Undergraduate Research

Getting Started

Identify some areas of engineering that really interest you.
Learn about the research that is currently underway in the School of Engineering.
Do a little research about the research.
Reach out to graduate students or faculty members in the lab.
  • Explain that you’ve read about their research and are interested in learning about opportunities to pursue research alongside them.
  • Remember, some faculty will not have availability to take on a new student at the moment you contact them.
  • Keep reaching out to other faculty members or checking back in at different points in time if you aren’t successful with your first try.
  • Remember to practice good email etiquette when emailing faculty!
  • Check out this opportunity to network with graduate students: Rock Chalk Research Partners Event
  • Engineering Graduate Ambassadors are also a great resource to reach out to for more information about participating in research, graduate school, and more!
Explore opportunities to fund, receive credit for, and present your research.


How are labs organized?
Typically, a faculty member is the head of the lab with graduate students and postdocs working for them on individual or small-group projects. Often undergraduate students work alongside a graduate student or postdoc, assisting their project and learning research techniques. More experienced undergraduate students can sometimes take on a project of their own with oversight of a graduate student or postdoc.
Do I need to take certain classes before doing research?
Many faculty are open to students starting their first year, and others might want you to have taken a class before you get started. It’s always a good idea to talk to faculty members early so you know when would be a good time to get started. No matter when you start, the person you are working with will meet you where you’re at—most students don’t know a lot about research before they get started!
Do I need to be in the Honors Program?
No, all students may participate in research regardless of if they are in the Honors Program.
Can I start as a freshman?
Will I be paid?
Maybe. This will depend on the lab and if the faculty has funding for an undergraduate researcher. There are also other ways to fund your research through places like the Honors Program or Center for Undergraduate Research.
How many hours a week will I be expected to work?
Your weekly hours will depend on the lab and the project that you are working on. This is a good point to discuss with the graduate student or faculty member that
Can I present my research?
Yes, check out the Center for Undergraduate Research as well as conferences in your discipline.
Are there summer research opportunities?
  • Yes, ask faculty if they have summer opportunities or look at national programs like the Research Experiences for Undergraduates through the National Science Foundation. Also, many universities offer their own summer research programs, so look at their engineering websites for opportunities.
  • NSF REU Site

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