Undergraduate Research Opportunities: How to get Started
ECE faculty regularly have openings for undergraduates in their research labs. Students interested in research are strongly encouraged to speak with faculty whose work aligns with their own interests to see what opportunities may be available.
Vertically Integrated Projects Program
The Vertically Integrated Projects Program (VIP) unites undergraduate education and faculty research in a team-based context. Undergraduate VIP students earn academic credits, while faculty and graduate students benefit from the design/discovery efforts of their teams. VIP extends the academic design experience beyond a single semester. It provides the time and context to learn and practice professional skills, to make substantial contributions, and experience different roles on large multidisciplinary design/discovery teams. The long-term nature of VIP creates an environment of mentorship, with faculty and graduate students mentoring teams, experienced students mentoring new members, and students moving into leadership roles as others graduate. Rice VIP teams are composed of students from freshmen to seniors, with a variety of majors and backgrounds.
Electrical and Computer Engineering Research Projects
ELEC 490 is a course where undergraduates can conduct theoretical and experimental investigations under ECE faculty direction. Students must contact the faculty they want to work with and set up individual course selections with the advisors for the individual projects. All projects are subject to the approval of the undergraduate committee.
About 3 hours of work per week per 15 week semester would translate to 1 credit hour. The maximum number of credit hours of ELEC 490 in one semester would be 3. ELEC 490 projects do not count towards ECE specialization credit, and the maximum total ELEC 490 is limited to 6 hours. Students can petition if they have a special project.
The student is expected to prepare a final presentation and report for the research advisor by the end of the semester so that the research advisor can assess the student's performance and give the student a grade. (The student's level of effort should be comparable to that in a traditional lecture/lab course.)
Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Projects
REU projects are designed to involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs. During the REU at Rice ECE program, participants will work closely with faculty members, graduate students, and undergraduate mentors on current research projects, make short progress presentations to their peers during program meetings, make a formal poster presentation of their research experience at the end of the program, and submit a written, final report describing the results of their research. It is our goal that the students participating in the REU program will make significant contributions to ongoing faculty research and, more importantly, will gain an appreciation for and an interest in graduate school and a future research career. REU Projects are open to students outside of Rice.
Maker 101 ECE Online Summer Workshop
This non-college credit workshop is open to students at any university. It is geared towards those with little to no prior experience using Arduinos or designing printed circuit boards (PCBs).
The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program supports undergraduates from underrepresented backgrounds who are interested in pursuing supervised research with a Rice faculty member during the summer months. Applications opened on Monday, January 30th and will close Sunday, February 26th.
Rice Research Experiences for Undergraduates
Research experiences for undergraduates at Rice are open to students at colleges and universities from around the world. For most programs, research experience is not required – the faculty and graduate students will train you to perform research and mentor you through the experience!
The Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen (OEDK) provides a space for undergraduate students majoring in bioengineering, chemical and biomolecular engineering, civil and environmental engineering, computational and applied mathematics, computer science, electrical and computer engineering, materials science and nanoengineering, mechanical engineering and statistics to design, prototype and deploy solutions to real-world engineering challenges. To create the full circle of real-world experience that has societal impact, interdisciplinary teams tackle problems proposed by industry and partners in the Texas Medical Center and abroad.
NSF REU opportunities in the U.S.
The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program at the National Science Foundation (NSF) supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the NSF. REU projects involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or in research projects specifically designed for the REU program. REU Sites may be based in a single discipline or academic department or may offer interdisciplinary or multi-department research opportunities with a coherent intellectual theme.
Undergraduate Research Spotlight: Joseph Asfouri
The way I was able to engage with them was extremely valuable to me, not just to soak up knowledge — I could do that with a textbook — but to become so excited by the material and its powerful applications.