Finding a Faculty Mentor

Students contact faculty to find a research mentor and then apply for funding through UGAR. UGAR does not match students with faculty mentors.

Online database of faculty research projects

Online database of research projects: contact faculty who have posted projects that are of interest to you. 

Note the following:

  • Faculty may or may not choose to list a project. If a professor does not have a project listed, it does not necessarily mean s/he isn't willing to work with students on research.
  • Faculty are responsible for maintaining their own entries. It is possible that some projects in the database may no longer be active BUT it is also the case that projects that have been listed in the database for multiple years are still active.
  • Not all projects in the database will be eligible for UGAR funding.
    • It is more likely that the projects listed will be eligible for part-time assistantships (Presidential Scholars, URAD) than for leave term research grants.
    • Eligibility for leave term research grants involves a higher degree of independence and involvement in development of a project.
  • Don't rely only on this database to find research opportunities. Check out the other suggestions below.

Finding a research mentor

Other suggestions for finding a faculty mentor for research:

  • Talk to faculty with whom you have taken a class.
  • Talk to other students who have been engaged in research to learn about their experiences.
  • Use the Dartmouth Faculty Directory to learn about professors and their particular areas of interest. Note that the faculty directory includes tenure-line Dartmouth College faculty but does not include all adjunct and visiting faculty, nor does it include Dartmouth Medical School faculty.
  • Read faculty bios on departmental websites. These may include more information than is available on the Dartmouth Faculty Directory, and many departmental websites will also list adjunct and visiting faculty.
  • Graduate programs are another good source of information for potential faculty research mentors.
  • There are some science centers at Dartmouth that provide information about ongoing research, such as Neuroscience Center at DartmouthImmunology Program.
  • Use the Dartmouth Medical School Faculty Expertise Database for information on faculty affiliated with the medical school and hospital.
  • Look through the research positions on JobNet - select "research" in the "classification" menu then click "search jobnet".

Before You Meet with A Potential Research Mentor

  • Think about what you want. Are you looking for a part-time research experience while you are taking classes or a full-time leave term research project? Are you looking for a paid position? Is this something you would want to do for one or two terms, or is it something you are interested in continuing for one or two years?
  • Make sure you know something about the faculty member's research. At least read the "research interests" paragraph on the web. Better yet, read an article or something else he or she has written.
  • Keep in mind that opting to engage in research with faculty who have non-regular appointments (emeritus, lecturers, etc.) may limit your options. They may not be at the college for the long term and may not be eligible to mentor some types of research opportunities.
  • Be prepared to provide a list of relevant coursework or a resume. Not all potential mentors will ask for this type of information, but some may. 
  • If the professor you meet with does not need/want to take on a student, ask who else he or she thinks you should talk to. Sometimes an email that begins, "Professor Smith suggested that I talk to you..." will get better results!
  • Be sure you are willing to make the commitment. If a professor agrees to be your research mentor, understand that he/she will be expending significant time and resources in training and supervising you. It is your responsibility to be reliable and to work hard.
  • If you are hoping to continue the research over multiple terms, be sure to ask specifically about that option. Depending on faculty appointment types, sabbaticals, etc., not all mentors may be able to offer longer term research opportunities.

Faculty Eligible to Mentor Students in Research

All tenure-line and research-track faculty at the college and professional schools may supervise undergraduates in research. Research-track faculty include research assistant professors, research associate professors, and research professors (but not Research Scientists). Geisel School of Medicine faculty with the titles of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Full Professor may supervise undergraduates in research.

Faculty with other types of appointments may be eligible to supervise undergraduates in some programs with approval from the relevant department or program chair. Note that only those who are currently employed by Dartmouth are eligible to supervise undergraduates in research. Those whose primary employment is elsewhere but have adjunct or courtesy appointments at Dartmouth are not eligible to supervise undergraduates in research. 

To initiate the approval process for contingent faculty, department/progam chairs should submit the online approval form.

IMPORTANT NOTES

  • Presidential Scholars program: this program is intended to prepare students for honors thesis research so faculty mentors must be eligible to be primary advisors for student honors theses in their academic department or program. In most cases, this includes only faculty with the following appointment types: tenure-line, research track or lecturer/senior lecturer.
  • Emeritus faculty: faculty with emeritus status are no longer employees of the College so are considered to be volunteers. Department/program chairs may grant approval for emeritus faculty to mentor undergraduate researchers for some programs, but the chairs would be taking on responsibility for oversight of the emeritus faculty. There is also an additional level of approval required from the Dean of Faculty office of Arts & Sciences or the relevant professional school. Note that emeritus faculty are not eligible to mentor Presidential Scholars.
  • Postdoctoral Fellows: for those working under the supervision or mentorship of a tenure-line faculty member, that faculty member should be designated as the primary mentor for undergraduate students (the postdoctoral fellow can supervise the student). Postdoctoral fellows who do not have a designated tenure-line faculty member as a mentor and/or collaborator should contact UGAR to determine potential eligibility to mentor undergraduates in research.

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ON-CAMPUS RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS

  • Research assistantship programs (URAD and Presidential Scholars): students must be on campus, and it is expected that faculty mentors also be on campus during the term(s) of the research. If there is a compelling reason to waive the on-campus requirement for faculty, this request must be made in advance and there must be an on-campus supervisor who is involved in the project and agrees to work directly with the student (e.g. graduate student, post-doctoral fellow).
  • Honors thesis grants: there is no on-campus requirement for students or faculty.
  • Leave term grants: students may engage in the research on or off campus but there must be a rationale for the location of the research. The on-campus requirement for faculty is based on the location of the student's research and the rationale for that location.
    • Student off campus: there is no on-campus requirement for faculty, but there must be a clear plan for regular communication and mentoring.
    • Student on campus: in most cases, the rationale for the student to be on campus during leave term research is to able to work with their faculty mentor in person. In that case, faculty mentors must be on campus during the term of the research.