Undergraduate Opportunities

Students walking on campus between classes

Undergraduate Research

The Department of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science supports students participating in undergraduate research, as it is a unique and rewarding opportunity. Research is a collaborative effort between you and the research group; by participating in research you are helping to advance science and directly applying what you learn in the classroom.

Research is beneficial for all students - for students seeking experience to apply to industry and for students who want to continue their education in graduate school.

In CEMS, the expectation is that undergraduate students begin their research experience as a volunteer in the lab, or by getting academic credit. If, after working with the group for a period, you may revisit seeking a stipend. Do not expect a stipend immediately.

You may also seek a research grant through UROP, Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. This program is through the Office of Undergraduate Education - look through the website and be very aware of the deadlines for the program.

How can you get started in research in CEMS?

  • Review some of the research that faculty are doing and the requirements for undergraduate students in their lab.
  • Send individual emails to the faculty - do not send a blanket email to various faculty! Make the emails specific, and indicate why the research interests you.
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Study Abroad

Students who are interested in exploring other cultures may be able to arrange up to one year of study in a university in another country. Additionally, students may choose global seminar experiences during semester breaks. Many courses taken in a university abroad can be transferred for credits, especially towards liberal education requirements. Students who are interested in studying abroad are encouraged to consult with the Learning Abroad office (230 Heller Hall; 612-626-9000). CSE Students may also work with the CSE International Programs Team. Students are also encouraged to work with the Director of Undergraduate Studies as early as your freshman year.
Note: It may be easiest to study abroad in the sophomore year or after the core courses for your program are complete. A four-year graduation may be forfeited depending on the length of the abroad experience.

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Student Organizations

The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and Materials Advantage have student chapters on campus. Prof. Dauenhauer is the faculty advisor for AIChE and Prof. Poerschke is the faculty adviser for Materials Advantage.

The AIChE is the primary professional organization for chemical engineers, and Materials Advantage is the primary professional organization for materials science engineers.

The student chapters sponsor informational, educational, and social meetings, which include visits from corporate representatives and recruiters.

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Career Services

Excellent industrial or research experience can be gained without interfering with your studies through the many summer internship positions announced and posted at the CSE Career Services office (105 Lind; (612) 624-4090) and by checking this website, over the course of the year. Interviewing for industrial summer positions is generally conducted at the CSE Career Services Office well in advance of the summer – often in the preceding fall. Be sure to sign up early!

CSE Career Services also provides information on co-op opportunities for undergraduate students. The Department supports and encourages these opportunities for students to gain valuable industry experience. Students are encouraged to work with the Department Academic Advisor to discuss the timing for these experiences. 

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