- Find a faculty supervisor. Approach a faculty member who is doing research that interests you and request to work with them. Together you will settle on the research project details. See the research brochure for a list of items you’ll need from your faculty supervisor.
- Pass the department’s safety test. Go to the ChE department office (Chem Sci room 203) to sign up to take the test.
- Complete the enrollment request form. Go to the Department’s undergraduate research webpage to complete the enrollment request form.
- Verify your registration. You will be contacted once you’ve been enrolled in the class. Verify your registration by checking your schedule on Banweb.
The Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), is a set of summer research programs hosted at at many universities, including Michigan Tech. These are competitive programs and an excellent way to check out if you are interested in graduate school. A good time to do an REU is the summer after you have completed the spring junior classes in chemical engineering. If you can get one earlier than that, that’s great too, but the best time is just before senior year.
The REU programs are the opportunity to participate in a funded research program at a research university. You will work with other REU undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, and the professor in the program (0ften in a lab) on a real project that is aiming towards publication. They are looking for bright students who may be interested in going to graduate school. They will be showing you what graduate school and research is all about. You will make friends and gain colleagues and you will gain research experience and skills. You will get the opportunity to live in a new place and in general check out the scene. You may get to be on a publication. If you are not sure about going to graduate school the REU experience will likely give you the experience you need to come to a decision.
The REU fellowships are well funded–you will have enough to live on and to enjoy your summer and to save up for college. The deadlines for REU applications range from January to late March annually. There may be some with later deadlines, but they are accepting people in February and March so if they fill up they fill up.
You may obtain more information about the REU program from the NSF website. Undergraduate students sponsored with NSF funds must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States or its possessions. NSF maintains a website that allows you to search by topic for REU programs throughout the country. A contact person and contact information is listed for each site.
I highly recommend this program to students who are interested in research and/or graduate school.
All students enrolling in the Departmental research courses must pass the Chemical Engineering Department Safety Exam. Any individual who is requesting a key to a laboratory in the Chemical Engineering Department must also pass the Safety Exam.
The first step is to study for the exam. The study materials for the safety exam are located at this link. The three items to study are listed under Manuals.
When you are ready to take the test, please contact Mo Anton in the Department Office (Chem Sci 203, 487-3132, firstname.lastname@example.org) to schedule a time to take the test. You must get an 80% to pass. You are allowed to retake the exam, if needed.
You are allowed to take up to 9 credits of undergraduate research total (CM 4000 + CM 4020 + CM 4040 + CM 4060). We will count up to 6 credits total towards your ChE/eng/technical electives. If you take any additional research credit it will count towards your free electives.
I can recommend two large programs that sponsor undergraduate research:
- Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and
- Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program, sponsored by the National Institutes of Science and Technology (NIST)
NSF through the REU program sponsors summer research programs at many universities. These are competitive programs and an excellent way to check out if you are interested in graduate school. You may obtain more information about the REU program from the NSF website. Undergraduate students sponsored with NSF funds must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States or its possessions. NSF maintains a website that allows you to search by topic for REU programs throughout the country. A contact person and contact information is listed for each site.
NIST sponsors an undergraduate research program (SURF) that brings students to their Gaithersburg, MD location (near Washington D.C.) to do research with government scientists. This program requires that your university apply for you and cost-share your application. Thus if you are interested in the NIST program, you will have to interest a professor here at Tech to cosponsor your research. For more information see the NIST SURF website.
Undergraduate research is an excellent idea for all students, but it is an especially good idea for those who are interested in attending engineering graduate school after completing their B.S. degree in chemical engineering. Check out our short video on the subject.
There are three paths to undergraduate research experience at Michigan Tech (for information on off-campus possibilities, click on the tag below), and all three of them begin with speaking with a professor. You must go to individual professors, presumably those who do research in areas that you find interesting, and discuss with them what types of opportunities there are to do research in their laboratories.
There are three types of research arrangements possible:
- Research for credit;
- Research as a part-time job;
- Research as an unpaid intern.
If you would like to do research for credit towards your undergraduate degree, you may sign up for CM4000 Chemical Engineering Research. You must obtain a chemical-engineering faculty sponsor to take this course. You may also do research with a professor in a department other than chemical engineering, in which case there will be an analogous XX4000 course in that department that you may sign up for. Up to four credits of CM4000 may count as technical or as engineering elective or as a chemical engineering elective. Up to four credits of XX4000 courses may also count as technical or engineering electives, depending on the department chosen; the CM advisor or department chair must approve XX4000 courses as technical or engineering electives. Research for credit requires that a final research report be prepared (written or oral).
If you would like to do research as a part-time job, you must find a faculty member who has funding for such a position and make the arrangements with the faculty member. No final report is required.
If you would like to do research as an unpaid intern, you must find a faculty member who is interested in supervising you and make the arrangements with the faculty member. No reports are required.
All individuals conducting research in chemical engineering laboratories must pass the departmental safety examination before being admitted to work in the lab.