Undergraduate research

Are you an undergraduate student interested in gaining research experience in an academic setting?

research, experience, microscope

There are many ways to get involved in research as an undergraduate student at UBC Okanagan.

Through undergraduate research you can:

  • enhance your studies and refine your academic or career interests
  • delve deeply into an academic subject or topic
  • build experience for co-op or other employment
  • get to know potential supervisors for graduate studies
  • apply what you are learning in class
  • learn more about an industry or particular research area
  • get hands-on experience in a lab or other research setting
  • develop teamwork, presentation, project management, and organization skills

Undergraduate Research Ambassadors

UBC Okanagan’s Undergraduate Research Ambassadors are here to assist you in navigating the many opportunities available to you as an undergraduate student to get involved in research and build upon your academic experience.

Undergraduate Research Ambassadors can help with:

  • guidance on how to get started in your specific discipline
  • connecting with faculty members and graduate students to learn about their research and potential opportunities
  • internal and external research funding opportunities
  • connecting to research communities on campus
  • tips for thriving as an undergraduate researcher
  • workshops, events, and resources to help you expand your research network

Meet the Ambassadors

I am a current third-year Mechanical Engineering student at UBC Okanagan. I have worked as an Undergraduate Research Assistant at the Advanced Thermofluidic Laboratory (ATFL) and the Centre of Transportation and Land Use Research (CeTLUR) laboratory on-campus. At the ATFL, I worked with a team of Ph.D. students to test the sensitivity and selectivity of microfluidic Metal Oxide Semiconductor (MOS) gas sensors. My research at CeTLUR was based on integrated transportation and land use planning, with a particular focus on shared mobility usage in Kelowna. My undergraduate research experience enhanced my university academic learning, helped me discover my areas of interest, and assisted me in securing co-op jobs.

My advice to students interested in being involved with research would be to not be afraid of taking the first step and making use of the available on-campus research opportunities to discover their passion.

Available for online meetings on: Monday 2:00- 5:00pm, Thursday 12:30 – 2:00pm, Tuesday 12:30 – 2:00pm

Email to connect: jashan.bachhal@ubc.ca

I am a currently a fourth-year Microbiology student at UBC Okanagan and throughout my time here, I have been actively involved in research. For the international undergraduate research awards in 2019, I took part in summer research cloning genes involved in the anticancer drug Camptothecin’s biosynthetic pathway with the PlantBioCoRe laboratory. I also completed an internship at an epigenetics biotech company in Hong Kong gaining experience with early cancer detection. For my co-op, I contributed to the pandemic infection control efforts through PCR Covid testing. Overall, my exposure to academic, industrial and clinical settings allowed me to gain valuable insights into potential careers I can pursue with my degree. I hope other undergraduate students can have such opportunities as well. I believe that it is these experiences that truly challenge you to grow professionally and make your university experience.

If you have any questions regarding research opportunities in science at UBCO, please feel free to reach out and we can have a conversation about it.

Available for online meetings on: Monday 1:00-2:00pm, Tuesday 12:00-2:00pm and Wednesday 2:00-3:00pm.

Email to connect: yuenyee.leung@ubc.ca

I am a third-year student at UBC Okanagan majoring in International Relations and Psychology. My research experience varies across different fields, but was mainly in Psychology and Education. Through my research in Psychology I examined whether affirmations or reflections minimized the effect of triggers, I (along with the team I was working with) found that positive affirmations help people cope better in regards to their triggers. Research for me is the basis of growth and change in our world. It does not matter which subject area, there is always so much scope for research. I would recommend that every student engages in research not just for their professional development but also for their own personal growth and development.

Available for online meetings on Tuesday 11:00am- 1:00pm, Thursday 12:00-2:00pm.

Email to connect: piya.bajaj@ubc.ca

Join our mailing list for information about events and opportunities in Undergraduate Research at UBC Okanagan.

Sign up

Funding Opportunities in Undergraduate Research

There are a number of awards, programs, and funded opportunities for research at the undergraduate level at UBC Okanagan.

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) funding is available for undergraduate students in the School of Engineering, the Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, the Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science, and the School of Health and Exercise Science within the Faculty of Health and Social Development. Visit the NSERC website for instructions and application forms.

For more information, visit your Faculty’s specific NSERC-URA information pages:

A variety of undergraduate research awards and opportunities are available to students through Faculties. Please see specific resources below for further details, timelines, and application processes.

  • The Indigenous Research Mentorship (IRM) Program is an opportunity for self-identified Indigenous undergraduate students to gain practical research and laboratory experience while working with a UBC Okanagan faculty member or post-doctoral fellow. Find further information on the Indigenous Research Mentorship Program here.
  • MURPH is an undergraduate research program at UBC Okanagan aimed at offering a unique cross-disciplinary platform to undergraduate students for engaging in academic research while also providing professional training through custom-designed workshops. Project teams comprising multiple undergraduate students and faculty members across different disciplines work together on applied health research projects. For more information or to check the application process, visit MURPH.
  • The Tuum Est Student Initiative Fund at UBC’s Okanagan campus provides financial support for student initiatives, conferences, and competitions. Learn more about the Tuum Est Student Initiative Fund here.

Research Opportunities by Faculty

Faculties and Departments offer specific information about research initiatives and opportunities in each discipline.

Visit the Research Website: https://fass.ok.ubc.ca/research/

Research Opportunities and Information by Department

Review specific research themes, institutes and labs, opportunities for undergraduate students, and awards by department.

Visit the Research Website: https://science.ok.ubc.ca/research/

Research Opportunities and Information by Department

Review specific research themes, institutes and labs, opportunities for undergraduate students, and awards by department.

Visit the research website: https://management.ok.ubc.ca/research/

Visit the research website: https://fhsd.ok.ubc.ca/research/

Research Opportunities and Information by School

Review specific research themes, institutes and labs, opportunities for undergraduate students, and awards by School.

Visit the research website: https://fccs.ok.ubc.ca/research-creation/

Visit the Research and Partnerships page to learn more about research in the Okanagan School of Education: https://education.ok.ubc.ca/research-partnerships/

  • For student awards and scholarships in the Okanagan School of Education visit Student Resources

Visit the research website: https://engineering.ok.ubc.ca/research/

Upcoming Events

To find out about upcoming events in Undergraduate Research, check the Events Calendar or connect with a Undergraduate Research Ambassador

Tips for Getting Started in Research

1. Know your area of research Interest

If you are interested in a course you are taking, connect with the instructor or the TA for that lecture or lab. Go to your instructor’s office hours and ask them about their research. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to an instructor, you can always talk to TAs, or send an email.

2. Check out your department’s website & take note of deadlines

If you are planning to work or volunteer in a research setting for the summer, you should start approaching faculty members for possible lab positions as early as January. Summer research awards, particularly National Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) are advertised as early as January, and application deadlines range from February to March. Check out your Faculty’s USRA website for further information.

3. Work on your resumé & cover letter

Research positions may be competitive depending on your chosen field. Make your application stand out by strengthening your resumé and cover letter. Get help with improving your application through the Career Development team.

4. Explore Work Study positions

If you are keen on taking courses while doing some laboratory work, it is a good idea to check out Work Study positions. On-campus jobs (many of them research-related) accept applications in August for winter session positions and April for summer positions. Not only do Work Study positions offer hourly pay and provide a variety of learning opportunities, they can also be flexible to your course schedule. Learn more from the Work Study page

5. Consider Directed Studies or Honours Thesis

Directed Studies courses allow students to participate in a research project. First, a prospective supervisor must agree to take you on as a Directed Studies student before applying to the to the department of interest. Find out more about directed studies courses from your Faculty’s research website.

Students in their final year can participate in an Honours Thesis conducting a research project or writing a research paper under the supervision of a faculty member. Check your department website and the Academic Calendar for requirements and more information.

6. Consider volunteer positions

Remember that if you do not get a paid research position right away, many faculty members and graduate students recruit volunteers. Sometimes, volunteer opportunities can evolve into paid positions.

7. Connect with Clubs and Course Unions

Clubs and course unions related to your area of research interest can be a great place to learn about what other students are doing and the different pathways for getting involved. Did you know that there is a student interdisciplinary research club at UBC Okanagan?

8. Learn more about research at UBC Okanagan

One way to narrow your focus in a particular discipline is to explore the initiatives underway through UBC Okanagan’s Research Institutes and Research Clusters. To learn more about the research being undertaken right here on campus, see Research Excellence.