Why do research?

Research is not just for scientists

Research allows you to pursue your interests, to learn something new, to hone your problem-solving skills and to challenge yourself in new ways. Working on a faculty-initiated research project gives you the opportunity work closely with a mentor–a faculty member or other experienced researcher. With a self-initiated research project, you leave Berkeley with a product that represents the distillation of your interests and studies, and possibly, a real contribution to knowledge.

Every field of study has its own research problems and methods. As a researcher you seek answers to questions of great interest to you. Your research problem could be aesthetic, social, political, scientific or technical. You choose the tools, gather and analyse the data .

What is it like to do research?

The research experience varies greatly. You might work alone, or in a large team. You could conduct your research in a library, a museum, a laboratory, or a community. For an introduction to the research experience, see these student profiles:

Meet the Researchers

Jess Genevieve Bailey '13, History of Art

Jess participated first as a URAP research apprentice to Prof. Hoenig in History of Art, then devised an independent research project exploring the visual presentation of verbal prayer in 13th century Japan.

Helen Tran '14, Molecular and Cell Biology

Helen began her research trajectory as a URAP apprentice in Prof. Sangwei Lu's lab, combining her interest in Molecular and Cell Biology with Public Health. Helen also twice received the SURF Rose Hills fellowship for independent summer research, working on the characterization of ATP Release and Biofilm Production by Salmonella and E. coli, and worked as a URAP peer advisor for two years.

Pablo Seward '14, Anthropology/Psychology double major

Pablo held two URAP apprenticeships while at UC Berkeley, first with Prof. Willard in the Sociology department, then with Prof. Julia Bryan-Wilson in History of Art. Building on these experiences, his independent research proposal to recapture and re-conceptualize views of the Rapa Nui of Easter Island won him acceptance to the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF L&S) program. One year later, Pablo won the Judith Lee Stronach Baccalaureate Prize ($25,000) to carry out a public service project based on his research with the Rapa Nui