Faculty in the Department of Chemical Engineering direct internationally recognized research efforts in many frontier areas of engineering science and technology, including bioengineering, complex fluids engineering, surface science, data storage and electronic materials technologies, environmental engineering, process system design, optimization and control.
Many Chemical Engineering students take advantage of undergraduate research opportunities to reinforce and extend what they learn in more traditional courses. While traditional courses emphasize existing knowledge and problem-solving methods, research experiences emphasize making discoveries and creating new approaches to solve problems.
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These research experiences often help students focus their career interests. If a student is interested in graduate school, research opportunities can offer early exposure to the type of work they'll encounter at the Ph.D. level. However, undergraduate research isn't only for students headed to graduate school. Students planning to enter industry can also benefit by experiencing Chemical Engineering specializations they may wish to pursue after graduation. The Department of Chemical Engineering offers several flexible options for undergraduates to join its research efforts.
The first step a student should take toward getting involved in undergraduate research is to ask a faculty member about the opportunities that are currently available in their research group. Professor Bob Tilton maintains a list of available research projects for the department and can assist in matching interested students and faculty. Students at any stage of their education may earn academic credit for their research by registering for 06-200/06-300/06-400 Undergraduate Projects. Invited seniors can also earn academic credit for their research through the CIT Honors Research program.
The Department also offers competitive summer research fellowships that provide a cost-of-living stipend to undergraduates who conduct research on campus over the summer. Additional summer research opportunities are available through NSF-funded REU programs, which offer a stipend, housing, and numerous professional development opportunities. Some students also choose work-study positions in faculty laboratories.
The Undergraduate Research Office has information on Small Undergraduate Research Grants (SURG) for student-initiated research projects and summer research fellowships. Each year, the Undergraduate Research Office also sponsors "Meeting of the Minds," an undergraduate research symposium that provides students a chance to present their research formally.