Getting Started

Has a professor sparked your interest in a topic during a course? Is there a project or an area of research that you have been excited to explore? Wondering where to start? 

The key to getting started in research is finding a subject you are passionate about and making connections with faculty who share that interest.

  • Get to know professors, teaching assistants, and upperclassmen in your classes or in any department and find out what kind of research they are doing.
  • Take advantage of what's going on around you. The university is full of lectures and colloquia every week. You never know what topic might spark your interest!

If you are looking for an existing research opportunity, thinking about designing a research project of your own, or just wondering whether or not research is for you, the Office of Undergraduate Research is a good place to start. 

first steps

Identify Your Area of Interest

The most important ingredient in a successful research project is the passion of the researcher: What is it that makes YOU want to learn more?

Areas of Interest

Investigate Advisors or Mentors

Because undergraduate research is, by definition, faculty mentored, students will need to spend a significant period of time finding a mentor and establishing a relationship before beginning a research project and well in advance of applying for a research funding award.

How to Find a Mentor

Explore Programs and Funding

The Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) helps fund students undertaking research projects over the summer and keeps listings of other summer programs both at WashU and programs and funding sources outside of WashU.

Discover the Possibilities

Come to our events!

Twice a year, the OUR presents the Undergraduate Research Symposium. This is a forum for students to present their research findings and a celebration of the diversity of research that takes place at WashU. And it's a great venue for talking to student researchers about how they got started in research and for gathering information about what it means to do research. Watch for other events throughout the year.

Check out Our Events Page

Have specific questions?

Make an appointment to come meet with someone at the Office of Undergraduate Research.

Make an Appointment