Students studying.


To find research opportunities that are right for you, use our DATABASE OF RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES. Before you begin, however, think about the following practical considerations:

First, every researcher was once a novice. Don't be daunted by the feeling that you don't have a research background. Research-education is part of the process. Many research programs offer extra training or mentoring to keep you on track and provide encouragement. Also, many research opportunities provide you with a group of student peers, with whom you can share experiences and growth.

Second, consider your commitment.

  • Can you afford the time away from your coursework?
  • How many hours can you commit yourself to research per week?
  • Can you work on a project for more than one semester? Many faculty want continuity in their research teams. One term may not be enough for both you and your faculty supervisor to benefit from a research collaboration.
  • What area of research do you want to pursue? Do you want to explore a possible career? Do you want to enhance your knowledge base in your major? Do you want to gain experience in an area of interest or make a contribution toward solving a community problem? You are not limited to research in your major.

Third, network. Speak with others about your interest in a research opportunity.

  • A favorite professor.
  • A friend who is already working on a research project.
  • A teaching assistant in a course you are taking.
  • Your academic counselor.

Fourth, Make a plan.
You may begin a research experience any time during your academic career. Even though the semester may have already started, a research opportunity with a university faculty member can start whenever a grant is funded or arrangements are completed. Unlike selecting next semester's courses, it does not need to happen at a particular time.  However, many projects begin with the new academic year.
Every undergraduate major offers you an opportunity for independent study or research, as well as a chance to do a thesis or senior research project. But many special programs on campus offer additional resources, as well as opportunities for funding. Go to Find Funding for Research > Tulane Funding for information on grants for Tulane students. These Tulane University grants can help you pay for travel related to your research, buy research supplies, or pay a stipend in order to allow you to do the research.
Other activities that may help you clarify your interests and develop a plan include:

  • Attend the How to Get Started in Research Workshop held at a variety of times and places on campus. Check the link to Calendar for an updated list. This workshop will give you a variety of strategies for selecting and finding a research project or funding for a research project
  • Choose courses that teach research methodologies and/or include research experiences.
  • Choose a work-study job, or job advertised in that might lead to a research experience
  • Talk with faculty in your courses about their research interests.
  • Consult our Database of Faculty Research Interests or request assistance from University librarians concerning faculty research expertise, publications and performances, and review the websites of faculty whose work interests you.
  • Find out what students with interests similar to yours have accomplished by attending seminars, presentations and poster sessions on campus where students present their research results.  Many departments and programs hold events presenting student research projects. Check the link on this website to Activities, Seminars, workshops for a partial listing.


Fifth,  Find your project on campus.
Develop a letter of application and a resume listing relevant job and research experiences. If you do not have a resume, you can get help building one by consulting the Hire Tulane site. Both the resume tips page and the OptimalRésumé page will help you construct a resume. Then, you can consult with CELT staff who can help you with the editing of your resume and cover letter.  When searching for a research project and faculty supervisor, be assertive. Most faculty will be interested in talking with you. They will want to know whether you have the time and energy to take on another intellectual endeavor. Be prepared to talk about yourself and your interests.
Look through the Database of Faculty Research Interestsin order to locate a potential faculty mentor with an interest in a topic that interests you. Check the List of Research Opportunities, where faculty have listed specific internships and research assistantships and jobs. If you have any questions about using these lists, please contact CELT staff. If you find a position that interests you, don't hesitate to approach faculty members who are conducting interesting projects.

Note: Most faculty do not rely on the List of Research Opportunities or to find student research assistants. They know that students will find them.

Center for Engaged Learning and Teaching, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-314-7698