1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Fourth Year Research Project

  1. Apr 19, 2009 #1
    Hi Everyone,

    I am about to enter my third year in the undergraduate program, and was hoping to start searching for a Professor who would supervise my fourth year independent program. My goal is to fulfill my program requirements and enter into a Masters program. Now I have heard and read that succeeding well and performing extremely well in this thesis project could help greatly increase my chance of getting into the Masters program.

    Firstly I wanted to know how one would approach a professor and ask if they would supervise me? Should I send an email to anyone who's research I find interesting for a meeting, or should I only focus on Professors who I have as teachers in lectures? Also do professors usually help out a student choose a good project, or is this completely the students duty?

    Finally what can a student such as myself do in order to perform excellently in this project? Should I focus on some certain aspects, that is do something to improve myself as a student and researcher? I am in a biotechnology program, so my research will be somewhere around Molecular Biology/Biochemistry as this is a big interest. Including interests such as bioenergy, human development, biotechnology medicine.

    Thank you all for your help.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 19, 2009 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    You don't have to restrict yourself. I would go after professors who's research you have an interest in and who seem like they may be good mentors. And you can always ask if they don't have anything in particular, whether they know of anyone who has a good idea or desire to supervise a senior project. The worst anyone is going to say is that they don't have time to supervise an undergraduate.

    Usually these projects result in some kind of presentation and thesis paper. I would highly suggest attending the presentations from the current year if this is still an option. Talk to current senior students and get an idea of what's been done this year and in recent years. They might also have valuable insight into which professors might be the better mentors.

    If you're really keen, you can try to define your own project as much as possible. That way you can walk into a potential supervisor's office and say: I would really like to investigate ______, and here's my plan for doing it. Other tips would include reading as much as possible about the area you're researching in.
  4. Apr 19, 2009 #3
    Thanks for the insight Choppy, I will definitely look into the research presentations; hopefully not all are finished. I was also wondering, as I have just started to pay much more attention to journals and journal articles, which one would you guys recommend as best (or one of the best). I have heard that cell, and nature are one of the better journals in terms of Life Science and Biology research.

    Or should I follow more than just two journals?
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook