Finding research opportunities

The University of Toronto has received several honours for the dynamic and exciting research conducted by its faculty and students. Many of the university’s departments offer for-credit research opportunities to undergraduate students in their second, third, and fourth years of study. However, with a bit of searching, students can find exciting opportunities outside those offered in the academic calendar.

Talk to your profs

U of T’s professors, across all departments, conduct research relevant to their fields of study. Of course, not all professors are affiliated with labs, and those who are may not be aware of any available positions; nevertheless, professors can be great first contacts in the process of exploring the different branches of research in your field of interest. Ask professors about their research experiences; visit the university’s Blue Book to access its database of professors’ contact information.

Network at academic department events

Most departments offer workshops, seminars, and/or presentations for students to learn more about research and job opportunities. After the discussion, these events usually include an opportunity for networking; use it to introduce yourself to others and learn about their research interests. Regardless of whether you speak to faculty members or fellow students, you’ll likely be able to gain valuable information about where and how to obtain research assistant positions. Check your department’s web page, or contact representatives of its students’ union or association to learn about upcoming events.

Keep your eyes peeled for bulletins

Many campus facilities, including Sidney Smith Hall and Lash Miller Chemical Laboratories, have bulletin boards featuring calls for research participants and volunteer assistants. Check them regularly to find new postings.

Participate in ongoing research projects

Bulletin boards are also used to advertise research projects in need of student participants. After participating in these projects, participants are generally given a debriefing explaining the project’s goals. Use this opportunity to learn more about the research being conducted at U of T and to ask the researchers about helpful strategies for obtaining research positions.

Join and keep up with program-relevant clubs

U of T offers a host of academic clubs, apart from your program’s students’ union or association. From neuroscience to biology, there’s a place for every science buff to join fellow students in program-relevant activities. Visit Ulife’s list of recognized campus groups to search for clubs of interest.

Check the websites of affiliated organizations

U of T is affiliated with many prominent research and healthcare facilities around the city, such as The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). Each of these offers volunteer opportunities and student-specific placements. Check the Faculty of Medicine’s page for lists of university-affiliated institutions, and visit their websites to search for available volunteer opportunities.