Three great reasons to do research as an undergraduate
Many undergraduate engineers at Rice are involved in research. Nearly two thirds of our students have had a research experience by the time they graduate; forty percent of those have done research for credit and forty percent have undertaken research as an extracurricular activity. A significant number of students have done both.
Undergraduates do research work on teams with faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers. They often get paid for their work. And there are many opportunities for research internships as summer jobs.
How easy is it to get involved in research? Because most of our classes are taught by faculty rather than graduate students, undergraduates get to know their professors better, and vice versa. Classes are small and faculty can learn about students' strengths and interests, and students can learn about faculty research. Sometimes the faculty member will ask the student to join his or her research team, and often the student will ask to join the team.
Research activities will sometimes take you out of the lab. Undergraduates frequently travel to national conferences focused on their areas of research. Often faculty members or graduate students will be presenting papers cowritten by the research team members at these conferences. This means as an undergraduate, you can be coauthor of published papers. And we've had undergraduate students who have presented papers at national conferences.
That's an experience you can't get everywhere!