Get Involved

Do physics and somebody might give you work in your dream vacation spot, kids. This photo of Europe from Fan Chen ’17 says it all.

Trying out undergraduate research is a great way to learn what the life of a “real live physicist” is like and to start investigating the possibility of and/or preparing yourself for graduate school. It’s also a great way to find some new teachers, mentors, and friends (both professors and graduate students) in the department. Many of our students also use research opportunities around the globe as an opportunity¬†to explore the world!

You can often do research with a professor in one of the Wash. U. departments during the school year (often for credit towards your major or even for PAY and even work-study!). “How do I get such a job?” you may ask. There are some links and some advice posted below.

You can also try out a paid research job over the summer here, at a university near your home, or even at some exotic locale of your choosing! Many people apply for a formal program, for example the so-called “REU” programs or a DAAD fellowship in Germany. We have also had students successfully find summer jobs just by sending out emails to physicists at other universities whose work sounded interesting, or even by asking a visitor who came to give a talk for a job!

There are plenty of ways to get involved in research. Feel free to ask us if you have questions, and always feel free to ask the professors if you can shadow one of their students or work for them. The worst they can say is no, and then you can just try someone else!

A few links to get you started:

Summer Research and Study Abroad
Opportunities abound for research and travel! Here are just a handful of the many places we’ve worked in 2016:

  • Washington University (St. Louis, Missouri, USA)
  • Stanford University (San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA)
  • MIT Lincoln Laboratory (Boston, Massachusetts, USA)
  • University College London (London, United Kingdom)
  • Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat Munchen (Munich, Germany)
  • University of Heidelberg (Heidelberg, Germany)
  • Technion- Israel Institute of Technology (Haifa, Israel)


A sign at the Max Planck Institute for Quan tum Optics in Munich, Germany, that translates loosely to: “we do awesome physics. You should too.” Photo credit to Fan Chen ’17.

Here are some links to other summer research sites:

Washington University SPS