Ari Walter '14 and his research mentor, Brian Schutte, in their Microbiology and Molecular Genetics lab.

FIRST STEPS

Every Michigan State student can get involved in an undergraduate research project or creative activity. Whether you are a first-year student or a year from graduation, we have numerous opportunities available depending on your interest, experience,and ability. For many students finding that opportunity is the hardest part of getting involved in undergraduate research. Here are some simple suggestions to get you started:

  • Find a subject that interests you.

    Think about classes that you have enjoyed. Was there a project, paper, lab, idea, or experience that really left you wanting to learning more about it? Why did you enjoy it? What do you want to learn more about? Finding a topic, problem, idea,or activity that really excites you is a great place to begin.
  • Talk to a faculty member.

    If you really enjoyed a class and want to learn about that subject area, make an appointment to speak with the faculty member. Remember to do your homework ahead of time—that is, prepare for your meeting with the faculty member. Find out what he/she is researching and then become familiar with some of the terms and ideas related to the field. Finally, analyze your strengths and areas you need to improve.How will participating in this experience help you? What can you contribute to the project? See our FAQ "How do I approach a faculty member?" for more information.
  • Seek out graduate students as mentors.

    Graduate students in your field can make excellent mentors, especially if your future plans include graduate study. Graduate students can provide insight and advice on working with faculty, evaluating graduate programs, developing a research focus, and on finding research opportunities at MSU and elsewhere. 
  • Consult with your academic advisor.

    They may be able to connect you to faculty and other resources that can help you begin. They are a great resource to help connect your interests to research opportunities. They can also suggest courses with research components that may complement your undergraduate research experience.
  • Search for a project that may match your interests on VENTURE.

    Michigan State's VENTURE database helps match undergraduate researchers with faculty members looking for assistance with a project or study. Faculty members can post information about research opportunities on VENTURE, including a detailed description of the project, whether the position is paid or unpaid, and how interested students can apply.
  • Explore opportunities through your academic college.

    Each of Michigan State's undergraduate colleges maintains web resources for undergraduate research, including information about research and funding opportunities. The Opportunities page provides weblinks to resources by college.