Undergraduate Research

There are a variety of research opportunities for undergraduate students at the University of Michigan. In fact, approximately 150 undergraduate students 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.

Directed Study / Independent Research Projects (EECS 399 & EECS 499)

Students are encouraged to contact individual EECS faculty directly to inquire about doing independent research projects together. Our Directed Study classes, EECS 399 and EECS 499, can be taken for 1-4 credits. These courses provide an opportunity for undergraduate students to work on substantial research questions in EECS. 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 to other 400-level EECS classes. An oral presentation and/or written report will be due at the end of the semester.

How to Sign Up for Directed Study / Independent Research (EECS 399 & EECS 499)

  1. Student locates a research opportunity by contacting EECS faculty members to identify upcoming research openings (see the bottom of this page for tips on identifying research areas and connecting with faculty)
  2. Once a student is offered a specific research project, they will work with their faculty mentor to determine the following:
    • Description of your project
    • How will you be evaluated?
    • Will materials from other classes be used in the project?
    • How frequently will you meet with your faculty mentor?
    • How will the completion of your project be determined?
  3. Fill out and submit the EECS Directed Study / Independent Research Form in its entirety.
  4. Your faculty mentor must approve your form submission before you may enroll in EECS 399 or EECS 499.
  5. Once approved by your faculty mentor, the ECE Undergraduate Advising Office will provide an override allowing you to register for EECS 399 or EECS 499.

Summer Undergraduate Research in Engineering (SURE) & Summer Research Opportunity Programs (SROP)

The SURE program provides support to undergraduate students for 10-12 weeks during the summer to work 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 (application deadline: January). Non-UM students who also meet SROP qualifications can apply to these projects through the SURE application process, which has a mechanism for identifying SROP candidacy.

SURE ECE Projects

U-M Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP)

The Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) creates research partnerships between first and second year students and University of Michigan faculty. All schools and colleges of 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 through the course of an academic year or through a 10-week summer research project. For more information about UROP, contact urop.info@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 motivating students to attend the University of Michigan. Stepping into the world of research can feel overwhelming though, especially if you’re not sure where to begin. This guide is intended to help ECE students feel empowered to take that first step and engage in research as an undergraduate student.

  1. Start with what interests you! Your interests might be centered around questions or topics or methods. They may be specific or broad. There is no right or wrong way to start – figuring out a specific research questions and ideas will come later.
  2. Spend time learning about faculty research interests from their own personal and lab websites. As a starting point, you can find links to ECE faculty websites here. Most department websites 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. The results of your initial search will help you formulate new searches.
  3. Go to office hours. Ask professors about their own research projects and find out what excites them right now in their field. Ask how they got started in research. Prepare for your meeting by making a list of questions to ask to get the most out of your interaction.
  4. Attend extracurricular lectures, symposiums, and guest speaker events. Going to these types of events will help you see what topics academics and professionals are exploring in their respective fields today. They may even give you ideas for projects or things you would like to work on 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.
  6. Take research methods and/or additional statistics classes. Many of these courses will help you build the skills you need when working in a lab or collecting your own data.
  7. Contact professors and potential faculty mentors. Reaching out to faculty members can be intimidating. You may not know exactly what your own research interests are or how your conversation should go. Before you email a professor, check out Google Scholar to brush up on the research the faculty member is currently conducting. In your email, introduce yourself, explain whey you’re emailing them about their research, and state what you are looking for (a conversation about the research topic, a fall position, a summer experience, etc.). Be polite and professional in your tone, and follow up as necessary.