Undergrad research opportunities outside of university

Finally, don't be afraid to reach out to online resources like job postings websites or online chat rooms.f
  • #1
Given the state of affairs with COVID and its effects through closures of "unnecessary" services and colleges working more online for the time being, does anyone have advice on how to go about gaining physics research experience outside of the university?

At this point, I'm about 18 months from degree completion, and I desire to train in graduate school afterward. At the moment, I'm less concerned about the nature of the research but rather just getting my foot in and gaining exposure to it so that I can make a more informed decision on the physics field of specialization that interests me the most.

I don't need a stipend or any compensation, just a way to gain research experience. I'm willing to travel basically anywhere to assist. I'm a software engineer and have been in that space for about 9 years, so I have the technical skills to work through software as I've heard a few recommend using powerful software modeling simulations to test. Thanks!
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #2
You are starting late in the cycle and COVID is messing things up. Since money doesn’t matter, I’d offer your coding skills to a research group that you find interesting at your university.
  • #3
I agree with caz, undergrads with programming skills usually have an easy time finding work at their home university if they don't need to be paid. There are some exceptions if one is at a school that is focused on teaching and not many faculty do physics research.

Odds aren't zero of finding research outside of a university, but with the late start, odds are it would probably be unpaid and it would probably be working from a distance rather than traveling to the institution. COVID just makes the travel thing uncertain, and letting you work at an institution in-person also has additional liabilities and expenses even if you are not getting paid.
  • #4
One first step would be to talk to your professors directly and ask if they know of anyone with a summer position, or who needs help with a project. I know you were asking about 'outside of university' but sometimes it's surprising what comes out of the woodwork when you ask around. Have a CV ready, so you can email it quickly if anyone asks for it.

Another good resource is also your undergraduate physics society or club, if your school has one. Talk with some of the senior students and see what opportunities they've taken advantage of.

Suggested for: Undergrad research opportunities outside of university