Get Involved

"Research is an intense but incredibly rewarding experience. Here I'm performing stem cell research for Dr. Brendan Harley, Chemical Engineering. The project aims to model the chemical properties of bone marrow with gel scaffolds and observe subsequent stem cell growth."
Asha, Bioengineering

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.

    “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

      • 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).

    Contact Professors About Joining Their Research Groups

      • 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.