Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate Research

The Nuclear and Radiological Engineering program has students who do undergraduate research each semester.  Undergraduate research is a search or discovery of new information; an adventure into solving real world problems.  Having research experience is critical when applying for graduate and professional schools and is impressive to prospective employers as well.  All students must have a permit to register for research.

Research Class Types

Research is a general term, but includes each of the class types listed below.

  • Special Problems are an individual study in certain specialized areas, including mathematical analyses or experimental investigation of problems of current interest. This can include design projects.  Special problem classes are 4903 and are taken for class credit.
  • Research Assignments are independent research conducted under the guidance of a faculty member.  Research assignments are 4699 for juniors and seniors and 2699 for freshman and sophomores. Research assignments are taken for class credit.
  • Paid Research Assignments are research internships. Students are paid for working on a project. The class will be on your transcript, but no class credit is given for this option and no grade is received for this class.  Students who received PURA awards register for the paid research assignments, 4699. 
  • Presidents’ Undergraduate Research Awards (PURA) are competitive financial awards given to students who are doing research.  PURA either gives students a salary or pays for travel expenses to present research at a conference.  Students must apply for PURA awards.
  • VIP: Vertically Integrated Projects unite undergraduates and faculty research in a team-based context.

Finding Research

In all cases, finding a faculty member to work with is solely the student’s responsibility.

  • The best way for you to find a research position is to talk to the professors on your own. Look through the Woodruff School Research Areas and see which professors are doing research that you may be interested in. You should then contact the professor, send a copy of your resume and ask if he/she is interested in sponsoring you for research.
  • Talk to your current NRE professors to see if they work with undergrads on research.
  • Talk to your NRE faculty advisor.
  • Go to the VIP website for a list of the current VIP projects.
  • Go to Georgia Tech Undergraduate Research to view institute-wide research opportunities.

Registering for Research

  • All courses require a permit to register.
  • If you plan to do research for a faculty member outside of ME or NRE, you need to contact that department for instructions to request a permit.
  • All research assignments must be submitted by 11:59 PM EST on the last Thursday of phase 2 registration (first week of school).  Submissions after this time will not be processed in time and the student will not be able to register for the research class for that particular semester.
  • After the request is processed, students will receive an email with the CRN of the course for which they should register.  It is the student's responsibility to register for the course prior to the close of phase 2 registration.
  • All courses are nominally 3 credit hours.  For the 3 hour class, students are expected to do 9 hours of research each week during fall and spring semesters, and 14 hours each week during summer semester.
    • Classes for alternative credit hours are permitted and must be arranged individually with the professor.
    • Fall and Spring Semesters:  For each hour of class a student must complete 3 hours of research per week.
    • Summer Semester:  For each hour of class a student must complete 4.5 hours of research per week.
  • Each course must culminate in a mutually agreed upon set of deliverables which are to be submitted to the faculty advisor for grading.  These deliverables can be a written report, an oral presentation, a computer program, etc. 
  • All unpaid courses are taken for course credit and are given a letter grade.

How Research Classes are Used in Your Curriculum

  • 2017-2018 Curriculum and Earlier: NRE students can satisfy up to 4 hours of technical elective credit with 4699 and 4903 as long as the class is from the College of Science, College of Engineering or College of Computing.
  • 2018-2019 Curriculum and Later: NRE students can use either a max of 6 credits of VIP (Vertically Integrated Project) courses or a max of 6 credits of research / special problems courses (2699, 4699 & 4903) as free electives.  If doing both types of courses, a total of 9 credits is allowed.