Research participation

One of the major benefits of attending a premier research institution like Wayne State is that it provides the opportunity to participate in the research programs of faculty. These are invaluable learning opportunities; you will gain first-hand experience on how science is conducted, and obtain valuable skills in problem-solving, communication, critical thinking, and teamwork.

Research experience is also valued by graduate schools, professional programs, and employers. Beyond the many skills gained in the laboratory, you will also gain a mentor who can provide a detailed letter of recommendation that is needed when students apply for post-graduate work.

Finding a research position

Students need to take the initiative to find their own research placements, contacting faculty members directly. There is no need to be shy about this; keep in mind that most (if not all) faculty were once undergraduate research assistants themselves!  The number of positions available in laboratories is limited, so you may need to ask several faculty before finding a placement. 

One of the key things to keep in mind is that working in a laboratory will take a significant investment of time and effort on your part. Therefore, make sure to seek a lab position in research areas in which you have some intellectual interest. There are several resources that will help your search:

  • Speak to a faculty member! They were once in your position and understand very well the challenges of finding the right research placement
  • The CLAS undergraduate research page provides helpful advice and links
  • UROPConnect is a searchable database designed to support undergraduate participation in research and creative activity across the campus. It includes profiles for Wayne State University faculty members with information about their research interests as well as a listing of posted openings for undergraduates on research projects
  • University departments maintain research pages that list faculty and their research interests, such as the pages provided by Biological Sciences and Psychology
  • Students should also consider looking at the research pages on department sites in the School of Medicine, which has many laboratories that support undergraduate research