Getting into Undergrad Research

<p>I'm a newly admitted transfer student, and I am interested in undergraduate research. I visited once a while back and I remember that the faculty I spoke to were quite proud that there was such a strong undergraduate research program. I've also done some reading about in on the Cal website, but I just want to get a student's perspective. </p>

<p>Are there really professors interested in helping out an undergrad successfully conduct simple research? In some schools, students present some of their findings at undergrad conferences, like this Southern</a> California Conference for Undergraduate Research (SCCUR) - Do Berkeley students ever participate in stuff like that? If I want to do research on stuff that isn't exactly in my major's department, would I be able to do that? </p>

<p>I'm a political science major, if that makes a difference to these questions. </p>

<p>Thank you in advance.</p>

<p>Bump because I have the same question, though I'll be a freshman (prospective political science). Also, what does "research" mean for undergrads in social science fields, and is it put on the back burner compared to real science departments?</p>

<p>I would also like more information on what URAP is like! Bump! :)</p>

<p>Hi</p>

<p>As a Berkeley Sr. (MCB) I can lend some advice on academic research as an undergrad.
Whether you are transfer or a freshmen makes no difference as long as you know what
you want to do, what interests you, and how much you will commit on a weekly basis
outside of schoolwork. There are many fields of research and not all research is the same
just as science labs are not the same as humanities research so you have to find out what best fits you. If you don't know then it's ok to dabble a little to get a feel for it. When I was a freshmen I got a position in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology conducting studies on Amphibians as part of URAP. URAP is a program in which Berkeley professors seek Berkeley students for a position in their lab, and this is not limited to science. It is solely reserved for students and designed for students to get academic credit for research. There is an application at the beginning of each Fall and Spring semester and they allow 3 submissions (I think). URAP is not as extensive and flexible towards what students would wish to research, but that's the point of URAP-to introduce students to research. When you have more experience in the field then you should contact professors in your area of interest. Right now I'm working in a microbiology lab which is a deviation from specimen lab work, but I find it more interesting.</p>

<p>Does the research one does have to be similar to their major? What if I was a math major and wanted to do economic research?</p>

<p>You can apply for whichever position/research that you find interesting, it doesn't have to be your major. Of course, having some knowledge in economics wouldn't hurt.</p>

<p>Thank you for the replies. I have another question. Is competition intense when applying for these URAP projects?</p>

<p>Depends on the project. For traditional, "good" projects (e.g. genetics or stem cells) there will most likely be 50+ applicants, 10 interviews, and 2-3 acceptances. I applied to one once where the Prof CC'd the rejections instead of BCC and there were 100 rejections.</p>

<p>Not to discourage you - it's worth applying because you get practice writing statements (and hopefully interviews) and you might even get it. But if you really want research, I'd highly recommend pursuing it through other programs or on your own.</p>

<p>try SURP if you're mcb (summer undergrad research program). there were a lot of positions on campus, at lawrence berkeley national lab, and at other places. i got offers from 2 out of the 3 that i applied for and i know other people who got in through that too.</p>

<p>and i know some people who got research positions by just directly contacting professors. email a bunch of professors who's research you're actually interested in and go to a group meeting or something.</p>

<p>Like everyone else has suggested, URAP is a nice avenue for getting into undergraduate research (URAP</a> Project Descriptions - Fall 2010 - for Fall 2010 projects), but there are only 3 professors offering URAP projects for the political science project. Typically, there aren't that many projects offered for social science and humanities undergraduate research; even so, you might be tacked onto a graduate student's research project. If you have the self-initiative, you can always design your own project, ask a professor to be your mentor, and sign up for upper-division course credit (usually a 199 course - independent study). Or, you can always do an honors thesis and tackle your research project in a structured setting. I'm currently doing undergraduate research in a biology lab and for a graduate student in the social sciences, and plan on doing an honors thesis next semester. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask.</p>

<hr>

<p>As for SURP (MCB), the application process can be very competitive depending on the lab (my PI's application stack was huge). However, you can always apply to be a "volunteer" at CHORI.org - quite a number of positions posted at SURP come from CHORI, but CHORI still accepts volunteers on their website. </p>

<p>URAP can be competitive depending on the number of positions listed for a major. For example, the political science department only has 3 PIs offering URAP positions... You're competing with a relatively large amount of people for a few scarce positions. Don't underestimate asking a professor (in person/office hours, not in email!) or a graduate student for a research position.</p>

<p>^ omg thank you for the link </p>

<p>i think i'm in love.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Anthropology, Charles Briggs, Professor: Was "Swine Flu" a Media Creation? Press Coverage of Health Issues (Open)

[/quote]
</p>

<p>i worked on something like this myself! i gathered original AP/NPR news files and pieced a very convincing argument on how that shiz was so b.s. </p>

<p>
[quote]
Anthropology, Rosemary Joyce, Professor:Colonial documents from Central America: Building a finding aid for the Archivo General de Centroamerica (Full- no new appr needed);

[/quote]
</p>

<p>this is a dream opportunity :(
omg i always wanted to work with the Archivo General de Centroamerica.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Linguistics, Lev Michael, Professor: Reconstructing an Amazonian proto-language: Proto-Kampa

[/quote]
</p>

<p>i want in on this....lol.....</p>

<p>wow there are a bunch of cool projects...omg i am excited :)</p>

<p>Does anyone know if more projects will be added to the Fall 2010 list? It seems so much smaller than the spring one :(</p>

<p>A lot more get added in early to mid August. Profs just haven't figured out if they wanted to keep students or not, how many they want, etc.</p>

<p>If you're interested in research opportunities look at Cal's research page... <a href="http://research.berkeley.edu/%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://research.berkeley.edu/&lt;/a> </p>

<p>If you want an amazing research funding opportunity try applying for the Haas Scholars Program. It offers roughly $13K in research funding (up to $5K in research funds, a $3800 summer stipend and $3600 in tuition offset). This program allows you to work with other motivated scholars (there are 20 Haas Scholars from various disciplines per year) as well as develop a close working relationship with a sponsoring faculty member. I had the opportunity to be a Haas Scholar last year and it was truly an amazing experience.</p>

<p>Haas Info: Haas</a> Scholars Program Home Page</p>