How to get Undergraduate Research Experience in EEE
Email the professor:
- Use an informative subject header and identify the main point of your email immediately.
- Make sure to state your name, year in EEE (sophomore), and the titles of each article you read.
- Ask to meet briefly (15 minutes) to discuss their research and briefly note why it interests you.
Provide several time options in the coming two weeks that you are available to meet them at their office during regular business hours. (Don’t forget to ask where their office is and if Zoom or another type of correspondence is preferable.)
If you do not get a response from the professor:
- Wait a minimum of two weeks before re-emailing the professor (to avoid being a pest).
- Forward your previous email to the professor, politely stating that you tried to email them two weeks ago, but it must not have reached them, so you are trying again. Provide a new batch of times you are available in the next two weeks.
If you still get no response, look up their graduate students and contact them to ask how best to arrange a meeting with the professor.
Meeting with the professor:
Ask the professor probing questions about their research, such as:
- Do you have a research project that needs an undergraduate student’s help?
- What are typical responsibilities for undergraduate students engaged in your research, and what are your expectations of them?
- How did you get involved with this area of research?
- Where does your research funding come from?
- Don’t forget the questions you wrote down while reading the articles!
Ask yourself if you would enjoy working with this professor.
- If so, at the end of the discussion, ask if they are accepting undergraduate researchers in their lab.
- If not, politely thank them for their time and state that you hope to take classes with them in the future.
- Ask the professor probing questions about their research, such as:
Legally, you MUST receive course credit or pay to work in a professor’s research lab.
- Course Credit: Undergraduate research in EEE is most commonly started via EEE 49800. Follow the directions at Individual Research Proposal form (for EEE 49800)
- Pay: You must negotiate this directly with the professor. It depends on the availability of grant money for that faculty member, which is arranged through their business office. Paid research positions are most commonly secured through SURF or OUR (see links below). Competitive scholarships and financial awards for undergraduate research are also available via EURO and OUR (links below).
- Engineering Undergraduate Research Office (EURO)
- Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)
- Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR)
- Discovery Park’s Undergraduate Research Internship (DURI)
- Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP)
- Research Journals
- NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) (This program is not affiliated with Purdue.)