About Undergraduate Research

Research is at the heart of your education.

Male student in lab coat working in lab

UC Davis senior pharmaceutical chemistry major Manuel Munoz prepares a liquid solution for his intern project on cancer research.

UC Davis is a major research university. Our faculty are committed to the campus mission of “Learning, Discovery and Engagement".

Why do research as an undergraduate?

  • acquire practical tools for your education and career, including critical thinking and analytical skills; teamwork; communication; leadership; and a global perspective
  • gain confidence in your abilities as a scholar and a researcher
  • understand the connections between disciplines
  • take research methods from the classroom and apply them to real-life situations
  • become more competitive for graduate school or the job market

What does undergraduate research look like?

Research takes many forms and varies by major:

  • Library searches and archive work
  • Surveys and interviews
  • Laboratory benchwork
  • Modeling and computations
  • Fieldwork
  • Creative arts composition

Dr. Lisa Oakes describes what undergraduate research looks like or a developmental psychologist studying infants. Click to play video.

diverse students engaged in small class discussion

First-Year Seminars invite students to engage in active inquiry.

When should I get involved?

Think about your involvement in undergraduate research as a progression through your college career at UC Davis, with opportunities to engage in as little or as much as you like. For example, First Year Seminars provide small classes designed to develop the critical and creative thinking skills you need for research.

There's no better place to preview the breadth of undergraduate research on campus than the annual Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activities Conference. Check out previous years' abstracts to start thinking about what you might want to do!

What are professors looking for?

Dr. Kent Leach shares what he looks for in prospective undergraduate researchers.