The Ohio State University is one of the largest and most extensive research universities in the world. Researchers at Ohio State are leaders in a variety of fields that touch our daily lives and shape our future. Undergraduates are a part of OSU's exciting community of discovery, creativity and innovation.
As an undergraduate, research exposes you to a very different side of engineering, one where you work to solve open-ended problems that no one knows the answers to yet, and in some cases where understanding and defining the problem is the primary goal of the research. Research also gives you the opportunity to work closely with faculty and more advanced students to get more exposure to the next step in your career in engineering.
What would I be doing?
The research opportunities for undergraduate ECE students are diverse and challenging. Under the direction of a faculty member, students work on a research problem that may involve laboratory work, computer programming, data analysis, and literature searching. Research projects prepare students for future graduate studies and/or the corporate world in ways regular curriculum alone cannot achieve. View some example ECE undergraduate research projects.
How do I find a research project?
Ask the professor teaching your favorite class if there are any research opportunities on the class’s topic. You can also browse the faculty webpages for topics that are interesting to you and contact those faculty to set up appointments to discuss possible research projects. If you have multiple topics/classes that interest you, but don’t know which faculty to contact, you can make an appointment with the ECE department’s undergraduate honors and research coordinator, Prof. Bradley Clymer (firstname.lastname@example.org). Prof. Clymer can help you identify faculty who regularly advise undergraduate research on the various topics that interest you.
Opportunities for honors students
Students with a university honors designation (cumulative GPA of 3.4 or higher) can develop their research project into an Honors Thesis during their senior year under the supervision of a faculty advisor. Students who complete the requirements for the thesis project will graduate with Distinction in Electrical & Computer Engineering. Visit the Honors section to learn more.
What are the benefits?
Participation in undergraduate research benefits students educationally, professionally, and personally. Benefits include:
- Working closely with a faculty mentor
- Sharpening problem-solving skills and applying concepts learned in coursework to real life problems
- Exploring and preparing for future careers
- Developing marketable skills
- Enhancing professional communication skills
ECE students who are interested in being involved in an undergraduate research project can do so in a few easy steps.
- Students should be in good academic standing.
- Students should explore the various research areas ECE faculty members are involved in, chose an area of interest, and identify a particular professor as a potential research advisor.
- Think about how much time per week that you have to complete research.
- Contact the professor(s) directly and inquire about the available research opportunities, including the possibilities of joining an on-going research project, or perhaps even starting a new one. Indicate an area of research that you would like to work on. This will give the faculty member a better idea of what projects you may be available for.
Prof. Clymer has recorded a September 2011 seminar that discusses undergraduate research and senior honors thesis projects, including how to find projects and advisors. The CD recording of this seminar may be checked out at the ECE main office in DL 205. Slides used for the recorded seminar can be downloaded here. View some example abstracts of current senior honors thesis projects.
If you have additional questions about undergraduate research projects, please contact the ECE department’s undergraduate honors and research coordinator, Prof. Bradley Clymer.