Opportunities for cutting-edge research
What students learn outside the classroom is just as important as what they learn within it. Undergraduates have several opportunities to engage in cutting-edge research in areas such as machine learning, laser design and information security, as well as pursue self-motivated projects of one's own interest.
Students can enroll in independent study for research or engineering design projects as early as the sophomore year. Independent study projects are often extremely challenging on both a personal and an academic level. At the same time, these projects provide valuable educational experiences to prepare students for life after Princeton.
Students may suggest their own topics for independent study or work on a project in a faculty member’s research laboratory.
The department maintains a list of available opportunities as a guide to just a few of the possibilities. For up-to-date information, speak with the Undergraduate Program Coordinator or a faculty member to discuss these opportunities further. Funding is available from both the School of Engineering and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering to support independent study. In addition, the Department has a funded program that supports student attendance at an appropriate domestic conference or workshop to present research results or for professional development.
Your junior year centers around designing and building systems and culminates in a demonstration of your work in our famous Car Lab (ECE 302), where small teams of students create autonomous vehicles that carry out specialized tasks defined by the team. For many, this is one of the highlights of their academic program.
In your senior year, you develop an independent project that applies your knowledge and skills to a real problem over the course of the full year. This is known as the senior thesis (fall ELE 497and spring ELE 498) and is completed with the guidance of a faculty adviser. Some students choose to work on projects related to the field of their adviser's research lab, while other students devise a self-directed project of research. Either way, undergraduates work closely with a world-renowned engineer to address a societal problem of your choosing.
The senior thesis is required for the electrical and computer engineering major. Senior theses are eligible for nomination for appropriate School and University awards and many have led to final results being published in engineering or scientific professional journals. Funding is available from both the School of Engineering and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering to support senior thesis research.