their graduate students and postdocs.
- Take note of who to contact about joining the lab.
- Check if there are specific requirements to join the lab (e.g., courses taken, GPA).
- Be professional in your communications with professors.
- Send an email expressing your interest of working in their research group. You can also stop by during their office hours.
- Inform the professor if you are applying to an undergraduate research program.
- Request a meeting.
- Follow-up with an email or a visit to their office if you have not received a reply.
“I appreciated the ability to get involved in real and applicable research in my first semester here at Illinois.”
– Graham, Computer Engineering
Identify Professors Whose Research Aligns With Your Interest
Contact Professors About Joining Their Research Groups