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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Welcome to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page for the Office of Undergraduate Research at McMaster University. Here, you’ll find answers to common queries about our programs, opportunities, and resources aimed at fostering research engagement among undergraduate students. Whether you’re curious about eligibility criteria, funding options, or the application process, this FAQ section is designed to provide you with the information you need to embark on your research journey.

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Undergraduate research is the opportunity to work under the guidance of mentors to contribute to the advancement of scientific knowledge in their fields. It’s also an opportunity to apply and mobilize laboratory skills. 

Engaging in undergraduate research offers the valuable opportunity to develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills, delve into extensive research, foster connections with peers and professors, and gain experience in a new field. The OUR serves as a site for students to explore, engage, and elevate their leadership, laboratory, and technical skills.  

You can start anytime! There are several research opportunities you can find on this website. There are ongoing research projects as well as grants and scholarships to pursue research of your own interest. 

Can I get funding for research? 

There are many funding opportunities for research. To learn more, visit the funding page.  

You can reach out to faculty members of your field in interest, attend research panels, or explore the research opportunities through the OUR.  

The OUR provides both internal and external research opportunities, funding opportunities, guidance in findings mentors, information regarding research symposiums and conferences, and workshops to strengthen your research skills.

A thesis is a research project that students undertake as a degree requirement. It is original research that students conduct to contribute to the existing body of knowledge in a particular field. It’s a great chance for students to delve deeply into a specific topic within your field of study and strengthens your research, critical thinking, and communication skills.

A placement is similar to an internship, as it offers you a hands-on experience in a professional setting related to your field of study. It’s a good way to apply the theoretical knowledge you learn in a classroom to practical situations.

There are a multitude of ways to find inspiration for research projects. Start by engaging in meaningful conversations with your professors and TAs after class, and make sure to attend campus events, speaker sessions and open lab meetingsLook into past undergraduate research projects showcased in the symposium, where you’ll likely uncover someone at McMaster University who shares your passion and is already exploring the very topic that you may be interested in. 

Yes! Many research projects are interdisciplinary. However, some faculty may prefer to work primarily with students in the program of the area of research.

While not always required, prior research experience or possessing relevant skills is an asset. Hence, having completed relevant coursework is advantageous. Research-related skills are also beneficial and could be gained through independent projects, internships, volunteering, or in courses.  

The time commitment and workload can vary. It’s common for undergraduate researchers to dedicate 5-10 hours per week to research, although this can vary. This also depends on whether the project is flexible in terms of time commitment, whether the research is project-based or spans the semester or academic year.