How to Get Started in Research at Wes

Feeling unsure how to get enganged in research?  Look no further!  We offer tips and suggestions for exploring research options and connecting with a research mentor. If you have any additional questions, please reach out to

Research Opportunities at Wesleyan

  • Research During the Academic Year

    Students interested in independent research for credit must find a faculty research mentor and submit an electronic tutorial form (Advanced Research Seminar, Undergraduate, 423 or 424) using the drop/add system in their portal. Based on discussions with the faculty research mentor, students may sign up for 0.25, 0.5, or 1.0 credits. The 0.25 credit option encompasses students who are attending lab meeting but not conducting research while students enrolling for 1.0 credit are expected to dedicate a set block of time per week to their research project, which includes attendance in weekly group meetings and reading and discussion of current literature with group members, in addition to planning and performing experiments. Students will discuss specific expectations with their research mentor.

    The Psychology department and the Neuroscience & Behvior program offer Advanced Research Seminars for 5-10 students in various research topics. These seminars are POI courses numbered 370 and above in PSYC and NS&B. 

  • Summer Research Programs

    Research in Sciences (RIS)

    Each summer, the CIS runs a summer research program across the sciences that hosts more than 100 Wesleyan undergraduates.  In addition to faculty mentored research, we offer a weekly seminar series, skills workshops, and the summer culminates with a poster session with presentations of researchby all students. Financial support is available for Research in Science by students enrolled at Wesleyan. Read more about this program and apply here.

    College of the Environment Summer Fellowships

    The College of the Environment (COE) Fellowship Program allows current Wesleyan undergraduate students to undertake research on environmental topics under the guidance of a faculty mentor during summer or fall or spring semesters. The projects must relate to any of the broad themes covered by Environmental Studies and the College of the Environment. The scope of environmental topics is intended to be interpreted broadly; research may be undertaken using techniques, approaches, and paradigms from all majors or major programs. Fellowships are available to all current Wesleyan undergraduate students, regardless of class year or major and may be undertaken at Wesleyan or off-campus. Students must be current Wesleyan undergraduate students for the duration of their fellowship. Read more about this program and apply here.

    Quantitative Analysis Center Summer Apprenticeship

    Every spring semester, a week after the end of the add/drop period, a request for proposals (RFP) is sent to the faculty inviting project proposals where the faculty name the students they would like to sponsor.  The expectation is that nominated students will have at least an introductory course where they used appropriate tools for the project (e.g. statistical analysis, programming, GIS etc.) Typically, the deadline for submitting a proposal is the beginning of the spring break. Following a review by the QAC Advisory Board the Center provides funding for the selected ones. Interested students should explore the apprenticeship research opportunities with faculty whose research matches their interests. Read more about this program here. 

    Gordon Career Center

    Wesleyan Summer Grants provide up to $5,000 to fund summer opportunities such as internships, faculty-mentored research, volunteer work, field study, or an academic program related to your career interests and aspirations. Read more about this program and apply here.

    Grants in Support of Scholarship (GISOS) Student-Faculty Research Intership 

    Student-faculty research internships are awarded to faculty members for research projects in which students will participate in conducting research. In these internships, students will support the faculty member’s research project by collecting data, developing analyses, etc., under faculty supervision; the work should serve as an apprenticeship into the research and methods of the faculty member’s project and discipline.

  • Additional Programs

    Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Program

    Wesleyan's McNair Program assists students from under-represented groups in preparing for, entering and progressing successfully through post-graduate education. McNair Fellows are afforded opportunities to conduct funded scholarly research and engage in intentional professional development and cohort building programming in order to have the experiences and hone the skills necessary for success in doctoral education. Read more about this program and apply here.

    Wesleyan Math and Science Scholars (WesMaSS) 

    WesMaSS is a program designed to center and guide those students who have the opportunity to be trailblazers as they pursue studies in science and math.WesMaSS students are pathfinders and innovators -- opening doors that others in their schools, communities, or families might not have had the chance to open. The program invites these leaders to participate before they matriculate at the university. Current WesMaSS students are eligible to participate in the Research in Science summer program described above. Read more about this program here.

    Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)

    NSF funds a large number of research opportunities for undergraduate students through its REU Sites program. An REU Site consists of a group of ten or so undergraduates who work in the research programs of the host institution. Each student is associated with a specific research project, where he/she works closely with the faculty and other researchers. Students are granted stipends and, in many cases, assistance with housing and travel. Undergraduate students supported with NSF funds must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States or its possessions. An REU Site may be at either a US or foreign location. Read more about this program here.

Finding A Research Group

  • Exploring Faculty Research Interests

    Research Frontiers in the Sciences

    The Research Frontiers in the Sciences seminar course is designed to introduce students to the exciting and cutting-edge research activity at Wesleyan across all the sciences and mathematics, and to introduce faculty with active research labs to students interested in working in a lab. The course showcases what research at the college level entails, and which projects Wesleyan faculty are actively researching. CIS 221 is scheduled in the fall, CIS 222 in the spring. Both are gateway classes to admission into the CIS, but also recommended to students broadly interested in the sciences who have not yet decided on a major. There is no overlap in speakers between CIS 221 and CIS 222, and students may take both.


    Research-a-Palooza is an annual student-run event sponsored by the College of Integrative Sciences. Any and all students interested in getting started with scientific research at Wesleyan, including through the CIS Research in Science Summer Program, are encouraged to attend. More information is available here.

    NSM Departments

    Many Wesleyan faculty have lab and/or research websites linked from their profiles. Faculty affiliated with CIS are listed here.

    NSM departments, programs, and student clubs offer lab tours, discussion groups, and other events throughout the academic year. 

    Wesleyan Women in Science annually compiles information on department contacts, student groups, internship and research opportunities, and grad school information, received and listed by department. These resources are found on the WesWIS webpage.

    Department Specific Resources

    Wesleyan Student Chapters 

    Additional Resources

  • Approaching Faculty Mentors

    Wesleyan faculty welcome undergraduates into their labs. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with faculty research across NSM through seminars, publications, and courses. Once you have identified potential mentors, we advise reaching out to set up a meeting to discuss your interests. An email template is availble below.

    Students new to research may first attend lab meetings before starting in the lab. You might also consider approaching current research students whom you could shadow or assist in the lab. 


    • Think about your goals
    • Learn about the lab's research ahead of time
    • Pick at least 2-3 faculty to speak with personally
    • Focus on what you can bring to the lab rather than what they can do for you
    • Remember that different faculty have different criteria for taking students
    • Talk to your peers

    If you would like CIS to help you connect with a research lab, please complete this form

  • Email Template

    Dear Professor [Name], 

    I am a [year] intending to major in [major] and I am interested in potentially doing research in your lab. I am especially interested in [research topic or process] as I hope to pursue [future interest]. Would it be possible to meet [example time, perhaps during their office hours] to discuss the options for joining your lab? I look forward to hearing from you.

    Thank you,


    This template is a guideline. We encourage you to personalize your request:

    • describe where you learned about their research
    • describe your scientific background
    • describe your scientific and/or career goals
    • mention an interesting paper you read or lecture you heard
    • include the student, faculty, or staff who suggested them as a potential mentor
    • suggest ways you might start, for example by attending lab meetings
    • indicate your interest in pursuing a summer fellowship or an honor's thesis
    • ask about their expectations for lab work
    • ask about scientfic equipment or processes they utilize