There are many great ways to get involved in research as an undergraduate in mechanical engineering. Check out the opportunities below and remember that one of the best ways to be proactive in this area is to reach out directly to faculty. Students can work as a researcher in an hourly position, through an independent study or as a volunteer. There are also opportunities to conduct research as an undergraduate beyond CU Boulder such as NSF's Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program.
The Discovery Learning Apprenticeship (DLA) Program recruits students to serve as undergraduate researchers for a full academic year, including both the fall and spring semester. Faculty submit proposals for research projects by March of each year, with student applications due in April. DLA positions are paid roles with students expected to work approximately 10 hours per week. To be eligible, a student must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and must not have prior SPUR or DLA experience.
The CU Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (CU SPUR) is the summer version of DLA. It is a 10-week program with student participants expected to work approximately 30 hours per week up to a total of 300 hours. Students apply in February, are notified of their acceptance in April and participate in the program from June to August. A student who would like to participate must be available the entire 10 weeks, have a minimum GPA of 2.7 and must not have prior SPUR or DLA experience.
The Your Own Undergraduate Research Experience at CU (You're @ CU) Program is open to undergraduate and graduate students, linking them together for shared research experiences. The undergraduate students serve as mentees and student researchers with the graduate students serving as mentors. The research experience includes a one-credit seminar course and requires 3-5 hours of work per week. To be eligible, students must be engineering majors in good academic standing.
Spring Break for Research through the BOLD Center is an opportunity for undergraduates to gain research experience and connect with a graduate student mentor. Students apply by early December each year. Undergraduate and graduate participants who are accepted will receive a $250 stipend. To be eligible, students must be engineering majors in good academic standing and available for all of Spring Break.
Summer Multicultural Access to Research Training (SMART) provides 10-week summer research internships for rising juniors and seniors. The program aims to improve access to research for underrepresented groups and for first-generation students who are economically disadvantaged. Students apply in February for the following summer. Priority is given to applicants accepted by the Leadership Alliance Summer Research Early Identification Program (SR-EIP). Participants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) provides funding for undergraduate participation in faculty-mentored research projects. Student proposals are due in mid-February of each year for the following summer and academic year. Participants are responsible for identifying a faculty-mentor and working with them to develop a proposal detailing their planned research. To be eligible, students must be full-time with no limit on the total number of grants received but only one grant per term.
The Colorado Space Grant Consortium is an interdisciplinary program funded by NASA with opportunities for first-year through graduate students. All projects are student-managed, constructed, tested and flown. Positions are advertised prior to the beginning of each semester with summer positions advertised in April. Students may participate on a volunteer basis, through a paid position, or for academic credit.
Biological Sciences Initiatives (BSI) Scholars in STEM Undergraduate Research is a funding and professional development program for current CU Boulder undergraduates. Students apply by mid-September for the academic year and apply by mid-March for the summer term. Students who are eligible must be currently enrolled, full-time, degree-seeking undergraduate students. They must be working with a faculty mentor at CU Boulder or CU Anschutz.
There are also opportunities for students to work in research labs on campus in hourly roles paid through the faculty member's grant funding, which may be supplemented by the university's Work-Study program for students with demonstrated financial need.
Students interested in earning academic credit for their research in place of financial support can submit a proposal for an Independent Study. Independent Studies completed under the mentorship of a faculty member rostered in the Paul M. Rady Department of Mechanical Engineering are considered ME Technical Electives.