Office of Undergraduate Research
3 columns, first is of a professor pointing to a poster, middle column is the text Getting Started in Research on a blue background, and third column is of a student in a classroom

Getting Started in Research


Beginning your journey in conducting research can take you on many paths depending on where you want to go. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you can achieve only what you set your mind to do. As you begin your research path, we encourage you to get as much support from your peers, faculty, and staff to help you along the way. Building a strong support network will ensure that you reach your research goal!

The Office of Undergraduate Research is here to help you. This page provides an outline of research opportunities that are open to all students from majors across campus. If you have specific questions about these topics, we offer virtual office hours to help you with learning about and getting started in research. Contact us through the RSVP form.

Learn About Research

Participating in research will help you gain specific skills such as developing your research topic, conducting literature searchers, analyzing data, preparing conference presentations, and improving your writing and communication skills. There are additional benefits such as interpersonal development through working with teams on projects and mentoring from a faculty member who can influence your decisions on gradate school and employment opportunities.

Dr. Winny talking to students in a classroom

Attend Workshops

We offer both in-person and recorded workshops/seminars. The most popular workshop is the Getting Started in Research. We also have workshops on other topics to help you with developing your research project. These workshops are open to all CPP students!

student presenting on podium at research event

Visit Bronco Scholar

Bronco Scholar is hosted by the University Library and is a repository or database of student and faculty work. There are undergraduate research project abstracts from campus conferences as well as collections of both student and faculty projects. Bronco Scholar is an excellent resource for students who want to see examples of past student research. If you find a research topic that interests you, the student’s faculty mentor and department is also listed.

students holding award at research events

Sign up for the OUR Mailing List

The Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) sends out updates about undergraduate research opportunities, both at Cal Poly Pomona and externally, upcoming events and highlights our research community.

Connect with Faculty & Programs

Below are some tips on how to connect with faculty:

  1. Start by talking with faculty you know. Talk to current and past professors from courses you have done well in and have enjoyed. Even if the professor is not currently seeking an undergraduate researcher, they may know of colleagues that are seeking research assistants within your discipline.
  2. Read the faculty profiles from your home department. Many faculty web pages list their research interests or some of the publications that the faculty member has authored. It is a good idea to read some of these articles.
  3. Consult with an academic advisor from your department to inquire about faculty members currently conducting research in your discipline.
  4. Talk to other undergraduates who are currently conducting research. They can let you know how they got their foot in the door.

Tips for contacting a potential faculty mentor:

  • Go during office hours.
  • Bring a CV or resume. (CPP Career Center Tips for Resumes, Cover Letters and More!)
  • Begin with small talk.
  • Express interest in his/her research.
  • Explain why you want to do research.
  • Ask about current research opportunities or how they recommend you start your research project.
  • Thank the professor for his/her time.
  • Consider meeting a couple different faculty mentors so that you can get a better perspective on opportunities in your major or interest area.
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Connect with a STARS Faculty Member

Faculty Mentor Research Stars (STARS) are faculty members who have helped mentor their students to conduct, present, and publish research; all the requirements for the Student Research Distinction. Read STARS profiles to get more information on undergraduate research and how to get started.

Research Scholars Association

Join the RSA

The Research Scholars Association (RSA) is an interdisciplinary student club for students who want to network and get involved in research. The club organizes workshops and plans activities to promote undergraduate research on campus. Joining RSA is a great opportunity to take a leadership role or meet people with common goals who can support you in your research.

Student talking at research conference

Attend a Research Event

In addition to workshops/seminars, the office hosts events every term that are open to the campus. You can attend these events as a guest to meet current student researchers and faculty mentors. There are many events throughout the year to participate in such as campus conferences and Celebration of Research in the spring term.

Plan & Finance Your Research

 Here are common paths that students take to conduct research.

  • Volunteer to work with a faculty member on their research projects. Some colleges may have funding to hire Research or Lab Assistants.
  • Work or volunteer for a researcher outside of your university — in a hospital, medical center, research institute, private industry, or community-based organization, for example. Researchers with major grants depend upon students for many elements of study management, data collection and statistical analyses.
  • Students in the Kellogg Honors College complete an honors thesis or capstone project.
  • Take a research methods or projects class in your department or college.
  • Apply to a research program that can take place during either the academic year or summer.

 We recommend consulting with your faculty mentor first about the research path that would work best for you based on your goals and timeline. We also advertise both on and off campus research opportunities through the OUR Mailing Listserv.

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Apply to a Program

Campus research programs like Learn Through Discovery provide assistance with developing and completing  a research project. These programs provide structure and support from dedicated faculty mentors and staff. The listing of campus research program is updated annually.

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IRB (Institutional Review Board)

If you are a student researcher and your research project may entail working with human subjects, then you must go through protocol and clearance in order to conduct research. IRB is that process of getting approval.
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Apply for a Conference Award

The Conference Presenstation Award is a fellowship to support your research for presentation at an academic conference off campus. To be approved for a fellowship, you must have an accepted abstract to present at the conference with your name listed as an author or contributor to your faculty mentors project.

Showcase Your work

Presenting your research is an important milestone that will bring awareness and recognition for your research. Oftentimes, you can use the campus conference as practice for a professional meeting or conference in your discipline.

Student RSCA with two colorful stripes

Participate in an on-campus conference

The Student Research, Scholarship & Creative Activities (RSCA) Conference is an annual event that provides an opportunity for our undergraduate and graduate students to share their original research, scholarly and creative activities. This conference is competitive and occurs in early March every year. Ten oral presentations are selected from the conference to represent CPP at the CSU System-Wide Competition that occurs annually in April/May.

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CARS Symposium

The Creative Activities and Research Symposium (CARS) is a celebration of student investigation, exploration, and inquiry completed by current CPP students and students participating in summer research programs. Students can present the work they completed during the academic year and summer while they were a student at CPP.

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Publish your Research

The REACH Journal is online compilation of undergraduate research at Cal Poly Pomona. Reach showcases outstanding scholarship, creative works, and research conducted by undergraduate students under the mentorship of faculty members.

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