Guide to Getting Started

Participating in undergraduate research can help you get involved in faculty-mentored research in any academic area: the humanities, natural and social sciences, medicine, arts, education, and more! We’re here to help from the very beginning, because defining your goals upfront goes a long way toward helping you achieve them.

If you have received an Undergraduate Research Scholarship (URS) as part of your admissions package, click here.

1. Define your interests and discover your passion

Your first step is to narrow down your interests to find a topic on which to conduct your research. Think about topics in your courses, on the news, that you've read about, and that sound interesting and really excite you.

For more ideas:
  • Look through the list of UROP projects students in your college have done.
  • Check department websites for information about faculty research activities — be proactive, reach out to them directly about your interests and possible research opportunities.

2. Find a Faculty Mentor

You will need to work directly with a faculty member on a research project. To find a mentor, ask your professors, TAs or academic advisor for names of faculty members working on research in your interest area.

You can also:
  • look through the list of former UROP mentors (coming soon),
  • search the Experts@UMN database,
  • look at faculty listings on departmental websites,
  • or contact the UROP office for guidance.

3. Connect with Your Faculty Mentor

After you narrow down possible faculty mentors, familiarize yourself with their work. Send them an email introducing yourself and asking about participating in their research.

In your email:
  • Describe yourself (full name, major, year in school, relevant coursework, experience or skills, if any) in a formal and professional manner.
  • Tell them how you got interested in their work and offer the project area you'd like to explore.
  • Ask whether they have an opening for an undergraduate in their research group in the coming semester.
  • Request a meeting to discuss possibilities.
  • Finally, thank them for their consideration.

Don't give up until you find a position! It takes persistence but you will find one; ask the UROP office for help if you get stuck.

4. Plan Your Project

Once you’ve found your faculty mentor, together discuss potential projects. Decide which type of research experience is best for you.

You can either:

Note: Most students do a combination of these types of research during their undergraduate career at the U.

5. Write your UROP Proposal or Directed Research Contract

Write your proposal in consultation with your faculty mentor.

To apply for a UROP Scholarship, complete the online application.

Click "Apply Now" at the top of the page.

For directed research, contact your college.

College of Biological Sciences College of Design
College of Education & Human Development College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Sciences
College of Liberal Arts College of Science and Engineering
Carlson School of Management