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Undergraduate Research Opportunities

There are a variety of research opportunities for undergraduate students at the University of Michigan. In fact, about 150 undergraduate students conduct research on EECS faculty projects in a typical year; many of these are paid positions. Below you will find some of the research opportunities open to undergraduate students. See the bottom of the page for tips on how to get involved.

Independent research projects

Students are encouraged to contact individual faculty about doing independent research in an area of mutual interest. EECS 399 and EECS 499, Directed Study, can be taken for 1-4 credits. It provides an opportunity for undergraduate students to work on substantial research problems in EECS or areas of special interest such as design problems. For each hour of credit, it is expected that the student will work an average of three or four hours per week and that the challenges will be comparable with other 400 level EECS classes. An oral presentation and/or written report will be due at the end of the term.

Steps to take to sign up for independent research

  1. Students are responsible for connecting to EECS faculty members to find upcoming research opportunities (for tips on identifying research areas or connecting with faculty see the tips section at the bottom of the page).
  2. Once connected on a specific project, work with your Faculty Director to determine the following:
    1. Brief description of your project
    2. How will you be evaluated?
    3. Will materials from other classes you have taken be used in the project?
    4. How often will you meet with your Faculty Director?
    5. How will the completion of your project be determined?
  3. Fill out and submit the EECS independent research form.
  4. Your Faculty Director must approve your submission before you can enroll.
  5. Once approved, the Undergraduate Advising Office will provide an override to help you get enrolled in the appropriate section of either EECS 399 or 499 for the semester.

Multidisciplinary Design Program (MDP)

The Multidisciplinary Design Program provides team-based, “learn by doing” opportunities through participation on ongoing faculty research teams. With MDP, you can: apply what you learn in class to engineering research; gain the technical and professional skills necessary to thrive in engineering research or professional settings; and experience how people from multiple disciplines collaborate within a team. In addition to skilled technical roles, teams offer Apprentice Researcher positions for first and second year students to develop their skills through mentoring by experienced members of the team. A minimum of two semesters participation (2 credits per term) is required.  Students are encouraged to participate on their team throughout their degree. Experienced MDP students have presented at research and professional conferences, participated in University patents, and co-authored publications. Experienced students have also taken on leadership roles on their teams.

The MDP application opens in September and is due mid-October; projects begin in January and end in December (summer is generally not included). For more information about how to apply to an MDP research team, please visit here or contact engin-mdp@umich.edu.

Summer Undergraduate Research in Engineering (SURE) program

The Summer Undergraduate Research in Engineering (SURE) offers summer research internships to outstanding undergraduate students who have completed their sophomore or junior year (preference will be given to those who have completed three years of study) by the time of their internship. Participants have the opportunity to conduct 10-12 weeks of full-time summer research with an EECS faculty member on a research project defined by the faculty. Applicants for EECS SURE projects should list on the application their top three areas of interest in preference order.

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP)

The Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) creates research partnerships between first and second year UM students and faculty. All schools and colleges at the University of Michigan are active participants in UROP, which provides a wealth of interesting research topics for program participants. There are two different ways to engage in UROP research: either throughout the course of an academic year or through a 10-week summer research project. For more information about these research opportunities, contact urop.info@umich.edu.

Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP)

The Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP) is designed for outstanding non-UM students entering into their 3rd or 4th year of undergraduate study and who are underrepresented within their field. The goal of this program is to provide students with the opportunity to conduct an intensive graduate level research project with faculty and graduate students at the University of Michigan. This eight-week program, held on the Ann Arbor campus, culminates in a research symposium where each participant presents their research project. Throughout the program, all students will engage in a series of academic, professional, and personal development seminars. For more information about eligibility requirements, benefits, and the application process, visit here or contact rackham.umich.edu.

Tips for Getting Involved in Research

Research is a cornerstone of academia. The pursuit of new knowledge is one of the main factors that motivates students to attend the University of Michigan. However, stepping into the world of research can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure where to begin. This guide is intended to help CSE students feel empowered to engage in some form of research during their undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan.

  1. Start with what interests you! Your interests might be centered around questions, or topics, or methods, and they may be specific or broad. There is no right way to start—the identification or formulation of specific scientific research questions or ideas will come later. 
  2. Spend time learning about faculty research interests from their own personal and lab web sites. Most department web sites allow for keyword searches, and you can always use Google and include “University of Michigan” and a department name in the search. Remember, there is no one right way to start.. and the results of your initial search will help you formulate new searches.
  3. Go to professors’ office hours. Ask them about their own research projects and find out what most excites them right now in their science. Ask them how they got started in research. You can do a lot to prepare yourself to get the most out of these meetings. Read the “Contacting Professors and Potential Project Advisors” for more information.
  4. Attend extracurricular lectures, symposia, and speaker sessions. Going to these types of events are good ways to see what topics academics and professionals are exploring in their fields and may even give you ideas for projects, or even people you would like to work with in the future.
  5. Check out the library!  Campus libraries have incredible resources beyond books. You can set up an appointment with a librarian to learn how to search for scholarly sources, how to develop a research question, and even how to read empirical research articles. Ever heard of JSTOR, Google Scholar or Interlibrary Loan?
  6. Take research methods and/or additional statistics classes. Many of these courses will give you tools you will frequently need when working in a laboratory or collecting your own data!
  7. Contact Professors and potential Project Advisors. Reaching out to faculty members for the first time can be intimidating. You may not know exactly what your own research interests are, how formal your conversation should be, or may have never even spoken to a professor one-on-one outside of class before! You can find suggestions for interacting with faculty members here.