Undergraduate Research

Participation in hands-on research helps students understand theory and retain knowledge while training them for their future profession. 

Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)

CEE Research Experiences for Undergraduates are paid positions that give you the opportunity to actively participate in research and work with faculty, graduate students and other researchers on ongoing projects. REUs develop not just your research skills, but also your interpersonal skills. 

Note: the CEE REU program is meant for new undergraduate research opportunities; therefore, it is not applicable to undergraduate students who are already working for a faculty member.

  1. The program will be announced within two weeks of the start of a semester (Fall, Spring, and Summer II). Request for proposals will be sent, and posted on the Undergraduate Blog, to faculty and undergraduate students with exact deadlines and requirements.
  2. Talk to a faculty member in your area of interest to find out if they are available to partner on an REU, then work with them on a one/two page proposal. Proposals can only be submitted by CEE faculty members on behalf of their students.
  3. The length of employment will be 12 weeks (10 hrs per week) in the Fall and Spring semesters and 6 weeks (20 hrs per week) in the Summer at the hourly rate of $12.50 per hour. The total amount an undergraduate student will receive is $1,500 per student per semester of employment.
  4. Each faculty member is limited to two students per year and students are eligible for two REUs during their undergraduate studies. In some cases, an undergraduate provides such value to the faculty's research that they are funded for ongoing work. 

Who should apply:

The REU program is designed to engage undergraduates in research early in their academic careers.

Any undergraduate student interested in gaining research experience is encouraged to apply!

What is involved:

The types of REU projects students participate in vary in terms of scope and the type of work being done. In some cases they involve research publications, which may be very helpful in job searches and graduate school applications.  

Why you should apply:

Getting involved with research is a great way to put classroom concepts into practice while helping you establish a close working relationship with a member of the faculty and with graduate students.

Read about some student research experiences:

Students explain their undergraduate research projects

Students participating in the REU program during the Fall 2022 semester share a little bit about the projects with why they are involved.

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Undergrad helps with research into sea ice leads

Interest in the climate crisis led Cici Teng to environmental engineering and a project on sea salt particles in the atmosphere.

Read More

First-year class project leads to start-up

A team project on sidewalk repair cost estimates leads a CEE student to establish a start-up for automated civil engineering inspections.

Read More

More undergraduate opportunities for research:

There are many other opportunities for undergraduates to participate in hands-on research including several courses that offer design projects, field experiences and even travel for real world problem-solving. These include CEE195 About Civil Engineering, CEE458 Water Resources Field Methods, CEE449 Environmental Engineering Lab, and CEE 190/398 Special Topics. 

A student-driven initiative called PURE can also help you find undergraduate research opportunities. The PURE Research Program is an interdisciplinary program in Grainger Engineering that pairs freshman and sophomore undergraduates with research mentors.  Learn More →

The Grainger College website also features a number of resources for undergraduates interested in research opportunities. Learn More  →