Undergraduate Research Explorer
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Getting Involved

How do students get started in research?

You’re already started! As soon as you enter the classroom as an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto, you engage with research.

The material taught, the way in which it is being taught and the design of course assignments are all informed by research and support you in developing important research skills. In many courses you will develop your research skills within a structured and guided environment. You’ll discuss research ideas and approaches with student colleagues, teaching assistants and faculty, and receive feedback. 

Getting Involved

You have multiple pathways to become further involved with research at U of T. While resources and student support offices on-campus will help you navigate this landscape, you will also need to be self-directed in locating and assessing the array of research opportunities that align with your academic, career and personal goals.

If you are an international student planning to pursue paid or unpaid, research opportunities in Canada, as part of your program, you might be required to obtain a Study Permit or a Work Permit, depending on the type of research activities you are looking to be part of. Please reach out to the CIE International Students Immigration Advising Team, should you have any questions.  

illustrated group of students
set goals

Set Goals

What are my goals for engaging in research?


What are my skills and experiences that will support my research journey?

Continue Growth

What are the pathways to enhance and expand my knowledge and skillset?


How do available opportunities align with my goals?


What is the application process? Deadlines? What supports exist for developing my application?


How do I learn from setbacks and discover new paths to move forward?

Undergraduate Research Explorer

As you search for an undergraduate research opportunity, one tool to help support you is the Undergraduate Research Explorer. You use this filterable tool to narrow research opportunities at the University of Toronto that align with your goals and that fit with your availability.

A few considerations to help you use this tool: 

Curricular or Co-Curricular Experience:

  • Curricular: allows you to gain research experience while earning course credit. If you are interested in a curricular research experience, you might consult with your registrar’s office to understand course requirements. For example, often Independent Study Courses require you to be a major or specialist in the Program of Study in which they are offered. 
  • Co-Curricular: allows you to gain research experience outside of your courses. While co-curricular research experiences often enhance classroom learning, they also allow you to pursue your specific research interests. If you are interested in a co-curricular research experience, it might also be represented on your Co-Curricular Record (CCR).   

Paid or Unpaid:

  • The level of compensation varies for paid research roles, and you will need to review the job posting to learn more. 
  • Unpaid opportunities are often curricular, meaning you will receive course credit for engaging in the research role.

Make sure you consider your capacity to pursue a research position with your other responsibilities including coursework. Consider questions you might have about the research position including hours per week, flexibility based on course schedule, on campus versus remote work opportunities, opportunities to connect with your research supervisor for mentorship and more! 

Academic Year (Fall / Winter Term): 

  • Consider your capacity to take on a research role with your course load.
  • If you are interested in pursuing a research opportunity during the fall / winter term, be aware that this will often require you to submit an application well in advance. Do your research into application requirements in advance, some opportunities require you to apply 6 months to a year prior to the opportunity. 

Summer (Spring / Summer Term): 

  • Many students seek paid work in the spring and summer months. Consider your capacity to manage a summer job and a research opportunity or think about pursuing a paid research opportunity. 
  • You might be located outside the Toronto area for the summer. If you’re pursuing a summer research opportunity, inquire if the opportunity will require you to be physically on-campus or if there are residency requirements.

At U of T (On-Campus): you have many opportunities to be engaged with research on-campus! While studios, labs, archives, libraries and classrooms all offer physical, on-campus spaces for you to engage with research, you’ll also find some opportunities offer a hybrid option allowing you to research from home. 

Within Greater Toronto Area (Off-Campus): you’ll also find opportunities that take you off-campus. Research experiences with organizations or local communities will often require you to be on-site. This is also a great opportunity to build relationships and familiarize yourself with the workplace environment.  

Outside of Toronto (Off-Campus): research opportunities also provide you an opportunity to travel outside of Toronto and even globally! The opportunity to research outside of your everyday learning environment will challenge you to translate your research knowledge and skills to new contexts. 

Reflect on your curricular and co-curricular experiences. How do the experiences you’ve already had align with available research opportunities? What areas can you identify for continued growth, and how can a specific research opportunity help you to achieve that growth? You might review the module Learning Through Experience: Reflection to help support you in reflecting on previous experiences.