Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate conducts research in core lab

Senior Thesis (CBE 454)

As a senior, you embark on a year-long independent research project designed to demonstrate the skills necessary to think, analyze and write in a coherent and mature way.

The project provides a unique opportunity to work one-on-one with a faculty member on a subject of your choice. This intense and sustained engagement with a problem that has interested and intrigued you will be the most challenging — and the most rewarding — experience you will have in your four years at Princeton.

The Senior Thesis Guide (pdf) provides everything you need to know to plan, carry out and succeed in your project.

Recent projects include:
  • Pattern Formation in Avian Lung Development  (Nelson)
  • Nanoparticle Drug Delivery for Cancer and Drug Resistant TB  (Prud'homme)
  • Investigation of a Novel Lasso Peptide from Enterobacter (Link)
  • Nonlinear Buckling Instability of Fluid Mediated Soft Robotic Rings (Brun)
  • PDMS as a Novel Photobioreactor Material for Algae Biofuels  (Datta)
  • Investigation of the impact of crystal sizes of Metal-Organic Frameworks on their heterogeneous catalytic activity for oxidation reactions  (Sarazen)
Thesis Checklist Date
1st progress report October 27, 2023
2nd progress report February 29, 2024
Thesis first draft (nearly final) April 15, 2024
Thesis final draft April 26, 2024
Poster presentation April 30, 2024
Oral exams completed May 6, 2024
Electronic copy of final thesis to Julie Sefa (Mudd archives) May 8, 2024

Junior Independent Work (CBE 351 & CBE 352)

While CBE students are not required to take on independent research during the junior year, more and more students are electing to do so.

The first step is to identify a faculty mentor and a topic and write a brief proposal outlining a plan for the research. Satisfactory completion of the study includes a written report and may include an oral presentation to peers and faculty members.

Students who take on junior independent work will enroll in CBE 351 for their fall term and CBE 352 for their spring term. Students are required to complete a lab safety course before starting laboratory research. Note that CBE 351 and CBE 352 are considered free electives and do not count towards any requirements.

Students are expected to put in at least 15-20 hours per week on the project and meet regularly with the project adviser.

Research for Sophomores and Juniors

Research opportunities begin to open as soon as the summer before your sophomore year. Intrepid students ask early and often about available positions in a lab or group of investigators.

This work leads to poster sessions, conference presentations and authorships on major papers. If you are interested in research or graduate school, these opportunities offer invaluable insight and experience.

If you are interested, speak with your professors, the Director of Undergraduate Studies or the Undergraduate Administrator about currently available opportunities.

Undergraduate Research Stories

Spurred by her father’s illness, Joanna Georgiou turns a Fulbright into a shot at better drugs

Georgiou, a recent graduate of Princeton CBE, has received a Fulbright award, allowing her to study advanced cancer drugs in a research lab at Seoul National University in South Korea.

From breast cancer to biofuels, undergraduates tackle big problems in a record number of summer fellowships
Sophia Martinez is one of 19 CBE undergraduates to secure University-funded research positions this summer—nearly double the number from last year and a record number for the department. The increase comes as 15 months of pandemic-related public health restrictions give way to normal re-search operations across the campus. For undergraduates, the return presents a critical opportunity to forge their skills.