Anyone in any college at OSU can get involved in undergraduate research! In most cases, you don't need prior research experience or a perfect GPA to participate. Students from all and disciplines engage with faculty mentors and graduate students.

View the resources (below) and the student timeline guides (above) for tips on how to begin your research journey.

Why Conduct Undergraduate Research?

Workshops

Workshops are designed for students engaged in undergraduate research experiences and are looking for tips on how to succeed.

URSA Engage

First year and transfer students will have the opportunity to engage in faculty-mentored research projects or scholarly work across any discipline.

Student Toolkit

Here you will find tools on how to write emails to professors, how to get involved in research labs, payroll support and career development tools.

Finding a Research Mentor

To help determine what your interests are, ask yourself a few questions:

  • What subjects interest me the most? 
  • Have there been any classes that have been most interesting to me? What made them interesting? 
  • Are there any questions I have that I could use to conduct research?
  • Are there other topics I am interested in?
  • Is there any research currently happening in the field I am interested in?
  • Are there any skills I am looking to develop? 

Now, look over all of your responses and see if there are any common themes. Did the same topic come up more than once? Are any of the topics closely related or linked? Now that you've asked yourself these questions, are there topics that come up more than once? 

As you continue to collect your responses, think about what topics or themes you don't like as well. This will help narrow down your research interests. 

Finding a Faculty Mentor:

  • Search through OSUs website to identify potential mentors working in your area of research interests. Look over faculty profiles, research labs, and department websites and compile a list of mentors to contact. Recording names, emails, and specialties in Excel will help you organize the information and help you keep track of your emails. 
  • Identify which OSU departments might have faculty exploring topics that are of interest to you (e.g. there may be faculty in Biology or Fisheries and Wildlife that do research on whales). You can find a complete list of colleges and their departments here
  • Talk with our URSA Ambassadors about their personal experiences getting involved in research! They might know which faculty are doing research that you're interested in.
  • Visit us at drop-in advising hours! We can help you identify faculty members of interest.

Once you have narrowed down a list of potential Faculty Mentors, it will be time to contact them:

  • Email is a good way to make initial contact with mentors. Sending an email will ensure that everything discussed can be revisited at a later time and will be much easier for the faculty mentor to manage. Consider these first emails the first step to an interview, so be sure the email reflects your best effort. You can find tips on email etiquette here. Make sure your message is free of spelling or grammatical errors. Use formal language, and keep it brief. If you send the first email and receive no response, wait at least a week and send a follow up email. 
  • Once the initial email is sent and you are in the process of determining a time to meet your mentor, check out these tips on Interviewing to work in a Research Lab

Important Things to Remember

  • When interacting with your mentor, it is important that you advocate for your needs. Do you feel that you're working too much or too little? Do you need to either start getting paid or find a different paid job? Is it a busy week and you need to focus on your studies? If you don't bring issues like these up, your mentor may not know something is bothering you. Stop by our drop in advising hours to gain some tools to navigate these types of conversations.
  • Regardless of the field you're in, it's important to keep track of the work you've done. Having a record of your work will help you look back at the methods you used and remember the important thoughts and questions you had in the moment. Keeping a record of your work is also a great way to remember the new skills you've gained when updating your resume!

Research is not linear and there is no single way to do it. It can be conducted in many different types of fields and in many disciplines. If you are interested in conducting research, the Office of URSA will work to help you find a way to do it!