UVic research and how to get involved

ResearchUVic has many secrets and its best-kept one is, by far, research.

Many of UVic’s professors are respected researchers in their field of study, but most students don’t know that many profs are more than happy to help us gain research opportunities while completing our undergraduate degrees.

UVic is one of the country’s best research universities and boasts Canada’s only syphilis research lab, one of the world’s most powerful microscopes and labs that study topics ranging from Shakespeare to drug development for cancer treatments.

If you’re interested in getting involved in research, here’s a quick list to make it easier to find opportunities:

  1. START EARLY. This will help you avoid the rush of other students that are interested.
  2. Think about what interests you and use that to narrow down your focus on departments and professors.
  3. Once you’ve found a professor, draft an email explaining who you are, your major, your year of study and why you’re interested in the professor’s research. It’s good practice to attach an unofficial transcript and resume.
  4. If you really want to impress your professors, read one of their most-recently published papers and mention it in your email. It shows that you’re truly serious about working with them.
  5. If the professor responds and informs you that there are positions available, set up a meeting time within the next week and spend some time preparing for the types of questions they might ask.
  6. If the professor decides to take you on as a new undergraduate student, congratulations! You’re now a member of a well-respected research team that is working in the forefront of their area of study.
  7. If you don’t get the position, don’t be discouraged. There are other professors at UVic that can also provide a fulfilling and rewarding experience.
  8. Lastly, it’s possible to get credit for doing research! Simply talk to your professor about doing a directed studies/reading. Getting credit for working on a topic that you find interesting – what more can you ask for?

I’ve been involved in research in UVic’s Chemistry, Biochemistry/Microbiology and Biology departments since the end of first year. I’ve had an unforgettable experience as an undergraduate research student and I have undertaken projects that range from designing drugs for prostate cancer treatment to studying proteins that play a role in making cancer cells aggressive. It’s been the highlight of my time at UVic and I would recommend it to anyone.

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