Finding a Faculty Mentor for Research
How to find a faculty mentor:
- Talk to faculty with whom you have taken a class
- Check out the Research at Dartmouth website for links to campus research centers, faculty research databases, and more.
- Use the Dartmouth Faculty Directory to learn about professors and their particular areas of interest. Note that the database at this time includes only tenured and tenure-track Dartmouth College faculty. It does not include adjunct and visiting faculty, nor does it include Dartmouth Medical School faculty.
- Read faculty bios on departmental websites. These may include more information than is available on the Dartmouth Faculty Directory, and many departmental websites will also list adjunct and visiting faculty.
- Graduate program websites are another good source of information for potential faculty research mentors.
- There are some science centers at Dartmouth that provide information about ongoing research: e.g. Neuroscience Center at Dartmouth, Immunology Program
- Use the Dartmouth Medical School Faculty Expertise Database for information on faculty affiliated with the medical school and hospital.
- Look through the research positions on JobNet (see also information about campus jobs) - select “research” in the “classification” menu then click “search jobnet”
- For research in the biomedical sciences, peruse the directory of biomedical research projects which will be available on the Nathan Smith Society webpage (in the "opportunities" section as a PDF file that is password protected). Faculty who submit a project to the notebook are willing to meet with students about possible research opportunities although do not necessarily have a position open or funding for student researchers.
- NEW: online database of faculty research projects.
Who is eligible to mentor undergraduates in research:
All tenured, tenure-track, and research-track faculty are eligible to supervise undergraduates in research. The category of research-track faculty includes research assistant professors, research associate professors, and research professors. Those with other types of appointments may supervise undergraduates with approval from the relevant department or program chair, director, or dean. Examples of other types of appointments include: visiting faculty, adjunct faculty, emeritus faculty, lecturers, senior lecturers, instructors, and post-doctoral scholars. This policy applies to faculty affiliated with the Arts & Sciences (undergraduate program), Thayer School of Engineering, Geisel School of Medicine, and Tuck School of Business.
Before you meet with a potential faculty mentor:
- Think about what you want. Are you looking for a part-time research experience while you are taking classes or a full-time leave term research project? Do you need to be paid or would you consider working as a volunteer? Is this something you would want to do for one or two terms, or is it something you are interested in continuing for one or two years?
- Make sure you know something about the faculty member's research. At least read the “research interests” paragraph on the web. Better yet, read an article or something else he or she has written.
- Be prepared to provide a list of relevant coursework, resume, and statement of research interest. Not all potential mentors will ask for this information, but some may.
- If the professor you meet with does not need/want to take on a student, ask who else he or she thinks you should talk to. Sometimes an email that begins, “Professor Smith suggested that I talk to you...” will get better results!
- Be sure you are willing to make the commitment. If a professor agrees to be your research mentor, understand that he/she will be expending significant time and resources in training and supervising you. It is your responsibility to be reliable and to work hard.