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How to Select and Contact Faculty to Look for a Research Assistant (RA) or Fellowship Position

Most students without a U.S. doctorate who find funding start as RA's, which are largely funded through grants.

Identify Appropriate Faculty in the Department of Epidemiology

Locate Epidemiology Faculty with research interests similar to your own. 

  • Partial list of Epidemiology faculty listed by areas of research
  • Full core faculty list (Some faculty on this may not be accepting students.)
  • Adjunct Faculty (Regular UW faculty with 2nd appointment in the Department of Epidemiology. A number of students have been funded by adjunct faculty.)
  • Consult Epidemiology Affiliate Faculty, as students are sometimes funded from outside the UW.
  • Click on each faculty name to find additional information.
  • Take the time to look at all of the web information available on each appropriate faculty member as our faculty members work at various research centers around the city.
  • Read abstracts of articles on PubMed written by faculty who interest you .
  • Faculty do not consider students for RA positions until they have been admitted.

Identify Other Faculty OUTSIDE the Department of Epidemiology
Many epidemiologists in Seattle, some not associated with the Department, hire our students as RA's.

  • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC) hires several Epidemiology RA's. Its research is not limited to cancer.
    • FHCRC can hire through the UW system, so RA's can receive the same benefits as UW RA's.
    • Enter your interest area (1-2 word description) into the search box (linked above), and investigator's CV's will result. If you have a lab background, enter "lab" and another relevant term. Contact investigators & lab directors the same way as Epidemiology Faculty. (See below.)
  • Consider RA/TA Positions in Other UW Departments.
    • Some new students have better success in finding RA/TA positions that utilize their current skills in other fields (e.g. biology, chemistry, etc.) rather than future epidemiologic skills.
    • A few students find fuding from other SPH Departments.
  • Phone numbers of other university departments
  • UW Labs and Research Centers List
  • Additional Investigator Locations. In particular, look for investigators/faculty with appointments at these sites:

Also, ask for faculty contact advice from the Epidemiology Student Academic Services
If desired, you may send a draft list of faculty contacts for our review and suggestions.

  • Email us your interest areas and your draft list to epi@uw.edu.
  • Allow several days.  PhD prospective students are given priority.
  • Start contacting faculty before receiving a reply.

Procedure for Contacting Faculty by Email
Most students have to contact approximately 20-50 (or more) faculty to locate funding.  Do not be too particular about the project for your first year. Students often change positions for their 2nd year or when they select a thesis or dissertation. Since epidemiology methods are generic, all epidemiologic research is relevant.

  • Send individual emails to faculty as soon as you are admitted. Do not mass email faculty members.
  • Write a professional, but brief letter of application in the main part of an email (not attachment) and attach your resume or CV. 
  • Include a description of your research interests, experience and skills.
  • Remember to mention the degree program to which you have been admitted, and your starting quarter.
  • Follow up by phone after a week, if needed.  Remember our faculty travel extensively and are busy with their research.
  • If a faculty member has no funding available or if s/he is not able to meet with you, ask him/her to recommend other investigators to contact.  If you do not find anything at first, check back with faculty a month or two later.
  • Most master's applicants will not receive an offer until after April 15 (if at all), but start as soon as you are admitted. Master's students who perform well in the program often find at least partial funding for the 2nd year.

Types of Funding Available
Benefits Information for RAs and TAs at the UW
International Students
Tuition and Residency Information
Accepting a Funding Offer

Return to Prospective Student or New Student Webpage

This page was last updated on January 29, 2014