Working as a Research Assistant

Many Northwestern undergraduates work with faculty members as research assistants for pay, as volunteers, or for course credit. Student research assistants take part in a range of research activities—from preparing materials and collecting data in science labs to conducting and summarizing library research to managing databases, conducting data analyses, organizing project records, and much more.

Earning money for doing research

If you hope to do research during the summer, see our webpage on funds for undergraduate research. Both Northwestern University and Weinberg College provide, on a competitive basis, summer research stipends for undergraduates. Grants are also available to cover research expenses during the academic year.

Some faculty members have research funds they can use to pay undergraduate students. Take a look, too, at what's going on at some of the University's research centers. Among these are the Institute for Policy Research, the Center for Sleep and Circadian Biology, and the Institute for Health Services Research and Policy Studies. Some research centers have funding for undergraduate research assistants.

Are you on financial aid? Is work-study part of your financial aid package? Work-study students have priority for many paid research assistant positions. If you're not on financial aid, you can still read about work-study positions to get an idea of what's available.

Doing research as a volunteer or for course credit

Some students participate in research on a volunteer basis, and many do research for course credit, e.g., through 399—Independent Study. Consult your major adviser and the College webpage on Independent Study for more information.

Finding a faculty member to work with

Extensive information on undergraduate research at Northwestern—including guidance on finding faculty mentors—is available through the Provost's Undergraduate Research website. You can also check directly with your major adviser and with faculty members whose research interests best match yours.