Research and Professional Development Opportunities for Undergraduate Students

Graduate and professional schools regard student participation in research, professional development and community service as beneficial; some expect or require it for admission.

Research of any sort provides experience and gives the research supervisor a chance for one-on-one observation and evaluation of the student (which is invaluable for writing effective letters of reference). Pre-Professional (Health) Students in any program should remember that their research does not need to be human-based to provide a beneficial experience.

  • On-Campus Research: Many of the faculty in Life Sciences and other Departments have on-going research projects and welcome student participation as a…
    • Volunteer—works in faculty member’s laboratory for experience.
    • Student Worker—works in faculty member’s laboratory for pay.
    • Student—works in a faculty member’s laboratory for college credit in courses such as Directed Independent Studies (BIMS/BIOL 4396) or Research and Design (BIOL 4350). These courses are arranged between the student and faculty member.
  • Off-Campus Research: Professional and academic researchers who are not affiliated with Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi may be willing to supervise a student in a research experience. The student should obtain formal confirmation about any pay arrangements and/or Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s acceptance of college credit for off-campus research experiences prior to beginning work.
    • Agencies and Businesses—local branches of local, state, regional or national agencies, and some businesses (museums, aquariums) sometimes allow students to assist in research.
    • Health-Care Professionals or Hospitals—local professionals sometimes allow students to assist in research.
    • Summer Research Programs—are usually organized by and available through Universities or Professional Schools.

Professional Development increases the student’s knowledge of a chosen profession and enhances his or her ability to successfully apply for employment or to a graduate/professional program, or to complete certification requirements. Several types of professional development opportunities are available…

  • Shadowing—the student accompanies the professional during his or her daily routine, without pay, usually for short period of time (e.g., one week).
  • Volunteer—the student assists the professional without pay, usually for an extended period of time.
  • Paid Assistant—the student assists the professional for pay. (This is often the direct result of previously volunteering for the professional.)
  • Practicum or Internship—the student assists a professional (under the academic supervision of a faculty member) for college credit in courses such as Biomedical Practicum (BIMS 4295) or Professional Practicum I, II, and III (BIMS 4297, 4598, and 4599). These courses are arrangements between the student, faculty member, and professional. Some careers require these courses prior to certification.
  • Professional Familiarization or Development Programs—organized programs that are usually available through Universities or Professional Schools during summer or long academic break periods.

Community Service and Leadership—A variety of opportunities are available, both on- and off-campus.

Becoming Involved

In most cases, students arrange their own research and professional development experiences. Student organizations, faculty members, and university offices may help the student locate and arrange these experiences. Interested students are encouraged to explore the following sites for suggestions and opportunities:

Opportunities Listserv: This is an e-mail distribution list. To subscribe, write an e-mail to the address Make sure that your e-mail appears in the “From” heading. On the subject heading line, type the word “subscribe.” Send the e-mail. You will be subscribed to the listserv if you receive a confirmatory e-mail. If you do not, then check your spelling and case and try again. (To remove your e-mail address from this listserv, follow these instructions, but type the word “unsubscribe” on the subject heading line.)

Office of Pre-Professional Education and Special Programs

Research in the Life Sciences—or similar pages about research in other departments.

List of Faculty in the Life Sciences—or similar pages in other departments that list faculty members and their research interests.

Student Research Page, College of Science and Engineering

Student Organizations