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What kinds of research do they want to see? Bench science (e.g. biology, chemistry) research is a logical option, as are clinical and translational research.  However, remember that intellectual curiosity is a key part of this, so feel free to explore research in other areas if the social sciences and humanities interest you more.  

How much research is enough? It depends on your plans.  

  • If you want to do research once you become a professional, then you should do a significant amount of research as an undergraduate.
  • If you are not interested in doing research, then it might be time to find an activity you value more (try talking about this with advisors first).  There are health professions programs and schools that put less emphasis on research.
  • Structured programs that combine a professional degree with a PhD may require as many as 3-4 years of undergraduate research in your field.

What’s better, volunteer research or paid research? Any research situation that allows you to participate substantively will add value to your preparation. Think about it this way: helping collect data for a small, obscure lab is going to help you more than washing dishes in the most prestigious lab on campus.

How do I find research opportunities related to health, illness and medicine?

How should I ask for a chance to do research?

  • If you are responding to a job posting, read the description of the position carefully and make sure you understand it well before applying.
  • Whether volunteering or applying for a paid position, get organized ahead of time
    • Write a cover letter that speaks directly to the job.
    • Contact potential references before you start your search.
    • Create a research-specific resume (including things like pertinent courses, prior work that demonstrates the skill sets needed, etc.).
    • Before interviewing, have a good understanding of the hours you are actually available..
    • Think through logistical issues like transportation before you interview.