Getting Started with Undergraduate Research

SOURCE is here to help you learn more about undergraduate research and find ways to get involved. Explore our FAQ below or reach out to with any questions or to set up an appointment.

  • We recommend that students get started early, in your first or second year!
  • Research takes time and resources, so starting early allows you to best utilize SOURCE and other campus support programs.
  • Faculty mentors know that students just getting started in research are still developing their base research skills, don't let not knowing something keep you from exploring an opportunity!

  • Research for credit – register for independent study or research credit during the academic year (students may not receive both credit and pay for research)
  • Paid research assistant positions – work as a research assistant in a paid position (some opportunities may be FWS, some open to all students). SOURCE RA positions are listed on Handshake as “SOURCE Program Associate.”
  • Summer research – work remotely, on campus, or through a summer program on research, usually supported by a stipend
  • Volunteer research – especially in early stages or when first getting started with a faculty mentor, students may volunteer or shadow to see if the research is a good fit; as involvement deepens or as you develop a project, you and/or your mentor would pursue funding to support your project
  • SOURCE Explore or other structured programs – SU has several structured programs to introduce students to research; keep an eye on the SOURCE newsletter for deadlines
  • Research-intensive courses – ask your academic advisor about research-focused courses in your major or area of interest
  • Distinction, Thesis, or Capstone projects – many majors have optional or required culminating final projects which involve research or sustained creative activity

  • Review our “Tips for Finding a Faculty Mentor” handout (STEM/All Fields)
  • Explore potential research/creative topics that are especially motivating to you. Consider why you want to get involved in research.
  • Familiarize yourself with work from various faculty members using faculty bios on department websites.
  • Reach out to professors with a personalized, polite, and professional email with a request to meet during office hours (SOURCE can review your draft email and give feedback)
  • Meet with professors to find a good match and talk about how you could get involved with their work or design your own project with their guidance.

  • Meet with a SOURCE Student Research Mentor or staff member – we will meet with you to help get started, even if you don’t really know where or how to begin
  • Attend a SOURCE Fall Expo, Spring Showcase, or Summer Symposium to talk with current students doing research and see the exciting work they are doing
  • Subscribe to the SOURCE newsletter