Undergraduate Research

In the College of Engineering, our faculty and students are conducting innovative research in seven interdisciplinary areas including:

  • Advanced materials and manufacturing
  • Biomedical engineering and healthcare environments
  • Energy materials and energy systems
  • Engineering in agriculture, life sciences, and natural resources
  • National defense and security
  • Transportation and the built environment
  • Engineering education research

You can be a part of this cutting edge research starting as soon as your first year in engineering. Participate at any point in your undergraduate career and year round (fall, spring, and summer semester). There are many opportunities to engage in undergraduate research in the college and at UNL or nationally, either at another institution or at a national lab.

College Opportunities

Tips for connecting with a research lab:

Identify interest areas

  • What general topics within your major are the most exciting to you?
  • Which topics in your course have you liked the most?
  • What courses do you plan to take within the next year?
  • What problems would you like to solve?
  • What are your long-term career goals?
  • What have other students researched?
  • Talk with your graduate TAs about their research
  • Review faculty College profiles and department research websites

Identify Professors whose research aligns with your interests

  • Visit your current or past Professor’s office hours and discuss research interests and possible opportunities with them or a colleague
  • Visit faculty College profiles, research lab websites, and department research websites

Contact Professors about joining their research lab

  • Send a brief, professional email expressing interest in their research and attach your resume.
  • Send a follow-up email or visit office hours if you have not received a reply in an expected amount of time.
  • Visit your current or past Professors’ office hours and discuss research interests and possible opportunities.
  • Review position postings

University Opportunities

In conjunction with other universities offices, additional opportunities to engage with undergraduate research in Engineering include UCARE, McNair Scholars Program, FYRE and Honors Program (research credit or honors thesis). These opportunities come with a scholarship or stipend, regional and national networking opportunities, and guided professional development.

National Opportunities

You can gain additional research experience as a summer researcher at another university or a national laboratory. These paid opportunities have many benefits including exposure to different research projects, broadening your network of faculty mentors and peer researchers, and preparation for graduate school.


There are many benefits to participating in undergraduate research. Including:

  • Hands-on research experience
  • Gain both graduate student and faculty mentors
  • Use state of the art research tools
  • Apply the scientific method and lessons learned in the classroom
  • Ask and find answers to your own research questions
  • Expose yourself to a graduate school experience
  • Present findings at regional or national conferences