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Getting Started

It's easy to find research!

Getting Started

Download our Quick Start Guide!

Did you know?

  • Over 70% of Hopkins undergraduates participate in research opportunities at some point during their time at Hopkins.
  • Hopkins undergraduates average 8 – 10 hours per week during the academic year and/or full-time over breaks (summer, winter, intersession) to pursuing research opportunities.

It is up to YOU to find the balance that fits your life.

What is research?

At HOUR and across Hopkins, we define research very broadly – It is experimentation, answering questions, analysis, exploration, inquiry, investigation, creation, study, examination, reasoning, imagining, composing, designing, formulating, establishing, interpreting… the list of synonyms goes on and on!

Research takes place in labs, in libraries and research centers, in the field, in communities, in studios, in space, on land, underwater, and beyond. Research at Hopkins is more than just checking a box on your resume/ CV or filling a requirement for your major.

Where will your curiosity take you? The more excited you are about a topic, the more successful you will be in finding an opportunity and succeeding in the project.

Email with any questions or to schedule an appointment or check out our resource page for drop-in hours and locations. We are here for you.

What do you get out of participating in research?

  • Explore your curiosity in an area of interest and make impactful discoveries, changes or improvements to an issue or problem;
  • Create or design something new – a film, product, company or something else;
  • Grow as an independent and critical thinker;
  • Advance your analytical and problem-solving skills;
  • Apply concepts learned in class to simulated or real-life situations.
  • Increase your skill and knowledge of cutting edge equipment and techniques;
  • Expanding your network through collaborations;
  • Strengthen written, visual and oral communication skills.

When should you start participating in research?  That is up to you!

  • Jump right in as a freshman or wait until later in your career;
  • Limit your research commitment to breaks when you do not have classes (summer, winter, etc);
  • Schedule your research around sports or other commitments;
  • Research for a semester (although for some areas, a year minimum is more beneficial);
  • Participate for all 4 years with one mentor/ research group or try different opportunities as your interests evolve.

Where do I start?

  • Step 1: Prepare


    Find mentors

    Consider details

    CREATE a list of topics or areas that peak your curiosity (even if they seem far-fetched). Include a few key words for each. These should be things that fascinate you, areas you feel driven to explore, or problems you want to solve!

    SEARCH for researchers with your interests and opportunities:

    • Use    and a search engine to narrow your search (always include key words ‘Hopkins’ or ‘JHU’ and ‘research’ when using a search engine).
    • Check out relevant department, research, lab or faculty websites.
    • Network with your friends and classmates.
    • Speak with your professors, academic advisor, TAs, and your major department.
    • Look for posted positions on Handshake, Student Employment and ForagerOne.

    THINK about your requirements.

    • How many hours can you commit per week, balancing your other obligations (inc. classes, extracurricular activities, sports, study time, relaxation)?
    • Are there days you cannot research because of other obligations?
    • Are you able to research on another campus (keep in mind travel time)?
    • Can you research for experience (volunteer) or do you need academic credit or pay?
      • Most undergraduates volunteer for research just to gain experience.
      • HOUR does NOT grant academic credit for research. Research for academic credit must be arranged through your advisor and mentor and meet your major and university requirements.
      • In some cases you can be paid or even have your research position count as your federal work study job. These are not as common and often require volunteer training time.

    MEET with HOUR for guidance. We are your resource and happy to answer any questions!

  • Step 2: Contact

    Create a shortlist

    Contact mentors

    Follow up

    REVIEW your list, prioritizing your strongest interest areas to contact first.

    CONTACT the faculty member or researcher in person or by email

    • In person – Drop by their office or lab and ask if they (or someone in their group) has time to speak with you. If not, send an email.
    • By Email – Do NOT send a form email!
      • Always use your JHU email address. This legitimizes your inquiry and shows professionalism.
      • Always BCC (blind carbon copy) yourself. This allows for easier follow up later.
      • Keep your email brief. Do not send your resume/ CV or other documents on the initial contact email.
      • Paragraph 1: Introduce yourself (name, class, major) and briefly mention something in their research that interests you or a specific topic you are interested in.
      • Paragraph 2: Request a meeting to learn about research opportunities. Offer to send reference documents for their review (resume/CV, recommendations, personal statement, transcript as applicable)

    FOLLOW UP if you do not receive a response within 3 – 4 days.

    • Send a follow-up email – just reply all to the email copy now in your inbox (from BCCing). “I am following up on my previous email, below, regarding…”
    • Faculty receive hundreds of emails per day and have many other obligations. A lack of response is not a personal slight.
    • Polite persistence is key. You are not stalking or harassing; you are professionally following up.
  • Step 3: Meeting


    Ask questions


    BE PROFESSIONAL and polite in ALL interactions. Arrive on time and neatly dressed.

    PREPARE – Ask if there is anything you should review in advance of your meeting. Review their research so you are ready to discuss projects. Have any requested documents ready to bring or send for review.


    • Be upfront with your expectations (time commitment and availability, compensation, goals)
    • Ask about their expectations:
      • Are there any trainings, classes, or readings to complete prior to starting?
      • Will you be required to present on your project at a group or lab meeting, write a paper at the end of the semester, or create a poster and present at an event?

    THANK them for considering you whether you are selected or not.

    • If you are not selected, as them if they have other colleagues you could contact.
    • If you are offered a position and like the opportunity – CONGRATULATIONS!

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Vice Provost for Research

265 Garland Hall
3400 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218

(410) 516-8094

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