Faculty in the Department of Chemical Engineering direct internationally recognized research efforts in many of the frontier areas of engineering science and technology, including bioengineering, complex fluids engineering, surface science, data storage and electronic materials technologies, environmental engineering, and process system design, optimization and control. Many Chemical Engineering students take advantage of undergraduate research opportunities that reinforce and extend what they learn in their more traditional courses. Whereas traditional courses emphasize the learning of existing knowledge and problem solving methods, research experiences emphasize the discovery of new knowledge and the creation of new methods.
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These research experiences often help students focus their career interests. For example, students interested in graduate school after completing the BS are provided early exposure to the kinds of research offered at the Ph.D. level. Undergraduate research is not only for the graduate school-bound. Students can also get more of an in-depth exposure to Chemical Engineering specializations that they may wish to pursue after graduation. The Department of Chemical Engineering offers several flexible options for undergraduates to join in 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 his/her research group. Professor Robert Tilton maintains a list of available research projects for the department and can assist in the process of 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 are also eligible to earn academic credit for their research through the CIT Honors Research program. The Department also offers competitively awarded Summer Research Fellowships that provide a cost-of-living stipend to undergraduates who conduct research on campus over the summer. Additionally, summer research opportunities are available through NSF funded REU programs. This program offers stipend, housing, and numerous professional development opportunities. A number of students also choose work-study positions in faculty laboratories.
The Undergraduate Research Office Provides the opportunity for Small Undergraduate Research Grants (SURG) for student-initiated research projects and summer research fellowships. In addition, each year they sponsor “Meeting of the Minds,” an undergraduate research symposium that provides the opportunity for students to formally present their work.