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Undergraduate Research Program


The MAE Undergraduate Research Program is a structured program which gives students the ability to pursue a multi-semester (nominally two to four semesters) undergraduate research project one-on-one with a faculty advisor.  This individual research experience leads to the completion of an Undergraduate Research Thesis. If a student's GPA is above a 3.4, completing the thesis allows for graduation with “Honors Research Distinction in Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering”. If the student's GPA is above a 3.0 but less than 3.4, completing the thesis allows for graduation with “Research Distinction in Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering”.


Requirements of the program:

  • GPA of 3.0 to participate in the undergraduate research program and a 3.4 or above to participate in the honors undergraduate research program
  • Select an advisor and a project in full collaboration with the faculty advisor (see details below)
  • The research project spans a minimum two semesters
  • Submit a short project proposal to the College of Engineering. This occurs formally three times a year, and is due on the sixth Friday of autumn and spring semesters or the second Friday of summer semester.
  • The proposal submission is the formal entrance into the program. It also automatically enters the student into a competition for research scholarships from by the College of Engineering (typically ranging between one quarter to full senior year tuition in value).
  • Enroll in six hours of MECHENG/AEROENG 4999H (for the honors undergraduate research program) or MECHENG/AEROENG 4999 (for the non-honors program). This provides a mechanism to ensure that the research experience is academically recognized as a letter-graded ‘course’.  This enrollment in MECHENG/AEROENG 4999H or MECHENG/AEROENG 4999 is for a total of six credit hours (no more, no less) distributed over the length of the project.
  • The six credit hours (three credit hours for AAE) of MECHENG/AEROENG 4999 or MECHENG/AEROENG 4999H required for the research program count towards fulfilling technical elective requirements.
  • Enroll in any graduate level MECHENG/AEROENG class (check with advisor) or above in the discipline of interest to graduate with honors research distinction
  • Defend undergraduate thesis at least five Fridays before commencement in front of a committee of at least two faculty members, including advisor
  • Write an undergraduate thesis and upload it electronically to the Knowledge Bank at least four Fridays before commencement

For more specific information about this program for mechanical engineering majors, please click here.

For more specific information about this program for aerospace engineering majors, please click here.

Practical steps for participating

  • Examine the proposed project list posted below and make a pre-selection of potential projects and area of interest. This list of projects is not exhaustive. If a student is interested in a particular research area or working with a particular professor, he/she may suggest a different project. Note that students may work with any Ohio State faculty member who is allowed to advise graduate students. Also note that some of the projects below involve non-departmental faculty involved in multidisciplinary research and that have active collaboration with department faculty members.
  • Based on this preliminary pre-selection, students should make contact with various faculty members about potential projects
  • After working with a faculty advisor to gather information and select a specific topic for undergraduate research, students must develop a short research proposal which is to be submitted electronically to the College of Engineering. Students will be given significant background, assistance and feedback in writing the proposal by the advisors and his or her research team. Sample proposals are linked below.

This last step is mandatory and represents the “official” entry into the undergraduate research program. 

Keep in mind the following facts:

  • It is extremely rare for someone to get turned down if requirements are met
  • Advisors should submit a letter of recommendation to the College of Engineering acknowledging the student's participation in the program
  • Submit proposal electronically to the College of Engineering by the deadline (check with advisor)


If any questions concerning the logistics, contact the department honors coordinator, Rob Siston, at