Opportunities & Courses

Find a Research Opportunity

There are many pathways to find a research opportunity at UNC – so many that students sometimes wonder where to start. This page is meant to share options and help you formulate a plan – to Learn, Connect, and Engage in research at Carolina.

Learn

Explore new areas and learn more about what interests you. Discover the research questions that peak your curiosity and begin to ask your own questions. Learn the methods of the discipline that will enable you to pursue your questions. And learn what research questions others are interested in at UNC, nationally and internationally.

  • 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.
  • 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

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 initiative and a bit of perseverance. Talking with OUR Student Ambassadors can also help you navigate your research path and make connections.

  • Meet with an OUR Department 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 (tips for writing an email) to request an appointment.
  • 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 — Dr. Bob Pleasants or Dr. Boots Quimby.

Engage

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.


Additional Research Opportunities at UNC Chapel Hill

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 our@unc.edu.

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.

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. Any 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.