How to Get Involved in Research

One of the great advantages of a science program at Memorial University is that undergraduate students can become involved in cutting edge research at a very early stage in their studies. However, many students are unaware of how to access the vast array of opportunities that are available and, unfortunately, do not take advantage of them. The information below is meant to help students find ways to obtain out-of-the classroom laboratory experiences that will help them discover their passion for research.

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Most of our full-time faculty are actively engaged in research. Browse web pages or approach one of your professors or lab instructors to ask about what research is being done in your department and who might have space available.

Before talking to a professor, do some preparation. Most of them would like to hear about your background, your skills, your goals and your academic qualifications. Be prepared to convince them that you are the best person for the position.

All of the departments in Science have active student societies

Talk to students in your class or, better yet, students who are enrolled in the honours program in your department.

The Gazette's events page lists a wide variety of public lectures. Don’t be shy—almost everything advertised there is open to everyone. If you’re interested, make the time to attend.

Take part in the annual Scientific Endeavours in Academia (SEA) multidisciplinary research conference, held each spring by the Faculty of Science. Some of our departments also hold research fairs or mini-conferences for their graduate and/or honours students. They will be advertised on individual department web sites. 

There are a great many sources for funding summer research projects, including the NSERC Undergraduate Research Award (USRA), the Faculty of Science Undergraduate Research Award (SURA) and the University Student Summer Internship Program (USSIP). Deadlines and application procedures vary from year to year. The announcements are generally provided in the fall of each year with applications due in January or February. Ask at the department’s main office for more information.

MUCEP stands for Memorial University Career Experience Program and is a student employment program that provides work experience and financial support. A portion of the MUCEP positions are dedicated specifically to research and are supported by the Office of the Vice-President (Research).

All of our honours degrees require a research project that must be overseen by a faculty member. Students are responsible for making the initial approaches to potential supervisors and some supervisors have limited space in their laboratory. By volunteering to work in a lab before you enter the honours program, you already have a foot in the door!

Most of our departments offer courses that specifically offer experience in research or field work.

Think about going to Harlow in the United Kingdom. The departments of Biology and Biochemistry hold hands-on field courses there each spring/summer. Field courses in Ocean Sciences and Biology are also held at the Bonne Bay Aquarium and Research Station each summer.

Library Research Essentials (LRE) is an introductory tutorial, designed to help learners build basic library research skills and understand the foundational principles that will help them complete library research-based course assignments at Memorial University. The library also offers a wide range of short guides covering both general research skills, and specific information tools. 

Learn how to present your skills to a prospective employer.