About the research opportunities database

General advice about undergraduate research experiences

Compensation for research

You will notice that some of the positions in the database will be able to pay you, but many of the opportunities you come across will also be volunteer positions that may compensate you with academic units and/or transcript notation. You can learn more about enrolling in academic units via the Internship & Career Center and applying to your own funding for undergrad research via the Undergraduate Research Center.

So here are few things you can expect …

Approaching a mentor about compensation

So, let’s say you’re super jazzed about a position, but you’re nervous about talking to you research mentor about compensation. Or, maybe you’ve been in a volunteer position for awhile, but you’d like to see if you can stay on and make money. Regardless of your reasoning, it’s perfectly acceptable - and encouraged - to make sure you and your mentor are on the same page about how you’re being compensation!

Here is some language you are welcome to use and modify to approach your mentor (this assumes you are communicating via e-mail, but haven’t started the position yet):

Dear [MENTOR],

I’m really looking forward to working with the [RESEARCH GROUP] for the next [TIME YOU WILL BE WITH THEM] working on [PROJECT]. I’m especially excited about [SOMETHING YOU’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO]. Because I plan to work with the [RESEARCH GROUP] while also [OTHER COMMITMENT (e.g., taking the classes I need to, holding my part-time job, picking up my kids after school, etc.], I’m wondering if we can work together to find ways for me to [earn academic units] / [obtain funding] for my work in the [LAB/CENTER].

For example, the UC Davis Undergraduate Research Center offers certain programs (see here: https://urc.ucdavis.edu/programs). I’ve also heard that some departments offer undergraduate students work-study positions. Additionally, I can enroll in [CLASS] to earn [research/internship] units towards my degree or have this experience document on my transcript. These are just a few ideas, and I’m really interested in discussing this with you further.

Thank you for considering this request.

Best wishes,


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