Where do you start?

Many students begin as student assistants in their freshman and sophomore years to gain experience and then become interns working on their own research projects as juniors and seniors.
See the Tiger Research Path to Success to chart your multi-year journey.

At any point you may reach out to the Office of Undergraduate Research to setup an appointment to discuss YOUR research journey.
To contact us:

  • MU Connect – Search “Undergraduate Research” and make an appointment with Dr. Sarah Humfeld.
  • Email – ugr(at)missouri.edu
  • Call – 573-882-5979

Ask the following questions:
  • Which subject areas interest you most?
  • Which topics in your classes grab your interest?
  • Do you have a specific project in mind (e.g., cancer research) or do you want to acquire a set of skills that can be transferred to other sub-disciplines in the future?
  • What big problems do you care about and want to help solve as a professional?
  • What stories pull you down rabbit holes?

You should really be excited about working on a research project. Don’t do it just to build your résumé or earn academic credit.

Finding a mentor may take a bit of work but there are many ways to find them:
  • Ask your faculty advisor for names of Mizzou faculty members who are doing scholarly work in your area of interest.
  • Ask other students in your department about the research project and their mentors.
  • Ask your class instructors and teaching assistants for suggestions and recommendations. Also, most Mizzou departments have brochures, annual reports and websites that list faculty research interests.
  • Browse Mizzou department, unit and division websites and research center websites. (For instance, explore the “Find Centers, Institutes & Labs” on the School of Medicine website)
  • Search the Faculty Insight database. Enter a Research Topic in the search box and review the list of faculty and their research publications relating to that topic. Watch the video, “Undergraduate Research Programs at Mizzou“, filmed on Nov 17, 2022 this workshop focuses on several programs that support undergraduate student participation in research and creative scholarship.
  • Attend departmental and campus seminars to learn about new areas of research. If the speaker is a visitor from another campus, find out which faculty member hosted the speaker; chances are they have similar research interests.
  • Read campus newspapers, websites and MU News Bureau press releases for information on new research projects and faculty grants.
  • Talk with people in departments of interest including academic advisers, faculty, upperclassmen, graduate teaching assistants (TAs), etc. If a class topic inspires you, discuss your interest with the professor after class.
  • Watch the video, “Undergraduate Research Programs at Mizzou“, filmed on Nov 17, 2022 this workshop focuses on several programs that support undergraduate student participation in research and creative scholarship.
Recorded on Nov 17, 2022 this workshop explores some of the Undergraduate Research programs that support student involvement in undergraduate research and creative scholarship.
  • Introduce yourself. Send a concise and professional email to introduce yourself, your interests, and what aspects of their research are most exciting to you. At the end of the email, request a one-on-one appointment to learn more about their research activities and explore research opportunities with them.
  • Make an appointment. Suggest a couple of different dates and times you are available to meet to reduce the number of emails necessary to find a good meeting time. Be sure they understand that you are going to talk with several mentors so that you can find the best fit with your interests and abilities.
  • Do your homework. Read all you can about each faculty member and their research program, including their research summary and a couple of recent abstracts. Try to understand the basic principles of their scholarly work and the methodologies they use before you meet with them. Find out what other undergraduate researchers say about their mentors.
  • Be prepared. When you arrive for your appointment, bring a copy of your transcript or a list of relevant courses completed and a résumé. Explain why you are interested in a research experience and in their particular research program, as well as the name of a faculty member or adviser who has agreed to be a reference. Also give the faculty member an idea of the amount of time you are able to commit to your research experience, both in hours per week and total number of semesters.
What questions should I ask faculty?

Here are several appropriate questions:

  • Do you have a research project that needs an undergraduate student’s help?
  • How did you get involved in this particular area of research?
  • Why is your particular area of research important?
  • Where does funding come from for your research?
  • What does an undergraduate working with you typically do?
  • What are some projects previous students have done?
  • Are there any particular skills or characteristics you expect an undergraduate to have before beginning a project with you?
  • What are your expectations of undergraduate researchers?
  • Are there any specific classes you suggest I take?
  • Are there any books or research articles you suggest I read?
  • Do you have suggestions for other faculty members I should meet?

Research positions take a variety of forms at Mizzou. Once you identify a potential mentor(s), determine the arrangement that best meets your needs!

  • Apply for paid research positions that are posted on our jobs website or listed on Hire MizzouTigers
  • Apply for one of the research programs hosted on campus
  • Ask potential mentors if you can contribute as an unpaid member of their research group
  • Make plans with your mentor and advisor to register for research-for-credit
Student Assistant (Job)Intern (Project)
DescriptionPerform support duties such as washing dishes, making copies, caring for animals or filing. Work with a faculty or staff member who is doing research, but you will not be doing your own project yet.Work on your own undergraduate research project with the guidance of a faculty mentor. Present research project at the Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievements Forum.
Best for Students Who AreFreshmen or sophomores with no undergraduate research experience, but who want to get started.Students with some experience. Freshmen may participate in the Honors College Discovery Fellows Program or the EXPRESS Program.
PayHourly, work-study or unpaid volunteer.Hourly, work-study or unpaid volunteer. Paid internships may be available through a research programs a scholarship or stipend; by a faculty mentor; or through work-study.
Number of Hours Per WeekWork eight to 20 hours a week during the fall and winter semesters and eight to 40 hours a week during the summer semester. (Note: Work-study funds are not available in the summer.)Work 12-15 hours a week during the fall or winter semesters and 30-40 hours a week during the summer semester.
Academic CreditNoYes, but not a requirement. Check with your major department to determine the availability of credit.
How to Get InvolvedPart-time research jobs posted on the Office of Undergraduate Research website. Search these jobs to get a better idea of the types of positions available. Apply directly or talk with faculty.See step 4 list above. You will need to find a mentor before applying to most Mizzou internship programs.
Outline of the different types of research positions available to student; includes some of the expectations and benefits for comparison.
Dr. Nicole Campione-Barr, Psychological Sciences discusses her research and working with undergraduate students.

Need More Assistance?

Here is a list of faculty liaisons for each department. Reach out to the person in departments of interest for additional insight and guidance on finding a mentor and getting involved in research and creative scholarship.

Other Museums, Research Centers & Programs

  • Center for Humanities – Christina Carney, carneyc@missouri.edu
  • Ellis Fischel Cancer Center – Robin Dianics, dianicsr@health.missouri.edu
  • Family and Relationships Research Network (FARR-net) – Nicole Campione-Barr, campionebarrn@missouri.edu
  • MU Extension – Sarah Traub, traubs@missouri.edu
  • Museum of Anthropology – Candace Sall, sallc@missouri.edu
  • Museum of Art and Archaeology – Julie Chatman, jchatman@missouri.edu
  • Service Learning – Graham McCaulley, mccaulleyg@missouri.edu