Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
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BAEM Advising Guide

Research Opportunities

An advantage of attending a major research university is the number of opportunities for undergraduates to participate in research projects. These projects may be student initiated or part of a faculty member's research program. There is often funding available, either directly to the student or through the faculty member. If you are going to graduate school a letter of recommendation from a faculty member for whom you have done a research project is probably the one of the best recommendations you can get.

Here are some of the different ways you can be involved in research:

UROP: Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program

This program provides funds for you to do a semester of research with a faculty member. You must first find a faculty member to be your adviser (see Finding Faculty Advisers below) and then write a proposal. Currently almost all proposals are getting funded. Note that you cannot get class credit for UROP projects.

Faculty Research Projects

All faculty in the AEM Department have research programs. There are often opportunities for undergraduates to contribute to these programs. Faculty that do experiments and computations typically have the most opportunities, but you don't know until you ask. See the section on Finding Faculty Advisers below or just talk to your instructors about what they are doing besides teaching.

NSF REU Program

National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates opportunities can be found using the NSF REU Search page. These are research opportunities that are funded by the National Science Foundation and are often attached to faculty research projects. Note that NSF encourages students to go to other schools for these, so the U of M REU's may not be your best choice. Applications should be directed to the individual sites and not NSF.

Student Research Projects

These are projects that are run by students and are not part of a faculty's research program, but do have a faculty adviser. Here is a list of some previous projects:

Getting Class Credit for Research

The courses AEM 4295, 4495, and 4595, which are all independent study courses, may allow you to get class credit for your research. You need a faculty adviser for these courses and you have to arrange with them what work will be required for a grade. These courses are offered every semester, including over the summer. These courses count as technical electives in the BAEM program, but you can only replace one technical elective with an independent study course.

Honors Theses

To get a Latin Honors degree you have to write a thesis. The written thesis may not be part of paid research or required for another reason, such as part of a UROP. This means that you cannot get paid for writing the thesis, but you can still get paid to do the research. Contact the AEM Director of Undergraduate Studies, who is also the AEM Honors Adviser, for more information.


Finding Faculty Advisers

Doing research requires initiative. And the first step is taking the initiative to find a faculty adviser. Faculty love to talk about their research, so all you have to do is ask them when they will have time to talk to you about it. Take a look at our web pages on Faculty Research to figure out which faculty are working on topics of interest to you. An individual approach works best; contact the professor with a personal e-mail or visit their office. Show that you know what area they work in and explain why you are interested.

If you need additional help with finding a research adviser you can contact your academic adviser or the AEM Director of Undergraduate Studies.


Last Modified: 2014-02-19 at 13:19:02 -- this is in International Standard Date and Time Notation