Finding a Faculty Mentor for Research
How to find a faculty mentor:
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.