Getting Started

Participating in research is an exciting way to build your professional skills and network while exploring your interests and goals. You can even get paid or receive academic credit for your work.

No matter where you're at in your studies, the possibilities are endless: You could analyze data, perform experiments in a lab, create a work of art or help produce a film. Your research might be on campus, in the community or even in another country. You could work by yourself, in a group or with a professor. We even have a program just for those new to research.

We invite you to explore your options for research experiences. If you have any questions, please contact us at or 815-753-8154.

Can I Participate?

If you're enrolled at NIU, you can participate in undergraduate research. You don't need to have any experience, and your project can be in your major or a different area. You can expect to spend about 5-10 hours a week on research activities.

What Are the Benefits?

All OSEEL programs pay student participants, or a faculty member may pay you through a grant. You can also talk to your faculty mentor or academic adviser about enrolling in an independent study, capstone or other research-delegated course to get academic credit. Other benefits include:

  • Building relationships with faculty.
  • Applying knowledge to real-world situations.
  • Attending and presenting research at national conferences.
  • Being more competitive when applying for awards, graduate school and fellowships.

How to Get Started

Identify Interests

Identify some topics, ideas or activities interest you. Ask yourself:

  • What have I found interesting in past classes and what would I like to learn more about?
  • What past research have I done and what did I like about it?
  • What skills and knowledge do I want to build, for personal reasons or for a future career?

Explore Faculty Profiles

Review the faculty profiles on department websites to learn about their research. Feel free to explore outside of your major department. Make a list of faculty whose projects interest you. Read about their research and look up some of their publications.  

Contact Faculty

Contact a faculty member whose work you find interesting. You can write them an email or visit them during office hours (in person or virtual). Tell them your year and major and why you're interested in their research. Be professional, respectful and brief.

To participate in a summer or fall program, contact a potential mentor in the spring semester or earlier. For a spring program, contact a mentor early in the fall semester.



Contact Us

Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning
Holmes Student Center 264-266
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