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How to Begin

To begin your research journey, you first need to find a faculty research adviser who matches your background, academic major/minor, interests, and professional goals. Many students begin their experience by volunteering in a research laboratory and shadowing faculty members and graduate students as they carry out research or creative endeavors. This preliminary experience allows both the student and the faculty member to assess whether the student will thrive in that specific research environment. If the fit is appropriate, the student, in consultation with the faculty member, can continue research or creative endeavors via one of several mechanisms.

  • Volunteer/Shadow: The student can continue to volunteer and research in the laboratory as the student's academic schedule permits.
  • Course Credit: The student can enroll in an undergraduate research course. Many WVU majors offer a 497-level undergraduate research course (e.g., HIST, CHEM, PHYS, SEES, ACE, HONR, OTH), capstone experience (e.g., BIOL 386/486, HIST 484), internship (EXPH 491, research option), or professional field experience that students can enroll in to carry out research and earn academic credit toward their majors. Check the WVU Schedule of Courses to see if an undergraduate research course is offered for your specific major. If so, speak with your academic adviser and faculty research adviser about enrolling in the research course.
  • Research Program: There are several WVU-based programs (e.g., SURE) to which students can apply to continue research full-time (and often paid!) over the summer months.
  • Faculty Supported: From time-to-time, faculty members have grant funding to support undergraduate researchers. Typically this funding is reserved for advanced undergraduate students who have documented experience in research with the faculty member.