Exploring the Option of Undergraduate Research
Georgia Tech is known as one of the leading research universities in the country, with faculty from around the world conducting groundbreaking work in their fields. Through undergraduate research, many undergraduate students take advantage of the opportunity to work with these experts during their time at Tech.
If you are an undergraduate who is considering doing research at Tech, here are a few tips:
Begin looking for opportunities the semester before you want to start research. This will give you time to find opportunities and contact research faculty.
Get in touch with the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. This program is dedicated to promoting research to undergraduates. Each college has its own undergraduate coordinator to help students find research positions and to answer questions about getting involved in research. (Find your coordinator here.)
Your undergraduate coordinator can help you pick a research field, but there are additional ways to narrow your interests as you consider taking on research. If you took a class you really enjoyed, that could be a good indication of an area you might be passionate about. Also, you can explore various fields within your major to see if there’s a specialized area that sounds interesting. Your research does not have to be related to your major, so you can explore research opportunities in other majors as well. Once you decide on a field of research, the next step is to contact a faculty member about joining his or her lab.
You can also talk with your academic advisor about how research could fit into your college timeline.
One of the easiest ways to talk with faculty members about research opportunities is to reach out to your professors. Your professors will be happy to learn of your interest in research and will have knowledge about research projects within their departments. Ask your professor to meet with you and bring questions about his or her research or the department’s research to your appointment.
If you are interested in doing research outside of your classes and major, you can find a faculty contact by exploring department Web pages. On these websites you can find lists of research faculty and links to their backgrounds and published works. Select four to five faculty members whose research you find interesting, read some of their publications and, if possible, attend an upcoming seminar or presentation by the faculty members.
The next step is to email them to set up a time to meet. Include your year at Tech, major, and relevant courses and experience in your email. Communicate your interests and identify some information you have learned about their research.
Once you and a professor agree to work together on a research project, you need to decide how you would like to receive credit for your time.
Students can register for research for either course credit or for pay. There are four options:
- 2699: Research experience for course credit for freshman and sophomore students.
- 4699: Research experience for course credit for junior and senior students.
- 2698: Research experience for pay for freshman and sophomore students.
- 4698: Research experience for pay for junior and senior students.
Students who register for 2699 or 4699 will receive graded academic credit, while 2698 and 4698 are non-billable audit courses for students who will be paid for their research work or are working on a volunteer basis.
Students should talk with their research professor to decide which option is best and how much time to commit. As a general rule, three hours of research equals one credit hour, but this can be changed in OSCAR.
Research credit hours need to be registered during Phase I or Phase II, so it is important to plan ahead to receive credit for undergraduate research.
For more information about getting involved in undergraduate research, visit www.undergradresearch.gatech.edu.