ECE Research Option


The School of Electrical and Computer Engineering has a strong history of encouraging undergraduate students to participate in research through one-semester projects, a structured two-semester Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP), and longer-term team projects such as the Opportunity Research Scholars Program (ORS) and the Vertically Integrated Projects Program (VIP). The School also offers a more intensive undergraduate research program that leads to the "Research Option in ECE" designation on a student's transcript, in conformance with the plan approved by the Institute in Spring 2005 (see the Institute Research Option site).

A primary goal of the ECE Research Option is to recognize undergraduate students who have participated in a concentrated research effort that results in an undergraduate thesis. One key feature of this program is to have a very open evaluation of a student's research capabilities, viewable by the public via a required web-based research portfolio.

The ECE Research Option both complements and integrates with the School's existing undergraduate research models, which continue to be available to students. To increase flexibility, there are two possible paths, referred to as the Junior Track (4 semesters) and Senior Track (3 semesters) that an ECE student may follow to complete the ECE Research Option. Learn more about these options:

In order to register for any ECE undergraduate research course, students must have the approval of a faculty research advisor. Given the expectations of the Research Thesis Option, students normally will be expected to have at least a 3.30 GPA at the time that the research proposal is submitted; students with a GPA of less than 3.00 must submit a petition (with the endorsement of the faculty research advisor) and be granted an exception by the ECE Associate Chair for Undergraduate Affairs. Students intending to complete the Research Option in ECE should also notify the Institute's Undergraduate Research Office of their intent to participate.

In summary, the ECE Research Option requires students to:

  1. Complete a total of nine credit hours of ECE research (taken from ECE 3951/52, ECE 2698/99, ECE 4698/99). Subject to the constraints below, some or all of these hours may be counted as part of the ECE elective or approved elective hours required for the BSEE or BSCmpE degree.
  2. By the end of the semester in which the first three credit hours of ECE research are being completed and LCC 4701 is being taken, submit a research proposal and have it approved.
  3. During the last semester of research, complete LCC 4702 "Writing an Undergraduate Thesis," including the additional ECE-specific requirements described on the following pages.
  4. Satisfy any additional Institute requirements for the "Research Option" transcript designation.

EE and CmpE students completing the Research Option in ECE may count the coursework towards their degrees as follows:

  • Three hours of ECE elective credit in the form of either ECE 3951+3952, or ECE 4951+4952, or ECE 4699.
  • A maximum of nine credit hours of undergraduate research (3 credit hours as ECE electives and 6 credit hours as approved electives) may be applied towards the degree. (Note that the limit for students not completing the Research Option is six credit hours.)
  • LCC 4701 (1-0-1) and LCC 4702 (1-0-1) may be used for a total of 2 credit hours of approved elective credit. Research Option students must obtain permits for these LCC courses from the Institute Undergraduate Research Office.

Last revised September 22, 2015