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.

⚠️ Important:  registering for directed study credit under Covid-19 restrictions:

We are not approving projects for Spring/Summer or Summer semesters 2020 unless the sponsoring PI and student can provide a detailed plan of a project that can be done remotely.  The plan must include the objectives of the project as well as the details of the student involvement and expectations.  

No firm determination has been made for Fall 2020. Students can have conversations with faculty and can submit proposals to their academic advisors for research projects to be considered/approved for Fall, but we will not approve any registration until will know if campus activity has resumed.  We strongly advise students to register for a full load of coursework to ensure they are full time and will not have to scramble to find classes in August. Then, if campus is open to students, then we can make the adjustments to your schedule and register for research credits at that time.

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

Signing up for a directed study course

Neuroscience majors must sign up for directed study using one of the NEU course codes. Syllabi for these courses, which includes an application form that must be completed by both the student and the sponsoring faculty member, are available on the Neuroscience major Canvas site* or from a program advisor

*  Majors: if you are not on currently on the major Canvas site and would like an invite, please contact using your WSU email account.