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)
    • Assessing the Role of Solar-Powered Microgrids Within the Context of Grid Expansion in Rural India (Larson)
    • 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
    **CHANGES UPDATED** 9/22/2021
    1st progress report 11/19/2021
    2nd progress report 3/1/2022
    Thesis first draft 4/15/2022
    Thesis final draft 4/21/2022
    Poster presentation 4/29/2022
    Oral exams completed 5/5/2022
    Electronic copy of final thesis to Julie Sefa (Mudd) 5/11/2022

    Junior Independent Work (CBE 351 & CBE 352)

    For Fall '20: Limited to a few qualified departmental students. Students must work on a research project remotely. There will be no 'in-lab', on campus research for Junior Independent Work (CBE 351).

    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 News

    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.
    Students step up summer research, with increased support, amid pandemic’s challenges
    For undergraduates in the engineering school, summer often means a chance to apply their learning in new ways, whether conducting field research, working in industry or volunteering abroad. Last summer, with the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting many of these plans, some students’ research projects took them in unexpected directions.