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I'm a senior in CS and will be finishing my undergrad this coming semester at a university with a well-respected CS department. My school has a 1-year extension to our B.S. that gets you a master's, and I'm in that program. The program does not require any research, but recently I've gotten interested in the idea of doing research and possibly a PhD after my master's.

The thing is, the whole research thing being a recent interest, I have no experience whatsoever with academic research. I also have had very little contact with my professors throughout my time here, since I've been doing fine in classes and I've never really needed to talk to them. I do ask/answer questions in lecture more than the average student, but I rarely see professors outside of class. I do have a number of fairly complex projects on my resume (several that I'm still involved in), but that's complexity in terms of coding on a large code-base and not in terms of fancy theoretical stuff.

Is it too late for me to get involved in research? If not, how do I actually get started? Do I literally just send someone an email?

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Is it too late for me to get involved in research?

No, your timing is excellent.

how do I actually get started?

Presumably you know what fields interests you. One of those fields should probably be your research field. If possible, opt for a master's degree with a research focus (rather than an entirely taught degree). Opt for any research focused modules. Opt for any modules in your chosen field. Conduct any coursework on research problems. Establish whether you really want to do a PhD.

In parallel, start searching for a PhD supervisor. That supervisor can be located anywhere in the world that you are willing to live. Selecting a supervisor is most likely covered elsewhere (e.g., https://academia.stackexchange.com/a/10878/22768), so I wouldn't discuss further.

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