Does Undergraduate Research Count as Work Experience?

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Does Undergraduate research count as work experience? Does a research assistant count as work experience?

Research can be of two different categories; Academic and Professional. The most common and widely acceptable is professional research. For job seekers focused on sorting out their resumes, it is important to know if your research work can be included or classified as Work Experience.

Recall I mentioned that research could either be Academic or Professional. Academic research is the kind of research done as an Undergraduate or a Postgraduate. On the other hand, professional research is the kind of research done by a field professional. For this article, We will find out if Undergraduate research can count as Work Experience on your resume.

As a method to make this as comprehensive and, at the same time, informational as possible, I will state factors that you should take into consideration if you want to include your research work in your experience portfolio.

Before that, however, remember we are mainly concerned with Undergraduate research. As a result, we should treat that first.

Can undergraduate research be considered work experience?

Usually, employers can only accept research work as experience if you have obtained it by facing all the conditions of a research employee. As an undergraduate who does research, remember you are only doing it to get a good and fair grade from your lecturer. This is very different from the conditions you should face.

Most undergraduates venture into research work as volunteers and do not face similar conditions as normal employees. You will not be as experienced as those paid to do the same job. Research employees on payroll will do their job concerning time, promptness, accuracy, and specificity. Undergraduates, on the other hand, might not have these qualities.

Once undergraduates complete research, they submit all reports to the lecturers involved and get their grades. Usually, this is the purpose of their research work and is not ideal to be included in their resume. In some cases, however, it can be included. I will explain briefly.

The only condition that makes it acceptable for your undergraduate research work to be included in your resume is if you apply to academic firms. Yes, if you want to pursue a career in academia, you can use your undergraduate work as leverage if you feel it will give you an upper hand.

Undergraduate research does not count as Work Experience unless you use it in an academic field. You mustn’t go against this simple principle as it could cost you the job.

Undergraduate research experience on resume

This is a question that only a few people can provide an answer to. Before your employer appoints you for whatever position you must have applied for, you must meet certain criteria.

For example, some job positions require candidates to include their research experience on their resume, while some will require but will not make it known. It is believed that candidates should know the right time to do so.

So, when is the right time? You do not just use your Research Portfolio; it is only needed in specific instances. If you are applying to a non-educational firm interested in your research experience, you should include it.

There is a “but” to this. You must not use your undergraduate research work as experience. It does not count there.

If all your experience is as an undergraduate, you should not bother including it. It is better just to come clean or forfeit the job application. If you use your undergraduate research work in this case, you might not even get considered, though coming clean might help a little.

Does graduate research count as work experience?

Many graduates are advised to pursue Postgraduate degrees after their graduation with a degree. If you are a Postgraduate, I can assure you a higher chance of getting the job if your research work was done during the Postgraduate program. This tells you that Postgraduate research counts as Work Experience.

Therefore, if you have a Postgraduate degree, you might consider including your research work in your resume. It will serve many purposes there and give you a better chance of securing any job you apply for.

Another very common situation where your research work is highly required is if you have professional experience. Professional research work has the highest leverage regarding job appointments.

It is believed that the knowledge and understanding possessed by such individuals can be unmatched since they have gotten it in a standard setting and against all odds. Most professionals in this field are known as research assistants. If this is the job title written on your work experience, I assure you that you are one step ahead.

So, Suppose you have previous professional work experience and are applying for a new one. In that case, it is advisable to include your previous research work as you will be given utmost consideration above others.


Almost all employers are not interested in your undergraduate research work as it has little or no effect on your performance. Hence, it is not advisable to include it in your resume when seeking a job.

However, you might decide to include it if it is relevant to the job you are applying for, but it should be under the education section. Do not make the mistake of placing it under your experience portfolio. Such information belongs to your education portfolio if at all it is needed.

Candidates who also want to pursue Postgraduate degrees need not include their undergraduate research experience in their application.

So, suppose you have considered adding your undergraduate research work to your experience portfolio. In that case, you should have realized now that it is a wrong step as it could jeopardize your opportunity. Get solid research experience and add it to your resume.

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