First Steps

How to Find a Research Position on Campus

There are various ways by which you can identify research opportunities on campus:

1. Faculty

Faculty are a great resource for information about research (their own as well as that of others in their department) and potential research mentors. Faculty want you to take the initiative to learn what their research areas are before reaching out to them.

  • Review the faculty research profiles. Read scholarly articles written by professors at Case Western Reserve University.

  • Identify faculty whose work interests you and contact them. Typically students will contact, usually by email, 8 to 10 faculty members (individually).

  • In this email, briefly introduce yourself (major, year, any relevant experience); express your interest in their research, using specifics; and indicate if you are seeking research as a volunteer, for pay, or for course credit. You also will want to communicate how many hours per week you want to work (e.g. 5-8, 10-12, etc.)

  • If you are a work-study student, inform them that, while you are willing to volunteer, you are approved for work-study, so you would prefer a paid position.  Attach a resume.  If you have not had your resume reviewed, please plan to do so by attending the drop-hours of the Career Lab Career Peers. You can find their hours and locations on the Post-Graduate Planning and Experiential Education website

  • Watch a video where CWRU faculty explain the value of undergraduate research.  

2. The Opportunity List

Review the Opportunity List compiled by SOURCE.    SOURCE actively surveys faculty about opportunities during the summer (for fall semester) and in December (for spring semester and summer).  SOURCE updates the list immediately prior to spring break and on a rolling basis as faculty provide SOURCE with information.

3.  Your peers

CWRU has a strong undergraduate research culture, which means that many of your friends may know when there is an opening in their own labs. Let everyone around you know that you are looking for a research opportunity, and ask that they let you know if they hear about an opening.

4. The SOURCE office

Part of our job is to inform you how to get connected to research positions on campus.  SOURCE offers almost weekly information sessions for students at the very beginning of their search. Session times and locations can be found on our seminar listing page.  You also may make individual appointments through My Journey.

5. Learn about what’s happening on and around campus

Stay informed about who is doing what, new or ongoing research projects, awards won, events happening on campus, etc. The Daily (email newsletter delivered to your inbox), posters and signs on and around campus, campus offices and clubs, etc, are all ways to be alerted to potential research opportunities. Attend talks, seminars, and other presentations whose topics are of interest to you. Many opportunities arise out of simply engaging with faculty after a presentation.