First Contact With Target Faculty
When you have identified faculty members conducting research that interests you, what’s the next step? How do you contact them? How to you prepare to meet them to discuss research opportunities?
- Learn all you can about their research.
- Read the research descriptions carefully (several times).
- Read their publications. You don’t have to understand them fully, but you can learn a lot from the introductions and discussions.
- Think about how you might fit in, and what projects you might pursue, at their labs.
For most faculty members, email is the best option for this first contact. Tell them who you are, explain why you are interested in their research, and request to meet them to discuss research opportunities. For example:
Dear Dr. (faculty name),
I am an undergraduate student in (your major). I am looking for an undergraduate research opportunity. I am interested in your research on (topic of faculty research), especially as it pertains to (a narrower research focus that interests you). Would it be possible to meet with you to discuss research opportunities in your lab?
Contact faculty only if their research truly interests you. Genuine interest in their research is more important to faculty members than a sophisticated understanding of it.