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Research Opportunities

One of the advantages of attending the University of Michigan, one of the world’s largest research universities, is the many opportunities to participate in forefront scientific exploration.  The faculty of the Physics Department has a long tradition of engaging undergraduate students in their research programs. Working with faculty, post-docs, and graduate students on real-world problems is an important supplement to classroom education. Students are strongly encouraged to get involved early in their undergraduate tenure and take full advantage of research offerings from both the Department and the University. Here are some suggested ways to participate:

Enrolling in an Independent Study Course

PHYSICS 415: Independent Study: This course emphasizes experimental or theoretical research under the supervision of a faculty member. Generally a small facet of a large research undertaking is investigated in detail.

PHYSICS 496/497: Senior Thesis I/II: Students get introductory experience and research work with faculty, the results of which could provide the basis for a senior thesis project. Students who do not complete their thesis research in PHYSICS 496, may continue to PHYSICS 497.

Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Summer Program

The National Science Foundation funds a large number of research opportunities for undergraduate students through its REU Sites program. An REU Site consists of a group of ten or so undergraduates who work in the research programs of the host institution. Each student is associated with a specific research project, where he/she works closely with the faculty and other researchers. Students are granted stipends and, in many cases, assistance with housing and travel. Undergraduate students supported with NSF funds must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States or its possessions. An REU Site may be at either a US or foreign location.

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP)

This program is designed for first and second year undergraduate students who are seeking a first time research experience. Student research assistants work alongside a faculty member, research scientist or professional practitioner on an ongoing or new research project.

Summer Research within the Department

The Physics Department offers a summer research program for undergraduate majors. The participating students are matched with faculty mentors with whom they will work over the course of the summer months. The positions are funded and the number of positions varies from year to year. The Student Services Office sends out an application shortly before the end of the Winter semester. If you have questions, please email