A major benefit of studying at a large research institute like UC Davis is the opportunity to work and learn in a world-class research laboratory. Many ETOX graduates consider their experiences in faculty research laboratories enlightening and deeply influential for their future career paths. Learning science by doing science enriches the educational experience, it is inspiring, and it builds skills and networks of relationships that can open doors for long-term employment, graduate or professional school, and other opportunities.

As you can see from the diversity of research expertise covered by our faculty, potential research opportunities in ETOX labs span the spectrum from atmospheric, soil, and aquatic environmental chemistry, to biology at molecular, physiological, and population levels. Something for everyone!

If you are interested in research, spend some time thinking about your interests, see how they align with different research labs, and initiate a conversation about starting undergraduate research with your academic advisor and/or department professors!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How can undergraduate research help my career during, and beyond, UC Davis?

  • Develop the technical skills and gain the work/research experience that are important for postbaccalaureate education and/or obtaining employment.
  • Network with graduate students, postdocs, and professors to access additional opportunities and acquire strong letters of recommendation.
  • Advance scientific knowledge, achieve recognition, and improve your scientific communication skills by contributing to research papers and/or presenting your findings at conferences.
  • Research experience may be taken for academic credit (ETX 199 units) and apply toward an Honor's Thesis in ETOX (ETX 194H units). Additionally, some undergraduate research positions are paid positions.
  • Gain a competitive edge for campus-wide awards and scholarship/fellowships.

2. When to look for undergraduate research opportunities?

  • Research and lab experience can be gained as early as your freshman year as long as you have the motivation and passion. Typically, students participate in research in years 2-3 at UC Davis. Some labs may not accept seniors into undergraduate research due to the time required for training.
  • Some labs require completed coursework in general chemistry, organic chemistry, biology, biochemistry, environmental toxicology, etc.

3. Where can I find undergraduate research opportunities?

  • Students are welcome to ask any ETOX professor about research opportunities in their group either in person, in office hours, or through email.
  • Open opportunities may be shared via the ETX undergrad listserv, the ETX jobs page, and/or on UC Davis Handshake.
  • Use the Internship and Career Center for resources.
  • Students may also reach out to professors in departments and graduate programs outside of Environmental Toxicology, for example:
    • Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources
    • School of Veterinary Medicine
    • Agricultural & Environmental Chemistry Graduate Group
    • Pharmacology and Toxicology Graduate Group