Office of Undergraduate Research

6 Steps to Get Started in Research

Step 1: Find a mentor

Successful undergraduate research projects begin with finding a mentor. Talk to your professors. Faculty members across campus are involved with research, scholarship and creative activities. Some faculty regularly have undergraduates as volunteers or paid technicians in their labs, which is a great place to start. Talk to your lab instructors. Lab instructors are often a great place to start as they are typically graduate students and very connected to research activities. If you are unsure where to begin, talk to the Office of Undergraduate Research. We can help connect you. 


University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences

University of Toledo College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

University of Toledo College of Health and Human Services

University of Toledo College of Engineering

University of Toledo John B. and Lillian E. Neff College of Business and Innovation

Step 2: Develop an idea

Research and scholarship begin with ideas and questions. Your mentor can help you develop an idea. These ideas can be closely tied with the activities already being conducted by a faculty member or graduate student, or start a new direction for you and the faculty mentor.

Step 3: Develop a proposal

A proposal is an essential step in every scholarly endeavor and should be developed in close coordination with your faculty mentor. A proposal lays the groundwork and define the boundaries and scope of a project. Most importantly a proposal is the state of research that forces clarity of the question and objectives and ensures that the means to address these issues is feasible in a timely manner. Proposal workshops are held in January to assist students applying for summer funding.

Proposal checklistProposal templateProposal scoring guidelines

Step 4: Apply for funding

The Office of Undergraduate Research funds research and scholarship activities primarily focused on summer research. The deadline for our USR&CAP and FYSRE grants is usually mid-February. Some faculty have research grants that fund student research as well. To receive financial compensation, the University must have the substitute IRS W-9 form on file.

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Proposal Deadlines

  • Fall semester (AYRP): Third Tuesday  of  May
  • Spring semester (AYRP): Second Friday of November
  • Summer semester - stipend (USRCAP): Third Tuesday of February
  • Research Travel, Volunteer, Faculty Grant: Continuous

Step 5: Plan your project

When your project begins, work with your mentor to create a research plan that can be accomplished in the time frame of the grant. Students keep track of their time spent on research using a time card, which must be submitted to the Office of Undergraduate Research upon project completion.

Step 6: Present your work

After finishing research, students will present their projects at their department, a research symposium, a creative performance and/or an Honors Bag Lunch. The Office of Undergraduate Research also helps students travel to present at national and international conferences throughout the school year.

More informationPoster templateTravel grant proposal

Last Updated: 8/21/23