Get Involved in Research
Finding Research Opportunities
Many of our students are eager to participate in research opportunities, and a common question we get is how to get started.
- Start by reading this helpful guide from Stanford Academic Advising: How Do I Get Started in Research?
- Where to Look for Research Opportunities:
- Opportunities for Data Science & MCS Students - These come from people and organizations who reach out to our program asking us to advertise an opportunity to our students. We update this document weekly with new opportunities we hear about.
- Stanford On & Off Campus Learning Opportunities (SOLO)
- Academic Advising Newsletter
- Stanford Impact Labs’ list of labs that often have research opportunities available to undergraduates
- Meet with a Data Science & MCS Peer Advisor - They often have first hand experience with getting involved in research on campus.
- Your faculty advisor
Summer Research Programs
- This is an opportunity for students to engage in a full-time undergraduate research opportunity through an approved program. Students must apply and be accepted into a program. Deadlines vary by program but are often early in winter quarter. Most programs provide funding in the form of a stipend. (As a side note, since these opportunities are paid, students cannot request university credit.)
- Two summer programs closely linked with the Data Science program:
- List of summer research programs receiving VPUE Funding
- Don’t be afraid to apply for a program outside of the Data Science major! Many other disciplines look for students with technical skills, making Data Science students a great fit. For example, political science, psychology, and economics often have projects that interest our students and involve some data science.
Two Other Paths to Research
Path 1: Assist a Faculty Member with Their Research Project
About This Option
This is an opportunity to assist with a research project that a faculty member is already leading.
Step 1: Find an Opportunity
Reach out to a professor to inquire and/or apply for a research position in a professor’s lab (see the section above about where to look for these opportunities). Don’t be afraid to consider professors or labs outside of the Data Science major! As stated above, many other disciplines look for students with technical skills, making Data Science students a great fit.
Step 2: Enroll for Credit (if desired and eligible)
If the position is unpaid and you’d like to receive credit, ask your faculty mentor if this is possible. If it is, you will probably enroll in the appropriate Independent Study/Research course under the sponsored faculty, which is often numbered 199. For example, if the faculty leading the research is a CS professor, you’d likely enroll in their CS 199 class; if the faculty member is a Sociology professor, you’d likely enroll in SOC 191. Contact the faculty member or that department’s student services officer for a permission number, if needed.
- If the position is related to the data science program’s learning outcomes, students pursuing the Data Science B.S. Mathematics and Computation subplan can ask for it to be approved as a data science elective (maximum of 3 units).
- If the position is paid, then Stanford does not allow you to also receive credit for the experience.
Path 2: Independent Research Project
About This Option
This is an opportunity for students to engage in undergraduate research for credit as an independent study. If students wish to pursue this option, the student must elicit sponsorship from a faculty member.
Step 1: Develop your topic of interest and hypothesis.
Identify a topic of interest that you want to explore more in-depth, along with a hypothesis. First, consider directed reading.
Before proceeding, consider whether you have the time to commit to this research/project. If you do, choose which quarter would work, keeping course enrollment deadlines in mind.
Step 3: Find a faculty member sponsor
Find a faculty member to sponsor your research. See Developing a Mentor Relationship. Faculty can be outside of Data Science but if you’d like to use the experience as part of the major, the topic should relate to the data science program’s learning outcomes. This requires approval through the program.
Step 4: Enroll for Credit (if desired and eligible)
Enroll in the appropriate Independent Study/Research course with the faculty mentor, which is often numbered 199. For example, if the faculty mentor is a CS professor, you’d likely enroll in their CS 199 class. If the faculty mentor is a Sociology professor, you’d likely enroll in SOC 191. Contact the faculty member or that department’s student services team for a permission number, if needed.
- If the position is related to the data science program’s learning outcomes, students pursuing the Data Science B.S. Mathematics and Computation subplan can ask for it to be approved as a data science elective (maximum of 3 units). For Students pursuing the Data Science & Social Systems B.A., if the research aligns with their program, they can ask for it to be approved as a pathway course.
- Students cannot receive university credit and funding for the same research experience.
Image credit: Andrew Brodhead