Please see tips below on finding a project and mentor. We encourage you to attend our Getting Started With Research workshops and to contact us if you have questions.

DETERMINE YOUR RESEARCH INTERESTS

To brainstorm topics or areas of research that you find interesting, you might consider:

  • Making a list of topics you’ve found interesting in your coursework
  • Thinking about issues or questions that interest you in your spare time
  • Reading academic journal articles in your major or an area of interest
  • Looking at faculty profiles on UCLA departmental websites to learn more about faculty research projects

IDENTIFY POTENTIAL RESEARCH PROJECTS AND MENTORS

Research projects can either be faculty-initiated or student-initiated:

Working on a faculty-initiated project gives you the chance to help a faculty member on a research project. A great resource for finding faculty-initiated projects is the Undergraduate Research Portal. In addition, you could ask your professors and TAs about available research opportunities.

Working on a student-initiated project gives you the chance to pursue a project of your own design under the guidance of a faculty mentor. To find a faculty mentor, you might ask professors with whom you have taken courses in your area of interest. You can also look at faculty bios on UCLA departmental websites in order to identify faculty who are conducting research in your proposed area. We recommend that you identify several potential faculty mentors to whom you could propose your project.

Before contacting potential faculty mentors, try familiarizing yourself with their most recent publications. If a potential faculty mentor has written a recent book, consider checking it out of the library. If a potential mentor has recent articles, try finding them through UCLA library databases .

Who is eligible to serve as an SRP (Course 99) mentor? Faculty who hold teaching positions at UCLA (including in the professional schools) are eligible to serve as research mentors for SRP 99 courses. Graduate students and post-docs can help supervise SRP projects, but you will still need a faculty mentor.

CONTACTING POTENTIAL FACULTY MENTORS

Send a clear and concise email to your potential faculty mentor with the following points:

  • Name and major/department affiliation
  • Purpose for contacting them (i.e. research as an SRP 99 student)
  • Why their research interests you and how your research interests relate to their work
  • Your contact information (email, phone)

Click here for sample e-mails regarding assisting with a faculty project working on a project you initiated , or responding to an SRP position posting (as posted on the Undergraduate Research Portal ).

As an attachment to your email, include your curriculum vitae (CV). A CV is similar to a resume, but is specific to your academic career. Be sure to include on your CV:

  • Relevant coursework and skills (including language and computer skills)
  • Work and leadership experience
  • Honors, awards, and distinctions

Click here for a sample CV . You can find additional resources for writing your CV on the Career Center website or at the Undergraduate Research Center (Murphy Hall A334).

When you contact a potential mentor, you may find that the mentor is unable to advise your project, which may be due to a variety of circumstances and unrelated to your background and experiences. In such a case, graciously thank the mentor for considering.

You and your potential mentor might arrange an interview or meeting to discuss the potential SRP project. Make sure you are on time for the interview or meeting, bring your CV along, and prepare possible research topics and questions.

THE CONTRACT

Once a faculty member agrees to mentor your research, the next step is the SRP 99 contractdue by Friday of the second week of each quarter (by 4:30pm in Murphy Hall A334).

If you are interested in an upper-division research course instead of an SRP 99 course, please click here for more information.