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Undergraduate Research Program


The MAE Undergraduate Research Program is a structured program which gives you the ability of pursuing a multi-semester (nominally 2-4 semesters) undergraduate research project one-on-one with a faculty advisor, very much alike a Graduate student pursuing a Masters degree.  This individual research experience leads to the completion of an Undergraduate Research Thesis. If your GPA is above a 3.4, completing the thesis allows for graduating with “Honors Research Distinction in Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering”. If your GPA is above a 3.0 but less than 3.4, completing the thesis allows for graduating with “Research Distinction in Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering”.


Requirements of the program:

  • You must have a 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
  • You must select an advisor and a project in full collaboration with the faculty advisor (see details below).
  • The research project spans a minimum 2 semesters (3 or 4 typically)
  • You must submit a short proposal to the College of Engineering for your project.  This occurs formally three times a year, and is due on the 6th Friday of Autumn and Spring Semesters or the 3rd Friday of Summer Semester
  • The submission of your proposal formally enters you in the program.  It also automatically enters you into a competition for competitive awards of research scholarships by the College (ranging typically between ¼ to full Senior Year tuition in value).
  • You must enroll in 6 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 your 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 6 credit hours (no more, no less) distributed over the length of your project.
  • The 6 credit hours (3 credit hours for AAE) of MECHENG/AEROENG 4999 or MECHENG/AEROENG 4999H required for the research program count towards fulfilling your Technical Elective requirements.
  • You must enroll in any graduate level MECHENG/AEROENG class (check with advisor) or above in your discipline of interest to graduate with honors research distinction.
  • You must defend your undergraduate thesis at least five Fridays before commencement in front of a committee of at least 2 faculty members, including your advisor.
  • You must 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 on the web and make a pre-selection of potential projects and area of interest.  This list of projects is not exhaustive. If you are interested in a particular research area or working with a particular professor, feel free to inquire on your own and “carve” out your own project. Note that you can work with any faculty member at OSU who is allowed to advise graduate students. Also note that some of the projects below involve non-MAE faculty involved in multidisciplinary research and that have active collaboration with MAE faculty members.
  • Based on this preliminary pre-selection, make contact with various faculty members about projects that you think you might be interested in.
  • Once you have gathered enough information and selected (in partnership with an advisor) a specific topic for your undergraduate research, you must develop a short research proposal which is to be submitted electronically to the College of Engineering.  Do not worry about writing a proposal for your selected topic. You will be given significant background, assistance and feedback in writing the proposal by our advisor and his or her research team.  Also, sample proposals from years past are posted below to serve as examples.

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

Keep in mind the following facts:

  • It is extremely rare for somebody to get turned down provided that you have the minimum GPA, you have selected a project and an advisor.
  • Your advisor has submitted a letter of recommendation to the College of Engineering acknowledging your participation in the program
  • You submit your proposal electronically to the College of Engineering by the deadline (check with advisor).


If any questions concerning the logistics, contact the MAE Honors coordinator, Professor Siston at


Sample Honors proposals from previous years:

The samples listed below should be used to provide a general idea of what is expected in the Honors proposal. Please refer to the Proposal Submission requirements provided by the College of Engineering for the current formatting requirements.

Sample #1
Sample #2
Sample #3
Sample #4