Getting Involved in Research:
How do I obtain a research position?
Interested in getting more research experience? Follow our guide to start the process.
Step 1: Identify your research interests
Identify your research interests by answering the following questions:
- What scientific field(s) appeal to you? Biology/Chemistry/PharmSci?
- What classes within that field have you enjoyed the most?
- What specific topics within that field did you like learning about?
- Would you prefer clinical or lab based research?
After answering these questions, pick out some top choices.
Step 2: Research your Principal Investigator (PI)
- Review the list of faculty in your desired department (PharmSci, Bio Sci, Chemistry, Molecular Biology, School of Medicine, etc.)
- Review faculty laboratory websites you are interested in
- Read the professor’s research abstract to see if their research goals are similar to your interests
- Don’t be intimidated if you don’t fully understand their published articles! Come up with a few questions you’d like to ask the PI
Step 3: Contact your chosen PIs
Although most professors would love it if you came in for office hours to discuss their research, most students contact members of faculty through e-mail.
- In your e-mail, include:
- Your major
- Your year
- Your future career goals and research interests
- Mention if you have a high GPA; the PI wants to know if you can balance your academic responsibilities and a research project
- Why you are interested in the faculty member’s research
- Express your interest in joining their lab in a research position
- Attach your resume! Don’t have one? Attend a Resume Writing workshop at the UCI Division of Career Pathways
- Use professional etiquette in your email and don’t forget to proofread it to make sure it is has no spelling errors
- Contact at least 10 faculty members
- Follow up on e-mails and send a thank you note after an interview with them
If you are chosen for the position, make sure to enroll in PharmSci 199 to received units. Your PI will have authorization codes for enrollment.
Step 4: Attend the PharmSci Student Council Research Day
This two-day event usually occurs in May and allows student to tour various PharmSci labs on campus. For more information CLICK HERE.