Preparing for Undergraduate Research

Undergraduates do research in every division and department at UC Santa Cruz. Since UCSC is a research university, active participation in research should be an integral part of your education. For examples of UR in each division, see student profiles.

To get involved in UR, you need to be well prepared.  Reviewing this Introduction to Undergraduate Research slide presentation is a good place to start. Then have a look at suggestions below.  A handout version of this page is here.  For information specifically for transfer students, click here.

Get good grades.

Go to office hours regularly. 

  • Ask questions about the class or the instructor’s research or career path. 
  • You need to build relationships so that you can learn about opportunities and get good reference letters.

Find professors who are doing research that interests you and talk to them now.  Look at department webpages to learn about professors’ research topics

  • Email the professors or go to office hours and ask the professors about their research and what they look for in an undergraduate research assistant.

Take advantage of campus services.

Start researching summer opportunities the previous fall and winter.  Many summer programs have application deadlines November-February.

  • You need time to learn about the program and prepare your application.

Join a student organization.

  • Clubs provide a community of like-minded peers.
  • You can learn about many research opportunities from friends.

To find out additional information for your field of study, go to the related webpage for the division/school: