We take pride in our undergraduate research program. The University of Delaware has a nationally recognized Undergraduate Research Program that has served as a model for numerous other colleges and universities throughout the U.S. Research experiences range from 10-week full-time summer projects on campus to off-site internships. Undergraduates may also work on research projects during the academic year for pay or credit.
Undergraduate research is an integral part of UD’s academic culture. We can provide you with general information as well as guidance on how to identify and approach a faculty mentor with whom you might like to work. For more information about all our programs, please explore this page or contact us if you are interested in getting involved.
Undergraduate Research Spotlight
Environmental Engineering recent grad, Mary Kegelman, shares her experience at UD and writing a senior thesis.
Are you interested in an independent research or creative project? Does the idea of exploring a question or issue for which there is no fixed answer appeal to you? Would you like to complete a project that you can share with prospective employers and/ or graduate programs to which you apply?
If so, writing a Senior Thesis is for you!
Senior Thesis FAQs
What is a Senior Thesis?
A senior thesis is a paper which highly-motivated senior undergraduates may write to present the results of a major, independent research or creative project. Unlike most term projects, papers, and lab reports written in undergraduate courses, a senior thesis addresses questions or issues for which no known or generally accepted answers exist.
What is involved in writing a senior thesis?
- Research, write, and defend a thesis.
- Enroll in UNIV 401 & 402 (for specific course info, see handbook)
- Present at the Undergraduate Research Symposium (optional)
To learn more about how to apply to this program, as well as what goes into being a part of the Senior Thesis Program, please refer to the Senior Thesis Handbook or contact the URP office to set up an advisement appointment.
When is the deadline to apply?
Students graduating in the spring need to apply by May 15th of their junior year. Students graduating in the fall or winter need to apply by November 15th of their junior year.
Do I have to be an Honors student to write a Senior Thesis?
No, you do not have to be in the Honors Program to do a Senior Thesis. The Department also has a set of funds for students who write a senior thesis.
What do I need to do to get started?
- Find a thesis director. (Oral confirmation from them is fine. Make sure this is a faculty member you know, and have had classes with.)
- Register for UNIV 401 — register for section 000 if you’re non-honors, section 080 if you’re honors.
- When registering for UNIV 401, be sure to choose your thesis director as your faculty instructor. If you don’t see them on the list, email Lauren Barsky, and she will add them.
- If you’re taking a course that conflicts with UNIV 401, register for the other course first. Then email Lauren Barsky telling her which section of 401 you want to take, the number of credits, and the name of your thesis director. Then Dr. Barsky will give you an override for UNIV 401.
- Find a second reader. (Again, oral confirmation is fine. If you’re not sure whom to ask, see if your thesis director can suggest someone.)
- Draft your senior thesis proposal, and email it to your director and second reader for their sign-off. Consult the Senior Thesis Handbook or the Thesis Application System for more information about what to include in your proposal.
- Once you revise your proposal to your director and second reader’s liking, upload it to the senior thesis system.
- Please read over the Senior Thesis Handbook. It’s not the most exciting read, but it will help explain many things that you might have questions about.
- Make an appointment with Dr. Barsky (email@example.com) or Adam Grimes (firstname.lastname@example.org). We need you fill out some paperwork, and ask about your course load for your senior year. The Honors Program will also need you to fill out a form for your Honors Degree with Distinction; the deadline for that form is also May 15.
Chair’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Fellowships are competitive awards that provide undergraduate students with the opportunity to enhance their education by participating in directed research. The fellowships help students develop solid analytical skills and strong research techniques to pursue graduate school and careers in research fields or academia.
With support from the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) programs give talented undergraduates a chance to see and take part in research happening on the front lines of discovery.
DWRC internships provide a unique opportunity for undergraduate students, faculty, and scientists to be directly involved in research and education that address the critical water resources issues in Delaware and the Mid-Atlantic region.
From research internships and fellowships to environmental career workshops and outreach opportunities in the community, DENIN offers students the chance to conduct research, make a difference, and get involved.
The Summer Scholars Program enables selected undergraduates to conduct in-depth research or creative work with University faculty. Students in the Summer Scholars Program work on their projects full-time for ten weeks in the summer.
The Summer Fellows program is ideal for those who wish to undertake a smaller scale project, who have been working on projects during the academic year and would like to continue research in the summer, or who wish to begin projects that will continue during next academic year.
Students can register for an independent study course for credit where they work with a faculty member to delve into a particular research project or undertake an in-depth study of a particular area of civil, environmental or construction engineering.
The Co-op program provides an educational opportunity that integrates a student’s academic and career interests with paid, productive work experience at cooperating organizations both locally, nationally, and globally.
The Career Center team is here to partner with you in your career planning process and help you achieve your career goals. The Career Center hosts regular internship & job fairs and has resources to connect you with opportunities.
Undergraduate Mary Kegelman shares her experience writing a senior thesis.
UD engineering students travel abroad to understand the complexities of solving international challenges.
UD and Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control collaborate.