Research Opportunities

Students may wish to participate in projects to study contemporary areas of research not covered by the standard curriculum. Undergraduate research is an excellent option for students considering graduate study in engineering. There are several ways in which students can become involved in undergraduate research.

Research with a Mechanical Engineering Faculty Member for Credit (ME 29700/49800/49900)

ME 29700, 49800 and 49900 are variable title courses that allow students to partner with a ME faculty member to engage in research for credit. Students should consider a topic or area of interest in which they would like to participate in research.  Students may complete up to nine credit hours of research to apply towards degree requirements.

ME 29700 is for students in sophomore or lower curriculum. ME 29700 can be used to meet free elective requirements

ME 49800 is for students in junior or senior level curriculum and are doing research for the first time for credit with a faculty member. ME 49800 can be used to meet ME elective requirements.

ME 49900 is for students in junior or senior level curriculum and are doing research for the second time for credit with a faculty member. ME 49900 can be used to meet ME elective requirements.

Students are responsible for approaching faculty to discuss research opportunities. A listing of faculty who conduct research in specific areas can be found here. Students should email the faculty member from a Purdue email account to request a meeting to discuss opportunities for research. During the meeting, the student and faculty should discuss the type of research/project, time commitment, expectations, etc.

The student is required to consult their academic advisor to determine how the credit will be applied towards their degree. Students should be prepared with an updated plan-of-study that incorporates the research course. To properly register for the research course, the student should complete the steps outlined below.

Process Summary for students completing research for credit (must be completed by the second Friday of the semester):

  1. Contact faculty member via email to request a meeting to discuss research opportunities
  2. During the meeting with the faculty, discuss the following: type of research/project, time commitment, expectations, etc.
    • Complete the following sections of the Variable Title form with the faculty member; Credit hours, Title, Student information and signature, faculty information and signature.
    • Complete the Undergraduate Research Contract with the instructor. It is important to complete this contract so that students understand the commitment, expectations, and how they will ultimately be graded for their work.
  3. Meet with your academic advisor to discuss how research will be applied toward your degree and bring the following three things with you:
  4. Updated POS with research
  5. Completed Variable Title Form - Click here to complete form
  6. Completed Undergraduate Research Contract - Click here to complete form
  7. Student takes Variable Title form to the Office of the Registrar to complete registration for research course after meeting with their academic advisor.

ME Research Registration Information for Non-ME Majors

All registration for ME faculty directed research is to be completed via a “Variable Title Form” and not a Form 23 or through the Registration Approval Workflow System. Students must see their own Academic Advisor in their home department to get this form and appropriate signature.

Students should register for the ME course number below based upon the following factors –

  • Students in freshman or sophomore level curriculum register for ME 29700
  • Students in junior or senior level curriculum register for ME 49800
  • Students in junior or senior level curriculum who are completing research with the same faculty member in a subsequent semester register for ME 49900.

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)

The SURF program is helping students across engineering, science, and technology disciplines discover a world of opportunity available to them through research. By closely working with other creative and innovative people, students explore, discover, and transform ideas into reality to advance society and improve people's lives. SURF matches undergraduates with a faculty member and graduate student mentor who introduce them to the research tools used on the cutting edges of science, engineering, and technology. More information for SURF can be found here: https://engineering.purdue.edu/Engr/Research/SURF.

Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship (DURI)

The Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship (DURI) program is designed to involve Purdue undergraduates in the interdisciplinary research environment of Discovery Park. The program provides opportunities for students to work with faculty affiliated with Discovery Park on cutting edge research projects that involve combining two or more disciplinary strengths. Working closely with faculty, students experience the excitement, challenge, and power of truly interdisciplinary research in the fast-paced, entrepreneurial environment that is Purdue's Discovery Park. DURI offers 50 part-time (6-10 hours/week) student internship slots per academic semester. More information for DURI can be found here: https://www.purdue.edu/discoverypark/duri

Bottomley Scholars

The Bottomley Scholarship empowers undergraduates to conduct engineering research with Purdue ME faculty.  Students apply for the scholarship in the Fall semester, and conduct their research in the Spring, concluding with a poster show and a submission for publication in the Journal of Purdue Undergraduate Research (JPUR).

The H. William Bottomley Global and Research Scholar Program in Mechanical Engineering is named to honor the late H. William Bottomley, a 1943 graduate of the School of Mechanical Engineering.  Supported through a planned gift by Jim and Marilynn Dammon, the Bottomley Scholar Program seeks to provide deserving undergraduate students in the School of Mechanical Engineering the opportunity to study one-on-one with a professor or provide assistance for opportunities for study abroad.