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Summer Research

Applications for Macalester funded research opportunities are now closed. View past research projects HERE.

Resources for Aspiring Researchers

How to Find Research Opportunities and Apply

What is a CV?

Personal Statements

Example of a Resume for Researchers

Additional Quick Start Guides 

Research Posters

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who can do summer research?

Any Macalester student who thinks they would like to do laboratory research, whether or not they are majoring in science, can apply for a summer research opportunity. Conducting research is a great experience to apply what you have been learning in class and labs and is especially important for science majors planning to apply to graduate school.

2. How do I find summer research opportunities?

Find information about summer research opportunities on the Olin Rice Hub website for on-campus and off-campus experiences. Read about your science professors’ research projects and then talk to your professors about summer opportunities in their labs. Also, talk with students who did research during the past summer and ask them how they found their positions. Check out Macalester’s Annual Summer Showcase.  The “Planning Your Summer” workshop held in November also provides invaluable information and gets you on track to meet application deadlines.

3. When should I begin looking for a research opportunity?

You should begin your search for a summer opportunity by December, but you can talk to experienced students and science faculty at any point during the academic year. When investigating various research opportunities, pay attention to the application deadlines. Some research institutions have deadlines in early February or sooner.

4. Who should I talk to about finding a position? Who can help me find a position?

You should read about opportunities both on- and off-campus on the Hub website and then talk with science professors about their research and ask them if they know of other research opportunities. You should also talk with students who have done research in previous summers and ask them how they found a position. You may also make an appointment to talk with Liz Jansen or Liz Karlen

5. What is included in an application for a summer research position?

Applications typically include a transcript, a resume and a cover letter. In lieu of a cover letter, some programs will ask you to answer three or four questions. The questions usually ask about research interests and experience, career goals and why you are interested in a specific program. There is more information about how to answer these questions above, under “Resources for Aspiring Researchers.”

6. Who can help me with my resume and cover letter?

You can send your resume to [email protected], attend drop in hours at the Career Exploration office or the Hub, or make an appointment with a career advisor on campus. Liz Karlen is available to help in the Olin-Rice Hub if you need further support.

7. Will I be paid if I am a student researcher?

Yes, you will be paid a stipend to do summer research. Currently the summer stipend for 10 weeks of research at Macalester is $6250. If you conduct research on campus, you are eligible for 10 weeks of free, on-campus housing (but you must purchase a meal plan). Other off-campus programs offer comparable stipends and some programs also offer housing and others do not.

8. Will I get academic credit if I do summer research?

You will not receive academic credit for doing summer research. However, international students doing research off-campus should talk with the International Student Program and Hub about applying for credit if there are specific visa requirements about working off campus during the summer.

9. I think I want to go to medical school. Should I do summer research?

A summer of research is a great experience for students considering a career in health care. Talk with your health professions advisor about doing summer research and other opportunities.

10. What happens at a poster session? Should I attend the Macalester poster session if I have not conducted summer research?

You should definitely attend the poster session if you have not conducted research. Students will be presenting posters which describe the summer research they conducted. You should select several posters that interest you and talk with the students who created the posters. Tell them that you have never done summer research and that this is your first time attending the poster session. The students will have an explanation that is designed for an audience that has not done research. Ask them if they enjoyed doing the research, what techniques they learned, and if it was beneficial for them. Also ask them how they found the opportunity and when they applied. They’ll be glad you asked.

11. How do I ask for a letter of recommendation?

One of the biology professors, Mark Davis, provided information about asking for a letter of recommendation and what is helpful for a professor when writing a letter. Professor Davis said, “The most important thing that I do as a faculty member is to support students in their academic, personal, and professional development. Often this assistance is in the form of letters of recommendation for jobs, off campus-study programs, and graduate and professional schools. The more information I have available to me, the better will be my letter of support for you.” For more information on this process, see our Quickstart guide– “How to Find Research Positions and Apply.”

12. Are there funds available for students to travel to national academic meetings?

Students who travel to national academic meetings and present a poster can receive travel funds from the college. Students should apply to the Travel Grant fund. The typical grant is $350 if a student is presenting at the conference.

13. Where can I find off-campus research opportunities for international students?

It can be challenging to find off-campus research opportunities.  The research can be done at another institution and there are housing funds available. The Hub has put together a list of opportunities for which International students are eligible.