The University of Arizona is one of the nation's top research institutions with a three-fold mission of teaching, research, and public service. ACBS undergraduates are encouraged to actively participate in this mission by working with faculty on original research and scholarly projects. Participation in UA faculty research gives undergraduates hands-on experience, make useful connections with research faculty, and build your resume/CV. Research opportunities can be paid, earned credit, or volunteer work. They can range from short term to long term and can be found at the university year round. While many veterinary schools (DVM) prefer applicants with some research experience, almost all graduate programs (MS, PhD degrees) in the life sciences require it.
Students can see how scientists pursue their profession, what they are like as people, and what it feels like to conduct scholarly work on a daily basis. Research directors and laboratory personnel can also offer information on job opportunities, different graduate programs, and various professional schools, while exposure to research may help students make important educational and career decisions.
Review research faculty interests and current projects.
- ACBS faculty:
You can search for faculty research and interests using keywords at http://acbs.cals.arizona.edu/people/faculty. Our advisors are also available to help direct you to faculty who match your research interests.
- Faculty from other departments:
Navigate to find the listings of faculty and their listed research interests. This can be beneficial if you are thinking of attending graduate school outside of your current major or if you are interested in learning new techniques. Some common disciplines that often couple with majors in ACBS: public health, biology, molecular and cellular biology, entomology, environmental sciences, plant sciences, etc.
TIP: You can look up a faculty member’s most recent publications by searching for their name using Google Scholar or PubMed. The UA pays for journal subscriptions so a large number of articles are available when using wifi on campus or when routing off campus using a VPN.
It is recommended that interested students contact three to five faculty members whose research areas are of interest and make an appointment to discuss the research projects that they may have available. The level of previous laboratory experience required varies depending on the needs of the faculty member. Our advisors can also help students find an area that best suits their own curiosity.
If you find a faculty member who you are interested in working with, attend their office hours or email them and make sure you include the following:
- Name and class standing (sophomore, junior, etc.)
- The most recent version of your resume or CV. (We recommend you submit a draft to your academic advisor for edits before sending to a faculty member.)
- Briefly explain why you are interested in their research and why you are interested in getting involved with research (personal interest, preparation for graduate school, paid job, etc.)
- Ask if they accept undergraduates in their lab, and if so, ask whether they have any work you could participate in.
Your initial email should be brief and to the point. They may follow up asking for an in-person meeting, schedule availability, and whether you are looking for paid or volunteer experience.
Additional resources and opportunities:
- Office of Undergraduate Research: http://www.ur.arizona.edu
- Undergraduate Biology Research Program (UBRP): http://ubrp.arizona.edu
- Undergraduate Research Opportunity Consortium (UROC): http://grad.arizona.edu/uroc/uroc-home
- Arizona’s Science, Engineering, and Math Scholars (ASEMS): http://asems.arizona.edu