Helpful Hints When Applying for a Student Research Position
- Be formal – Dear Dr. Jones. If the faculty member does not have a doctorate degree use the term Professor not Mr., Mrs. or Ms.
- Craft your letter to address the skills and qualifications the professor is looking for in the posted position. You can also highlight other skills you have that would be helpful in a research position.
- Be concise.
- State specifically why you are interested in the research being done - perhaps you will also want to go to the faculty member’s profile to more deeply understand their work, read a paper, etc.
- Explain why you want to do research and why you are interested in this particular research. Do not say because I want to go to Med School, grad school or because I am a graduate student, etc.
- Take time to draft the content of your letter
Sample Email/Letter of Application
Dear Dr. Professor,
I am a (year, major) at Kent State University – campus location and I am applying for the research opportunity you posted in the Find A Researcher Database. I was excited to hear about your work with (describe).
I conducted undergraduate research on (topic) with (names) in (program or class). (Expression of interest in the topic). I would like to continue a path of research on (topic) and it would ultimately allow me to (career goal). I am especially interested in your previous work on (describe a paper or talk - this information can be found on the faculty member’s profile).
I have attached my CV to my application, but if there is additional information that I have not included that you would like, I would be happy to provide it. Thank you for your consideration.
I am a (year, major) at Kent State and I am applying for the student research position in your lab that was posted on the Find A Researcher Database. I was excited to see this posting for a research assistant as it closely aligns with my career interests (describe).
While I have not had previous research experience, I have taken (mention research related classes or other classes that provide needed skills) and these classes have assisted me in developing skills that would be beneficial in this type of position. I also have experience in (mention skills - working in teams, writing, working independently, …).
Thank you for taking the time to read my application letter and resume. I am happy to provide additional information if needed. I look forward to hearing from you.
From University of Virginia, How to Successfully Email Professors
Dear Dr. Smith:
My name is David Wu and I'm a second-year biology major at UVa. In my introductory and upper-level coursework, I've developed a passion for science and am extremely interested in pursuing independent research as an undergraduate. An extensive research experience will greatly help me consolidate my future career choice.
I am personally greatly interested in the molecular biology of stem cells. Recently I read your 2011 paper on the role of microRNAs in the differentiation of muscle stem cells and became fascinated by your work. In particular, I found it amazing that microRNAs can alter the fate of a cell in such a profound way. If possible, I would love to start working on a long-term project in your lab beginning this summer.
Would you be available to meet sometime this week to discuss your research? I would also be happy to volunteer in your lab for a few weeks before we commit to anything to see if this is a good match. My transcript and resume are attached in case you are interested. I look forward to hearing from you!
Template from UC Irvine, Undergraduate Research
Dear Professor X:
My name is Peter Anteater, and I am very interested in becoming involved in research in Subject Area. I am a X year student with a GPA of X. I have taken Courses and Additional Experiences. My goal is to Goal.
I have reviewed your faculty profile and your student position postings and am interested in the work that you have done. I was intrigued by your journal article, "Article Title." It Additional Information about Topic. I would like to get involved in research in this area because it will help me to better prepare for Goals.
Would it be possible to meet with you to further discuss Topic and my possible involvement in research? I am available Days and Times. I look forward to hearing from you.