- A collection of sample emails from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
- UT’s Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) offers support and resources for student engagement in research and creative activity in disciplines across the campus.
- EUREKA! Is the research database that offers extensive information on how to publish your work, how to obtain funding, how to do research abroad, and how to use your research experience to augment your resume and improve your chances of getting the right job or getting into the right school.
- Undergraduate Writing Center has writing consultants who can help you prepare your personal statements and review proposals.
- CNS Career Services has career coaches who can help you translate your research experiences into other opportunities
- UT’s Study Abroad Office (TEXAS Global) can help you plan to incorporate research or an internship into your study abroad experience.
Steps to Joining a Research Lab
Step 1: Explore and identify your interests
Ask yourself ... What are you genuinely interested in? What drew you to science in the first place? Are there courses/topics that you want to know more about? Is there a particular research area or topic you have in mind?
Step 2: Come up with a list of 3-5 faculty members who are doing research that is a good fit for your interests.
- Browse CNS departmental faculty profiles.
- Use your network – speak with faculty members/instructors, TA’s, your peers, advisors, etc.
- Check out EUREKA!, UT Austin’s searchable database supporting undergraduate research.
Check out the CNS Experiential Learning Office’s weekly Handshake newsletter for more opportunities.
Step 3: Prepare to contact faculty members
- Come up with a list of 3-5 faculty members you’d like to contact about assisting on a project.
- Plan to contact them one at a time.
- Before contacting them, find the list of recent publications by this person. Browse titles and abstracts.
Step 4: Email faculty members
What should you include in an email?
- Use professional, formal writing, and keep your message brief.
- Introduce yourself and give your background and qualifications.
- Show interest in the research taking place in that group, not just in your personal gains.
- Express interest in assisting on the project.
- Ask if there’s a convenient time to meet to discuss project and possibilities.
- Include your full contact info.
- For sample emails, see the resource section at the bottom of this page.
Step 5: Meet with faculty member
Prepare to answer these kinds of questions:
- Why do you want to get involved in research?
- What is it that made you want to join our research group?
- How much time can you dedicate to research? (hours per week and number of semesters)
Step 6: Do research!
What if all goes well and you join a research group? Clear communication from the outset is important.
Research can be done as a volunteer, for course credit, or sometimes, for more advanced positions, for pay. Speak with your faculty supervisor about options.
Negotiate a plan/schedule with your faculty mentor. Keep your commitment. Ask, if anything is unclear.
Ask key questions like:
- Is there any reading I should do to prepare?
- Is there a weekly lab meeting I should plan to attend?
- Who should I schedule my lab time with?
- What other expectations do you have?
Do Summer Research
Participating in research during the summer allows students to focus on their projects in a more intensive way that may not be possible during the academic year. UT Austin students are able to do research in labs on campus as well as through programs hosted by outside institutions.
If you have questions about how to find a summer program or would like assistance crafting your application materials, make a consultation appointment with one of our student ambassadors.
Finding a Summer Research Option
Summer Research Options
Check out the CNS Experiential Learning Office’s weekly Handshake newsletter to receive postings and information about summer research opportunities in the sciences.
Search databases and listings for research opportunities that take place off-campus/outside UT-Austin.
These links take you to lists of formal summer research programs that are hosted at institutions across the country. These programs require an application, and if selected, typcially offer stipends for participation but may differ on other accomodations (such as housing assistance and travel).
- National Science Foundation’s database of Research Experience for Undergraduates
- National Science Foundation’s Summer Scholars Internship Program
- Science.gov’s databases of fellowships/internships
- Pathways to Science’s multidisciplinary summer undergraduate research programs & fellowships
- Council on Undergraduate Research program postings
- CNS Health Professions list of summer opportunities
Search professional society resources.
- American Astronomical Society’s internships and summer jobs
- American Chemical Society (ACS) Experiential Programs in Chemistry
- American Society for Nutrition Job Board
- American Mathematical Society summer programs
- American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology summer research programs
- American Physical Society internships and fellowships
- Association of American Medical Colleges summer undergraduate research programs
Find government, nonprofit & industry internships that incorporate research.
Research Experience Abroad
- Browse resources and programs.
Summer Research Programs at UT
Explore summer research programs at UT. Participation may be limited to non-UT students in some cases; read each announcement for details.
- CNS Summer Research Fellowship Programs
- Interdisciplinary Life Sciences’ Summer Undergraduate Program for Experiential Research
- REU in Population Demography
- Texas REU: BME Cures Cancer
- Dell Medical School’s SURF in Cancer Research
- Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP)
- EURECA REU in Electrical and Computer Engineering
- Moncrief Undergraduate Summer Internship
- Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) REU
- Office of Undergraduate Research Summer Research Scholars Programs
Attending national and international conferences is an important activity for undergraduate researchers. At conferences, you are able to meet scientists in your field, hear about new research and present your own work.
Often you can find partial or even full funding to support your travel to present at a conference. Below are tips and campus resources for securing funding.
Tips & Resources
- Check to see if the conference you are attending offers travel grants for student presenters. Often the organization hosting the event has funds for this purpose, but it is very important to apply early!
- FRI Students: Ask you research supervisor if they have funds or know of funds that are available to support student travel to conferences.
- Check out campus resources for research travel, including the Undergraduate Research Fellowship and Scholarship for Research or Conference Travel, both through the University’s Office of Undergraduate research.