Getting involved on campus can seem overwhelming as there are so many clubs and activities to get involved in and if you are looking to get some research experience it can seem like there are endless opportunities on and off campus!
Here I am hoping to get you thinking a little bit more about the opportunities available to you as an undergrad to get more research experience! There are so many different pathways that you can take to get into research and it depends on the type of work that you are interested in pursuing. For me, my current work at the School of Public Health was the result of a worklearn position for the summer and has turned into a long-term position. If you are thinking of applying to a worklearn position for the fall (they are opening up now!!), I recommend also emailing the person doing the hiring with a little bit more about yourself and why you are interested in the position. It is a great way to make you stand out from other applicants and gives the PI an opportunity to learn more about you beyond your resume. This research position was based on an application however there are other ways to get involved in research.
If you are interested in more wet lab research (like a chemistry or biology lab), you can apply via worklearn or directly email the Principal Investigator (PI) for the lab to see if they are willing to take on a student. This technique works but you need to be persistent in following up and trying to get a response. I recommend keeping the email short and touch on why you want to work in their lab specifically. Also, be sure to include your resume/CV and maybe your transcript. If emailing the PI does not work out or you don't get a response, I recommend emailing a graduate student in the lab (like one of your TAs). The grad students are doing more of the hands-on work and will know if taking on another student is possible. They are also more likely to respond. Some of these grad students may be your TAs and this is another point of connection for you.
A great student club to connect with if you are interested in getting into research is the Undergraduate Research Opportunities club! This club offers mentorship, networking, and various research related services. Each year the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Club puts on a Life Sciences Research Night that is also a great way to make more connections! Here is their website.
The final area that I think is extremely beneficial to develop connections and get into paid research positions is co-op. The Science Co-op has tons of opportunities to get involved in research. Stay tuned for a future blog about co-op and ISCI student experiences in the co-op program!
As you can see there are many ways to get involved in research and your interests will drive the area that you go into. I hope that this offered some insight into more opportunities at UBC.
Check out Student Services for more helpful information on job searching and career advice!
- Hannah Doyle
VP Admin and External
Congratulations on getting into Integrated Sciences! I look forward to getting to meet you all on campus this fall!
My name is Hannah, and I will be entering the 4th year of my Integrated Sciences degree and my disciplines are medical genetics and disease prevention. I have taken courses from genetics and evolutionary biology to statistics and immunology. I am a worklearn student in the School of Population and Public Health and I volunteer in the Emergency Department at BC Children’s Hospital. If you have any questions about my course selection or opportunities for students in ISCI feel free to reach out at email@example.com!
Officially starting your specialization in ISCI can be a bit daunting with trying to find a mentor and writing your degree proposal all while figuring out what courses you want to take in second year. As ISCI students, we have been given the opportunity to design a degree with courses that interest us and are specific to our future goals. Here, I am going to share with you some of the ways that helped me to plan my second year courses and develop a plan for my degree.
For many disciplines, the second year courses are similar. If you want to learn more about the specific courses recommended in different disciplines check out our post from last summer here! This post outlines the second year requirements and choosing disciplines that interest you.
Tip #1: In planning my proposal, I found it helpful to begin at the 400-level courses and work my way backwards:
Example: I want to take MICB 402: Advanced Immunology -> I need to take MICB 302 as the pre-req in 3rd year -> I need to take MICB 202 in second year as the pre-req
Example: MEDG 420: Medical Genetics -> Take BIOL 335 in 3rd year-> Take BIOL 234 in second year
Selecting your fourth year courses may seem like a task for 2 years in the future, however, having these courses in mind as you plan your second year will help you in writing your curriculum rationale over the next few months. It is helpful to make a list of all of the 400-level courses that you may want to take and look at their 200 and 300-level pre-reqs as many courses will tend to have similar pre-requisites especially in 2nd year. Having a bank of 400-level courses and 300-level courses to choose from will also help in planning as the timing of courses may not always work out in your favour.
Tip #2: Use the worklists on your SSC to draft potential timetables. Many upper level courses stay at the same time so this can be a helpful way to keep track of your credits and see the timing of the courses.
These worklists are helpful to decide which upper level courses you may want to take each year and can help you plan your courses term by term. Remember, some upper level classes only have one or two sections and will only be offered during a specific term.
Tip #3: Write down WHY! Why are you interested in taking MICB 402 or MEDG 420? How will this course fit into your degree. Keeping small notes on these questions will help you in a few months with you proposal.
Example: MICB 402: Advanced Immunology will encompass all of the knowledge that I have gained in previous courses and tie together the molecular basis for lymphocyte development that will help me to better understand the complex immunological processes that occur in the human body. This course will also draw from my genetics discipline in the exploration of the relationship between genetics and the immune system.
This example is pretty detailed but it can offer some insight into the types of things that you will want to think about when choosing your courses.
Tip #4: Try something different! There are so many courses offered at UBC that can be included in your degree proposal. Take a fun elective or try a directed studies if you are interested in research! You have the freedom to design a degree that is unique to you so why not take this opportunity to incorporate your interests or curiosities into your degree!
Tip #5: Make time for your degree! Course planning and the degree proposal process can seem like a lot of work to get started on. The earlier you are able to start on this process, the more time you will be able to dedicate to researching courses and opportunities that will enhance your degree. Taking advantage of some of the free time that you have this summer will pay off once the fall term begins. The time and thought that you put into your course planning and rationale will show in your degree proposal.
I hope some of these tips were useful for you and that you were able to gain some valuable ideas from this post! Good luck with your course selections and feel free to reach out if you have any questions!
VP Admin and External
Hannah, VP Admin