Find Research Opportunities
Find Research Opportunities
Because there are many pathways to find a research opportunity at UNC, students sometimes wonder where to start. We encourage undergraduates to start by learning about their options and connecting with students, faculty, and OUR staff before engaging in research.
Explore new areas and learn more about what interests you. Discover who’s doing research on campus that piques your curiosity and begin to ask your own questions. Learn the methods of the discipline that will enable you to get involved in research.
- Take courses. Many students at UNC start their research in a class. Click here to find classes that can help you find out what research is like in a particular field, to learn techniques for conducting research, or to begin to do your own research.
- Surf department websites to learn which professors and graduate students are doing research that interests you.
- Browse the OUR website and Database of Research Opportunities often to look for new opportunities. Explore the research happening at UNC’s Research Centers and Institutes. If you are interested in Biological/Biomedical Research, use the BBSP site to learn about research happening in labs across campus.
- Attend symposia and colloquia in your department.
- Attend workshops via the Office of Undergraduate Research.
- Take a short course on research methods at the Odum Institute or attend a workshop, training, or consultation at the Makerspace.
- Learn how other students are doing research at the annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research.
Connect with others in the research community and find ways to do your own research. Finding a research mentor (usually a faculty member, a postdoctoral fellow, or a graduate student) is a helpful way to find guidance and exposure to more opportunities. Finding the right mentor for your research may take perseverance, so ask OUR staff, Department Liaisons, and/or Student Ambassadors to help you navigate your research path and make connections.
- Meet with an OUR Faculty Liaison or Director of Undergraduate Studies in your department to get a faculty perspective on how to get involved in research and to make connections between your research interests and faculty doing similar work.
- Meet with OUR Student Ambassadors to hear a student’s perspective and to get ideas for networking and finding research opportunities.
- Connect with professors and graduate students doing research that interests you. Go to office hours or email (see Tips for Emailing Faculty) to request an appointment. Once you learn about their projects, you can ask if they are looking for undergraduate research support.
- Connect with University librarians to learn about Carolina faculty research expertise, publications and performances, and review the websites of faculty whose work interests you.
- Meet with someone from the Office for Undergraduate Research to ask questions and to chart your next steps. See our Staff page to make an appointment with Dr. Bob Pleasants.
After you’ve learned about research opportunities and connected with a research mentor, you’re ready to get started. You can support faculty or graduate students in their research projects, engage in course-based research for credit, or find funding for your own original research project.
- Work with faculty or graduate students doing mentored research in a volunteer or paid research project, or take a research-intensive course for credit.
- Apply for funding through a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) or a Summer Award for Research-Intensive Courses, or use the Embark Carolina Funding Finder or the Carolina Internal Funding Database to look for other sources grants, awards, and fellowships.
- Join or create an Undergraduate Research Consultant Team (URCT).
- Present your research at the Celebration of Undergraduate Research or use a Travel Award to attend a conference.
- Register for the Carolina Research Scholars Program (CRSP) to earn a transcription designation for your research experience.
Additional Research Opportunities at UNC
OUR is one of many units across UNC-Chapel Hill that provide opportunities for undergraduates to engage in research. Click here to learn about some of the programs offered by other administrative units at Carolina. This page is updated quarterly so some programs or links may have changed. If you are aware of changes or additions that should be made in future versions, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Biological and Biomedical Research Opportunities
This site was designed for students who intend to apply to graduate programs, but it includes resources that are helpful for undergraduates who want to identify faculty working in particular research fields.
Research Centers and Institutes at UNC
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the 12th largest research university in the United States, and it has more than 100 affiliated research centers and institutes where scholars collaborate to apply their expertise to specialized areas in health, education, technology, social and environmental issues, and more. Find out about opportunities at these centers and institutes.
Additional Research Opportunities Outside UNC
Many companies and organizations near Carolina have internship or workshop opportunities that involve research. If there are organizations that work in an area of your interest, try contacting them to see whether they have a formal internship program, or whether they have other opportunities for you to work with or shadow a researcher. A limited list of Triangle-area opportunities OUR has heard about are listed here, but you should also talk to UNC Career Services to learn about other possible options.
National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates
There are also many research opportunities and programs available outside of UNC. The National Science Foundation has compiled a site of Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU), providing links to research opportunities in the natural sciences.