Undergraduate Research

Our faculty-to-student ratio provides great opportunities for undergraduate students to work in state-of-the-art research laboratories during the academic year and in the summer. Below you can find programs coordinated through Penn Engineering, along with helpful information to guide undergraduates toward finding research positions in the School.

Finding a Research Mentor and Research Experiences

Students are encouraged to explore the Penn Engineering faculty directory, where users can identify which faculty are conducting research in a specific area and contact faculty members whose research interests them.

The Engineering Dean’s Advisory Board (EDAB) has put together a guide for their fellow students that gives step-by-step instructions and tips on how to secure research positions as an undergraduate. Everything from where to look for research to the best ways to communicate with faculty is covered in this comprehensive guide.

For Bioengineering majors, the Penn student chapter of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) has assembled its own student guide on starting a research experience.

Penn Engineering Programs

CG@Penn Summer Research

One of the reasons students attend Penn is for access to faculty and research opportunities, yet few undergraduates take advantage of this opportunity. While classroom experience is essential, so is the opportunity to create new knowledge while examining the unknown. The Digital Media Design program is closely related to the Center for Human Modeling and Simulation and the ViDi Center for Digital Visualization. Research projects are undertaken by heterogeneous teams of graduate and undergraduate students and visitors. Undergraduates who contribute in a substantial way become co-authors in publications. In the past few years, summer researchers in HMS and ViDi have had papers published in notable computer graphics academic conferences and journals. Program Website

CIS Undergraduate Summer Research Program

The goal of the Undergraduate Summer Research program is to encourage students, particularly CIS undergraduates, to get involved in research with faculty mentors early in their careers.  Students work with a faculty member and a graduate student mentor throughout the summer with the goal of producing an identifiable research result.  Participating students can receive either course credit or a stipend.  The program is open to University of Pennsylvania undergraduates majoring in CIS and related fields. Program Website

Littlejohn Undergraduate Research Program

Thanks to a generous gift by Angus Littlejohn, Penn Engineering is able to offer Summer Research Opportunities to our students. The program is open to rising, sophomores , juniors and seniors. The program provides students the opportunity to get involved in hands-on engineering research under the supervision of a faculty member. Topics of research include all areas covered by the departments in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Participants receive a stipend of $4,500 for a 10 week period. Students are encouraged to seek out a faculty member who is willing to act as the research advisor. A letter of support from the potential mentor and as well as letter from another faculty member is required as part of the application process. The application should include one page describing the relevance of the proposed work, a rough plan, expected outcome, your prior experience (if any) and why you are qualified to do this work. Apply | Email

LRSM NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)

The LRSM has hosted NSF-REU programs since 1989 in which students spend 10 weeks working on individual research projects with our associated faculty. We currently have funding for 20 undergraduates both through our MRSEC grant and a NSF-REU Site grant. The program runs from early June to August every year and takes applications from well qualified undergraduate who are mainly juniors but sophomores and freshmen can also apply. Students are required to make an oral presentation of their research during the final week of the program and to submit a paper describing their research before leaving the program. We encourage applications from under-represented groups in science and engineering, especially from women, minorities, and disabled students. The program is restricted to US citizens and permanent residents. Program Website

NSF/Greater Philadelphia Region/Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Undergraduate Research Program

This successful program helps students establish their scientific identity and is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and Penn Engineering’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. LSAMP is a national coalition striving to increase undergraduate enrollment, retention, and graduation rates of underrepresented racial minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) baccalaureate programs who pursue STEM graduate degrees and professional careers. Program Website

Summer UNdergraduate Fellowship in Sensor Technologies (SUNFEST)

Summer UNdergraduate Fellowship Sensor Technologies (SUNFEST) is a unique program that provides talented undergraduate students with hands-on research during the summer in the area of sensor technologies.  The program is open to students in engineering and the physical sciences. Areas of Research include Micro and Nano Electromechanical Structures and Sensors, Nanotechnology and materials for Sensors, Robotics and Control oriented projects, Wireless Sensor.  As a research assistant, you will be exposed to  real, in-depth research in the area of sensor technology under the mentorship of a faculty member. Program Website

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