Undergraduate Research for UF Physics Majors

All undergraduate physics majors are encouraged to participate in activities which enrich their major program: research, study-abroad, internships, or service learning. Research experiences are valued by students interested in pursuing graduate programs in physics or closely-related field. Our undergraduates have attended conferences, presented papers and posters, and co-authored journal articles. Utilize this page to identify research opportunities in physics at UF and around the world.

Preparing for a Productive Research Experience

Regardless of the research avenue you wish to undertake, research is a time-intensive undertaking by all stakeholders. Students should think of a research experience as an apprenticeship, where you are making a significant commitment to a research program of your time and talents in exchange for specialized training and instruction. Research professors may prefer to work with students who have completed specific coursework prior to starting a research experience. Students with the following dispositions find their efforts rewarded with a sense of accomplishment:

Finding Available Research Experiences

The first step towards identifying opportunities for research is to explore the work of physics faculty from the physics department website. Identify several research professors whose work you find exciting and read some published articles to gain some insight as to what you may be working on. Attend a research group seminar to learn more about active research areas in the field. Next, carefully consider your realistic and sustainable time commitment to a research project. Finally, send email to faculty expressing your interest, and ask if there are positions available within the research group. It may take a few email attempts to receive a response, as faculty wear several hats and emails can get buried. You may also consider reaching out to a few graduate students working in the targeted research group, as they may know of available positions, or when occupied positions may become available. Also, talk to SPS members and Junior/Senior physics majors about how they became active in research and how they are able to sustain a commitment to their project while juggling coursework. SPS typically includes a meeting focusing on undergraduate research each year.

Physics majors are in high demand! Also seek out opportunities in closely-related fields outside of the department. Consider research opportunities in Nuclear Engineering, Medicine, Chemistry, Astronomy, Materials Science, etc.

The Center for Undergraduate Research hosts an annual Research Expo early each Fall Term.

CURBS (Center for Undergraduate Research Board of Students) hosts several workshops each semester on pursuing research, applying to graduate school, making research posters, and more. The group also provides peer advising as well to assist with getting started in undergraduate research.

UF research projects/opportunities

Summer

Physics students often identify summer break as a time to engage in research. UF physics hosts two specific NSF initiatives for both UF students, and undergraduates from other universities. And the university and affiliated labs host other opportunities for undergraduates to gain research experience.

Academic Year Programs

Students who have sufficient time to commit to research during the academic year may also apply for support from the following programs:

Research Opportunities at other universities in the US and Abroad

Research Coursework

Research Awards

Undergraduate Student Opportunities for Presenting at Conference

The Center for Undergraduate Research provides workshops focused on developing scientific communication skills, including writing and presenting posters. Here are opportunities targeting undergraduate physics students wishing to share their research experience at a professional meeting

Funding Travel to Present at a Conference

Students have a few options when seeking funds to support travel to and from a conference where research is presented.

Last updated: September 13, 2019
Contact for updates:
Shawn Weatherford or Selman Hershfield