Undergraduate Research Assistant Job Description, Key Duties and Responsibilities

By | December 1, 2023
Undergraduate Research Assistant Job Description
Undergraduate research assistants provide help to professors and PhD students on their academic research projects.

This post presents detailed information on the undergraduate research assistant job description, including the key duties, tasks, and responsibilities they commonly perform.

It also highlights the major requirements you may need to meet to be hired for the undergraduate research assistant role.

What Does an Undergraduate Research Assistant Do?

An undergraduate research assistant helps out professors and PhD students by working on their academic research projects. 

The undergraduate research assistant job description involves running experiments, gathering data, surveying people, and pulling together materials for literature reviews.

The undergraduate reports directly to the professor or PhD student leading the research they’re helping out with.

Research assistants work in all kinds of fields where active research is happening – STEM projects, social sciences, humanities, medicine, business – you name it.

To land the gig, you’ll need to be enrolled in a Bachelor’s degree program and keep your grades up.

Relevant research methods courses under your belt are a big plus. 

Some of the main duties performed by undergraduate research assistants include giving a hand with study design, data collection and analysis, prepping materials, and doing those literature reviews. 

They may also have to recruit study participants, manage databases, organize materials, and help present research findings.

The undergraduate research assistant plays a key supporting role across academia globally. 

Strong research, critical thinking, and communication skills are highly valued in research assistants.

For some research areas, scientific, technical, or quantitative skills are preferred.

There’s no universal licensing, but research assistants have to follow university and institutional ethics rules.

Undergraduate Research Assistant Job Description Example/Sample/Template

The undergraduate research assistant job description consists of the following duties, tasks, and responsibilities:

  • Help design studies and put together research methods
  • Recruit people to participate in studies and interviews
  • Give surveys, tests, and other data collection activity
  • Do interviews, focus groups, observe participants 
  • Crunch numbers and analyze data using software like SPSS
  • Interpret and summarize research findings
  • Look up and compile bibliographies for lit reviews 
  • Do lab work – operate equipment, test samples, record results 
  • Make graphs, charts, and infographics to visualize data
  • Pitch in on grant proposals and funding apps 
  • Co-author and add to published journal articles and conference presentations
  • Keep accurate records for research compliance 
  • Make sure research follows ethical and institution standards
  • Coordinate study logistics like room bookings, supplies 
  • Document procedures and keep detailed lab notes
  • Track research budget expenses
  • Order lab materials, resources, supplies
  • Attend and contribute to lab meetings
  • Supervise undergrad assistants 
  • Photocopy, file, organize research docs and field notes
  • Make PowerPoints to go with oral presentations 
  • Use software like EndNote to organize citations
  • Double check data entry and coding
  • Handle reimbursements and payments for participants
  • Other admin tasks to support research as needed.

Undergraduate Research Assistant Job Description for Resume

If you have worked before as an undergraduate research assistant or presently working in that role and are making a new resume or CV, then you can create an effective Professional Experience section for your resume by applying the above undergraduate research assistant job description example.

You can highlight the duties and responsibilities you have performed or currently performing as an undergraduate research assistant in your resume’s Professional Experience by utilizing the ones in the sample undergraduate research assistant job description above.

This will show to recruiters/employers that you have been effective carrying out the undergraduate research assistant role, which can boost your chances of been hired, especially if the new position that you are seeking requires someone with some undergraduate research assistant work experience.

Undergraduate Research Assistants Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities for Career Success

Here are important skills and qualifications that candidates for undergraduate research assistant position are usually expected to fulfill to be hired:

  • Know research methods and protocols
  • Stats analysis skills
  • Lab skills like pipetting, running equipment, etc.
  • Software skills – Excel, SPSS, and databases
  • Keen attention to detail helps ensure data accuracy
  • Strong critical thinking and analytical abilities allow meaningful interpretation of research findings 
  • Superb organizational and record keeping skills facilitate timely task completion
  • Effective teamwork relies on communication both verbally and, in writing
  • Possesses efficient skills in conducting research and retrieving information
  • Familiarity with the requirements surrounding research
  • Demonstrated success in recruiting and screening participants for studies
  • Proficient in utilizing library databases and reference management software
  • Knowledgeable about grant writing and the process of applying for funding.

Undergraduate Research Assistant Salary

When it comes to the salary of undergraduate research assistants, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2022 indicates salary of $27,430.

Furthermore, the five states that offer top pay to undergraduate research assistant are as follows:

  • California, $38,330
  • Massachusetts, $35,690
  • Maryland, $33,830
  • Connecticut, $33,580
  • New Jersey, $33,400.


This post provides an overview of the undergraduate research assistant job description. It outlines their responsibilities, required skills and qualifications along with details about salary.

Additionally, it highlights job prospects associated with contributing to research.

These positions let students score valuable experience with research methods, critical thinking, technical skills, and scholarly writing.

As they help professors and PhD students with studies and experiments, undergraduate assistants build expertise that prepares them for research careers and further education after graduation.

If you’re a student keen to get a head start on research, this article maps out exactly what a research assistant does and what it takes to crush it.

Whether you want hands-on training or a paid job to offset college costs, working as an undergrad research aide can seriously boost your academic and professional growth. 

And for professors and lead researchers, this overview provides the complete nitty gritty on undergraduate research assistants.

From core tasks to key competencies, it offers a template to craft an accurate job description for your university research crew.