Undergraduate students can conduct intensive, hands-on research for academic credit by taking independent study courses. Independent study can qualify you for Graduation with Departmental Distinction.
With some planning, these courses can be a part of several of our signature research programs described below.
Independent Study + Research Programs
There are several programs within Pratt that give undergrads research opportunities while earning credit. Each program offers distinct opportunity
- Pratt Undergraduate Research Fellows - Three semesters of independent study, plus summer research.
- Grand Challenge Scholars Program - Flexible curriculum focused on a societal grand challenge. Includes research, courses outside of engineering, and training/experience in entrepreneurship, and both a global and service learning component.
- Duke Smart Home Fellows - One or more semester of independent study focused on smart technology and/or sustainable living.
Independent Study + You Pick the Faculty
If you decide not to pursue one of the research programs above--or just want more flexibility for your independent study--explore the research interests of Pratt's engineering faculty. With the right match of interests, you can work with faculty from any department--not just faculty from your department/major.
- The Pratt Experts List - This list of research areas gives you corresponding faculty information.
- Biomedical Engineering Faculty - Listing of BME faculty, including those with appointments in the Duke School of Medicine
- Civil and Environmental Engineering Faculty - Listing of CEE faculty, including those with joint appointments with the Nicholas School for the Environment and Earth Sciences
- Electrical and Computer Engineering Faculty - Listing of ECE faculty
- Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science Faculty - Listing of MEMS faculty
Or you can look at campus-wide research, internship or job opportunities. DukeList includes listings of on-campus research (paid and unpaid) and leadership opportunities for students, as well as on-campus jobs.
Apply for Independent Study
In order to enroll in an independent study students should work with their self-identified faculty supervisor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies, preferably before the end of registration for the subsequent semester.
MEMS Independent Study Courses
ME 394(172)/493(173)/494(174). Engineering Undergraduate Fellows Projects. Intensive research project in Mechanical Engineering by students selected as Engineering Undergraduate Fellows. Consent required. Instructor: Staff. One course.
For Sophomores: EGR Independent Study Courses.
For Juniors: ME 391(187)/392(188). Undergraduate Projects in Mechanical Engineering. Individual projects arranged in consultation with a faculty member. Open to students who show special aptitude for research and design. Taught in the Fall. Consent of director of undergraduate studies. Instructor: Staff. Variable credit.
For Seniors: ME 491(197)/492(198). Special Projects in Mechanical Engineering. Individual projects arranged in consultation with a faculty member. Open only to seniors enrolled in the graduation with distinction program or showing special aptitude for research. Half course to two courses. To be taught in the Fall. Prerequisites: B average and consent of the director of undergraduate studies. Instructor: Staff. Variable credit.