I am in computer science (CS). Is it possible to volunteer to do research in a CS group at a university during summers or part-time after I have already completed my bachelor's degree in CS?

I want to get some more research experience, but my understanding is that "undergrad" research work must legally be paid for and that I am basically not going to find opportunities like I am describing. Is this assumption correct?

If not, how do I go about finding these opportunities, just cold-emailing faculty? What are some other ways to get research experience after graduating in CS other than doing a master's?

  • 6
    Please don't volunteer to perform labor for professors. It undermines people seeking employment as professional researchers and undergraduates seeking training opportunities, and teaches professors/universities bad habits. Apply for a job - it can be a research job - you have a degree. Please also only ask one question per post. Jun 3 '21 at 20:52
  • what sort of research jobs are there for post-baccs? I'm kind of in the same boat as OP and I'm struggling to find such opportunities aside ones at the national labs.
    – Daveguy
    Jun 3 '21 at 21:07
  • What is this in service to? Are you just wanting to help out with research for altruistic reasons, are you trying to build up credentials for applying to a PhD program, or are you angling for a particular kind of position in industry?
    – Ben Barden
    Jun 4 '21 at 17:25
  • @Daveguy I'm one of the rare few that managed to get a paying research job as a Baccalaureate (not post-bacc). To be fair, I stacked the cards in my favor, by the time I applied, I had 1 year of basic lab prep work and two years of lab research (all unpaid volunteer) with my name (as an undegrad!) on an abstract (I discovered something new, I wasn't just the help). When you land those paying jobs, they pay very poorly. I loved research (and would have done it forever if money doesn't eventually become important), but made more money as a night manager in a grocery store.
    – Edwin Buck
    Jun 4 '21 at 19:09
  • I deleted the open-source question since it's not as related to the others. Jun 4 '21 at 19:18

I would email and talk with professors you are interested in working with. Professors later in their careers often have some extra money they can push around and may be willing to hire on a part time research assistant (even one who is not in school). In my experience these positions are not listed, they are created when the right person expresses interest.

  • 1
    Blind emails are unlikely to be helpful, however.
    – Buffy
    Jun 4 '21 at 15:24
  • 1
    ^ This is true. If you have to blind email, make sure to do your research on their lab/work ahead of time. Explicitly convey you have spent time looking into their work and how you could benefit their lab. Perhaps you have some experience or ideas that align well
    – Davis
    Jun 4 '21 at 20:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.