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 at UBC Okanagan.

Through undergraduate research you can:

  • enhance your studies and refine your academic or career interests
  • deepen your knowledge of 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, communication 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
  • strategies for 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

I am a Computer Science and Economics double major in my fifth year at UBC Okanagan. Blockchain, Artificial intelligence & Machine Learning are a few areas of my research interest. I have had the opportunity to work with various professors from many the different Faculties including Engineering, Management, and Science. I have also made several websites for the Okanagan rail trail/management firms and have supported research papers in the past. This experience helped develop my critical thinking and use the technical skills I had learnt during my courses.

I believe research is the key to opening doors. It requires networking with professors, developing skills and experience, and an increase in curiosity, which is one of the main features of a researcher.

Through my role as an undergraduate research ambassador, I hope to connect and guide students to the right resource and encourage them to get involved with research as it was an irreplaceable part of my undergraduate experience. My only regret is that I didn’t get involved sooner!

I am a fourth-year Faculty of Arts student majoring in Psychology. My primary research interests lie in social psychology, specifically prejudice and discrimination. My research journey started when I worked on a Directed Studies, in which I conducted a literature review on the psychology of racism in China. Since then, I have worked on various other projects, and I will be completing my Psychology honours thesis in the 2022/23 school year.

Even though I am in fourth year now, I still remember how daunting “research” felt. Having to email professors on a regular basis, making contact out of the blue, etc. It was all terrifying to me (and still is!) But thankfully, with some guidance along the way from graduate students and other peers, I have managed to find my first steps. My goal as a research ambassador is to alleviate some of the anxiety and mystery around research and hopefully be that guidance for other future researchers as well. Getting involved in research (even if you’re just trying it out) is super valuable; the skills that I gained not only applied to my specific discipline and projects but are incredibly versatile and transferable to many areas of my life.

I am a fourth-year nursing student passionate about research, health care quality improvement initiatives and work that aims to minimize health disparities with the goal of providing equitable care for all. My research interests lie in mixed reality technology applications for training, innovative medical device development, and public health initiatives supporting equity and diversity. I had the opportunity to join the MURPH program (2021-2022 cohort) and collaborate with professors, graduate students and undergraduate students in Engineering and Computer Science. Through research, I have developed advanced communication, leadership, and collaboration skills.

I recognize the value of peer mentorship and guidance and hope that through my role as an undergraduate research ambassador, I am able to connect students to valuable research opportunities and become a resource for students looking to get involved with research through sharing my experiences and what I have learned.

Join our mailing list for regular updates throughout the term and information about events and opportunities in Undergraduate Research at UBC Okanagan.

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Questions? Visit us during our drop-in office hours! You can find us in UNC207.

Mondays: 9 am to noon and 1 to 4 pm

Wednesdays: 11 am to noon and 1 to 2 pm

Fridays: 10 am to noon

Awards and Programs Supporting 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.

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.

makerspace UBCO is an interdisciplinary, peer facilitated work space designed to foster creative thinking through design and making, serving as a hub for innovation, cross-discipline collaboration and entrepreneurship. Open to all students in all disciplines, it is a space to incubate, design, prototype and fabricate ideas. Learn more through the makerspace UBCO website.

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.

Learn more about a variety of undergraduate student awards through the following links:

Research Opportunities by Faculty

Faculties and Departments are your starting point for 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/

Research Opportunities Abroad

As a UBC student, you are eligible to get involved in research as part of your academic studies at many of UBC’s 150 partner universities through the Go Global program.

Learn More

Upcoming Events

To find out about upcoming events in Undergraduate Research, check the Events Calendar or connect with an Undergraduate Research Ambassador by emailing: research.ambassadors@ubc.ca

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.