Students who start working in a lab during their first or second year in college have the opportunity to develop knowledge and skills over several years. Faculty members who prefer working with eager first- or second-year students typically don't expect those students to have already completed any specific classes.
Other faculty members prefer that students have completed at least a few key courses such as Intro (P155 or P101/P102) or Research Methods (P211) or Statistics (K300). We encourage students to complete these courses in their first 3-4 semesters!
How can you know what a particular faculty member recommends? Explore PBS labs that interest you and look for information about becoming an RA in that lab. If the information you need is not posted on the website, then email the lab or faculty member.
Important: Students who want to earn an Honors Degree are encouraged to enroll in supervised research in their first year or sophomore year.
Students sometimes ask if they can volunteer in a research lab to see what it's like and some faculty welcome volunteer RAs. Most faculty, however, prefer students who will commit to their research team for at least one semester by enrolling for Supervised Research course credit.
What is a typical time commitment?
If you enroll for 3 credits, you'll work about 10 hours per week during a Fall or Spring semester.Enrolling in Supervised Research typically reduces the number of regular classes you take during the semester. For example, if you enroll for a total of 15-credits, you'd have 3-credits of lab and 12-credits of regular classes.
Enrolling in Supervised Research typically reduces the number of regular classes you take during the semester. For example, if you enroll for a total of 15-credits, you'd have 3-credits of Supervised Research and 12-credits of regular classes.
Supervised Research may fulfill an important degree requirement (e.g., a capstone/lab course), so it may be part of completing your degree and moving you efficiently toward graduation.