Undergraduate Research at MAE

Participating in undergraduate research exposes you to advanced engineering topics and provides the opportunity to gain experience working with faculty and graduate students. Undergraduate research allows you to be part of a team solving real engineering problems and to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the science describing how our world works.


Why is Undergraduate Research important?

Completing undergraduate research has many benefits. If you choose not to pursue an advanced degree, students with undergraduate research experience have knowledge of advanced engineering topics and experimental procedures that can lead to increased employment options. You will have practical experience to talk about on job interviews and you get a chance to build skills related to teamwork and verbal and written communication.For those interested in pursuing an advanced engineering degree (such as a Master of Science or PhD), completing undergraduate research gives you insight into the tasks and expectations associated with being a graduate student. The personal statement that you write on graduate school applications will be more direct, have a clear focus, and will allow a department to understand if your research interests align with those of their faculty. Further, many fellowships that provide support for graduate school require prior research experience. If you are considering a graduate research fellowship (such as those supported by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, etc.), undergraduate experience beyond a single semester will significantly strengthen your application packet.

All students completing undergraduate research also gain experience working with department faculty. You will establish a relationship with your advisor that may introduce you to pathways you didn’t know existed, to collaborators in government labs, industry, and other academic institutions, and can lead to a letter of recommendation where they have the ability to discuss your strengths as an employee.

How do I get started?

It is up to you to make contact with faculty members in MAE  and explore options. Talk to faculty members teaching your classes, explore faculty websites, walk around EBIII and read research posters outside all of our laboratories- these are all ways to learn what opportunities may exist.  To follow are various options for how undergraduate research is conducted within MAE.