Undergraduate Research

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at NC State University is ranked among the top academic units engaged in scientific research in the United States on a wide variety of subjects from novel transistors for the next generation integrated circuits to concepts that will revolutionize how computers work.
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Undergraduate students can be a part of this excitement, gain invaluable experience and have fun at the same time! The ECE faculty welcomes and encourages undergraduate student participation in many research projects funded by industry and/or government agencies.

Undergraduate research is typically performed as volunteer work and it can start as early as the second semester of the sophomore year. Some of the research positions offer stipends for summer or for the whole year.

Why is this experience important?

Undergraduate research is intended to provide an opportunity for the student to get involved in scientific research. This experience is especially helpful if a student is interested in graduate study towards an MS or Ph.D. degree immediately after completing the undergraduate degree. Here is how the undergraduate research becomes helpful:

  • By closely working with graduate students on cutting edge projects funded by industry or government agencies, undergraduate students can have a pretty good idea if they would enjoy a career path in scientific research.
  • By working in laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art equipment for research, an undergraduate research assistant can gain valuable skills unattainable in undergraduate laboratories.
  • Practical research experience is a skill premium for undergraduate students who apply to graduate school for further study, or to government agencies or corporations for employment.
  • All graduate schools (and better companies) ask for letters of recommendation. A letter from a research supervisor can help the application a great deal.

When is a good time to start Undergraduate Research?

Typically, students apply for undergraduate research positions after they complete the first semester of the sophomore year. It is unlikely that a student will secure a position without completing any of the ECE courses. Furthermore, taking the introductory courses such as ECE200 and ECE209 help the students understand what electrical and computer engineers do in different specialization areas. This is key in identifying the right project for the student.

How can a student get involved in undergraduate research?

The undergraduate research positions are competitive; therefore, a good academic standing will be helpful. Most faculty will be very interested in discussing their research projects with you.

Make an appointment with the Coordinator for Undergraduate Research to talk about your technical interests and future career goals. The coordinator will identify a few members of the ECE faculty involved in the type of work you are interested in, and contact them on your behalf to find out if a position can be created for you. Before meeting with the coordinator, you are advised to review the faculty research page to identify faculty members who are interested in the same sort of work you want to do.

Undergraduate Researcher Tool

Check out the latest research opportunities provided by our faculty, submit your application to get started, or fill out a general interest application for any future opportunities that may become available.

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