Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

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  • When Should I Start Looking For Research Opportunities?

    It is recommended that students begin research during or after their sophomore year. There may be exceptions, such as a student that has conducted extensive research while in high school. Students apply once they have their schedule confirmed for the semester they are seeking research. If the student is not placed for the semester and is still interested in research, they will need to submit a new application so their schedule and grades are current.

  • Am I Guaranteed A Research Position?

    The Office of Undergraduate Research will refer you to faculty research mentors based on your areas of interest. Every effort will be made by the office to place you, but placement is not guaranteed due to factors beyond our control such as: faculty availability and responsiveness, student application materials, and student commitment.

  • What Research Opportunities Are Available?

    There are significant research opportunities available to all UM undergraduate students. Each research project takes its own form depending on the specific discipline.

    Some research opportunities include:

    • Clinical Research: Working with patient data, not the patients themselves.
    • Community-Based Research: Obtaining information through questionnaires, in-person sampling, and other survey work.
    • Lab Research: Work in a laboratory setting. 
    Additionally, reviewing student abstracts from previous Research, Creativity, and Innovation Forums can help provide a glimpse into the vast research occurring at UM.

  • Can I Earn Academic Credit For Doing Research?

    The Office of Undergraduate Research & Community Outreach does not issue credit for conducting research; however, many students can earn course credit for their research experience.

    To inquire about obtaining academic credit for research, please visit your academic advisor directly as they are most familiar with specific departmental policies, procedures, and requirements. Often departments have special courses listed as independent research, but there is an approval process your advisor can help you navigate. 

    After the approval has been obtained, please email the Office of Undergraduate Research at to update your file accordingly.

  • How Long Does It Take To Be Placed?

    Research placement is not guaranteed and the specific timeframe is different for each applicant. Many variables impact the research placement including availability, responsiveness, prior experience, commitment level, research interests, and grades.

  • How Can I Help Facilitate The Process?

    Research positions are more competitive now than in the past. The bar has been raised.

    • Check and respond to email regularly.
    • Use your UM email address.
    • Find out what research area interests you.
    • Be clear and honest about your availability to conduct research.

  • Where Does Research Take Place?

    The research locations depend on the specific research project. Students are conducting research on all three UM campuses: Coral Gables, Medical, and RSMAS.

  • How Do I Get To My Research Location?

    Students are responsible for travel to and from their research locations including associated expenses. Transit options include:

  • How Many Hours Are Spent On Research?

    This depends on a number of factors including: the research project, research mentor, and student availability. Typically, the minimum time students should spend working is in 2-hour time blocks and a minimum of 6 hours per week; however, this is largely dependent on the researcher’s project. Make sure to discuss this during the interview.

Interview and Next Steps

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  • How Will I Be Contacted For An Interview?

    The Office of Undergraduate Research (UGR) will refer applicants to appropriate mentors based on the availability and interests stated on the application. UGR contacts viable mentors and provides them with the applicant's application, resume, and unofficial transcripts. Once the mentor reviews the documents, they inform UGR whether or not they would like to conduct an interview. If an interview offer is granted, UGR will email the applicant contact information for the mentor in order to arrange a meeting date and time.

  • How Do I Dress For The Interview?

    Due to the many research opportunities available, there is not a preferred attire; however, it is recommended to overdress rather than underdress if you are unsure. When scheduling your interview, you can inquire about the setting and if they have any recommendations on interview attire. Additionally, some areas, particularly on the medical campus, are more conservative especially if you may be working with patients and study participants; therefore, appropriate dress for that setting is essential and business casual dress would be appropriate.

  • How Do I Stand Out In The Interview?

    • Learn about the research mentor’s program.
      • Find their website and read about their research and read any articles they have published.
    • Be specific in discussing your interests with some depth in the area of research of the interviewer.
    • Have questions and comments specific to their lab and express sincere interest.
    • Bring an open mind and be honest with your opinions and answers.
    • DO ask the potential mentor whether they have worked with undergraduate students before.
    • Take the time to meet others working on the project, if applicable.
    • Be on time.
      • Make sure to obtain the correct address and give yourself plenty of time to find their location.
      • If running late, call the research mentor and notify them.
    • Silence your phone before the interview.
    • Be prepared to talk about your qualifications and how they fit the position.
    • Bring your resume (including prior work experience/research) and a copy of the courses you have taken.
      • An unofficial transcript is fine, but it is important to include the course titles.
      • If your high school record is relevant bring that information as well (SAT, GPA, High School Courses, AP Exams, Research Experience).
    • Follow up with an email thanking the research mentor for the interview.
      • This shows that you are interested in the position and appreciative of their time.
      • This is also a good opportunity to ask any follow-up questions that didn’t come up during the meeting.
      • If you are not interested in the position, email and kindly let them know.
    • Need more help with interview skills? Visit the Toppel Career Center.

  • I Was Offered A Position And Decided To Accept. What Happens Now?

    • Do not accept a position if you are unsure or have doubts as there is no obligation to accept. Make sure that it will be a right fit before you accept so that you will follow through on your commitment to the research mentor. Communication is key. If you do accept a position and then change your mind, please contact the mentor immediately. It takes valuable time and resources to interview and train a new student; therefore, it is disappointing when a student changes their mind, particularly after starting their research.
    • Email the Office of Undergraduate Research when you have confirmed your placement in order to update your file. Please provide the mentor’s full name and proposed start date. The office will then email you and your faculty mentor approval to begin research after all documents have been submitted and any additional details concerning your placement.

  • What Advice Do You Have On How To Succeed In A Research Position?

    • Remember that you are the most junior member of the research team and that this means that you need to go the extra mile on all aspects of the research.
    • Always be on time.
    • Convey a strong work ethic and a high level of personal organization.
    • Show enthusiasm. A commitment to the team and research is crucial. Exude effort, persistence, and patience. Most of all, effort.
    • Minimize using department computers for checking personal email or surfing the web.
    • If you are bored or finish early, check with the faculty member to identify literature to study. Even better, learn how to do literature searches, read scientific papers relevant to the topic, and propose new experiments.
    • Communicate with your mentors regardless if they are the PI, postdoc, or graduate students.
    • Check and respond to your email regularly.
    • Research in a lab setting often requires closed-toe shoes.

  • Do UM Students Have The Opportunity To Present Their Research?

    The opportunities to present your research are numerous! There are year-round opportunities at various local and national workshops, panels, and conferences including: UM Research, Creativity, & Innovation Forum (RCIF), The Leadership Alliance National Symposium (LANS), and The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Meeting of the Minds. Check the Conferences and Seminars section on the website for additional information!

  • After I Have Completed My Research Commitment, How Do I Obtain A Reference Letter?

    It is recommended to submit a formal email request to your research mentor. In this request, you can provide additional information on how you plan to use their recommendation (graduate school application, professional school application, etc.).