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Research in the USA

Doing research after graduate study

The most common way to do research in the United States is by enrolling in a Ph.D. program. If you are already a Ph.D. student elsewhere, it is also possible to do part of your doctoral research in the U.S.. It is more difficult to find a research position if you are not working on a Ph.D.. Here, the same rules apply as if you were an undergraduate student: whether you will find a position depends on your research proposal, the timeline, and the amount of supervision you will need.

Doing research in the U.S. after your Ph.D.

Post-doc positions
Many U.S. institutions offer post-doc positions for people who hold a Ph.D. degree. These positions make it possible to do independent research and to publish so that you can begin building on your academic career. Financial support for these positions comes from the institution where you have your affiliation, or from other American or non-American funding organizations.

Visiting scholars
Universities in the US are very interested in co-operation with researchers and lecturers from other countries. Many faculties have so-called invitational positions for which foreign academics, of good to exceptional standing, are invited. Such positions generally last a total of one year. The U.S. institution generally pays the salary and sometimes the research costs.The number of invitational positions is limited. Most non-American academics arrange a research position through the collegial contacts within their field. Most have to arrange funding themselves.

Doing research in the US during your studies

In the United States, research is mainly done by graduate students, post-docs and professors. If you want to do research in the U.S. during your studies, you must be aware that you are considered an undergraduate student in the American system of higher education. Although not impossible, it is uncommon for undergraduate students to do research in the U.S.. Therefore, it will not be easy to join a regular research program. It helps if the institution where you are currently enrolled has an exchange program with a U.S. university. The same goes for having a professor with close professional contacts in the U.S.. Whether you will be welcome in the U.S. depends on your research proposal, timeline of the project, and the amount of supervision you need. Work pressure at American universities is generally very high and there will not be much time to supervise visiting students. You will be completely responsible for finding funding for your stay in the U.S.. There are no American organizations with funding for international undergraduate students.