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Undergrad Research/Thesis

Undergraduate Research
Undergraduate Thesis

Undergraduate Research

Most students benefit greatly from becoming involved in research projects and participating in the Department's research activities. AME students may do research for either course credit or as a paid research aide. Please note: students can not receive credit and be paid for the same research position.

Finding a research advisor
To find suitable supervisors and research topics, students should talk to their instructors and academic advisors to find out about on-going research in the Department. 

Students can explore the departmental website and the faculty websites for more detailed information on their research. Individual faculty members should be contacted directly to see if they have openings for undergraduate research aides.

Research as a paid position
The supervising faculty member will determine if the research can be done as a paid position. Once this decision is made, the student should come the Department office and complete the necessary employment paperwork with Ms. Evelyn Addington.

Research for Credit
AME 48491 is the variable credit course, Undergraduate Research. AME students can use 6 credits of non-classroom courses to fullfill degree requirements in both the Aerospace and Mechanical degree programs.

The permission of the faculty supervising the research is required to register for AME 48491. To register for the course a student should:

  • Go to the AME Department office and pick up an Undergraduate Research quest form.
  • Complete the form and have the supervising faculty member sign the form indicating he will work with this student.
  • Return the form to the Department office.
  • The office staff will then enter the approval code for the on-line registration system(should be done within 2 working days) and send the student a confirming email.
  • The student then needs to go into insideND and add the research class to his/her schedule(Note: student must enter the number of credit hours taking when registering).

Undergraduate Research Conference
Unless opted out by their advisor, students receiving academic credit for undergraduate research must participate in the annual University Undergraduate Scholars Conference organized by the Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement. Participation is required even if the research was completed in the fall semester or summer session preceding the conference.

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    Undergraduate Thesis

    There are two undergraduate thesis programs in the Department.

    Honors Thesis Program: This is for students who are in the College of Engineering Honors Program. They must follow the rules of the program laid down by the College which include a thesis requirement; the procedure for the thesis is described below.

    Undergraduate Thesis Program: This requires written permission from the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Any undergraduate in the AE or ME program is eligible to write a thesis though it is recommended that only those having strong academic backgrounds should consider this program. Successful completion will be recognized by the words “Graduation with Senior Thesis” on the student's transcript and on the Commencement Exercises announcement.

    Procedure for thesis in both programs
    A thesis and the work leading up to it must be supervised by an AME faculty member who will be the thesis advisor. The work may have been done over several semesters or years including summers. The thesis advisor will make sure that the quality of the work done and that of the written thesis are acceptable at the level of an undergraduate degree.

    The steps to be taken during the semester in which the thesis is submitted and defended are listed below. Each step must be completed before the next. The last dates for each action during this semester are also indicated in parenthesis. The necessary forms for approvals and signatures are available from the AME Department Office and should be submitted to the Administrative Assistant responsible for the undergraduate program.

    1. Approval of a request to participate must be obtained from the Director of Undergraduate Studies (by the end of the 2nd week of the semester). This request must be in writing, and must include the endorsement of the thesis advisor.
    2. he student must complete a "Change of Major" form that can be obtained in the department office. This form allows the student to formally add the thesis to their degree program so that it is recognized by the Registrar's Office at the University Level.
    3. An examining committee should be chosen by the student (by mid-semester break). The examining committee consists of three members: the thesis advisor and two other AME faculty of the student's choice. The student will acquire signatures on the committee selection form from all members of the committee indicating that they agree to read the thesis and participate in the defense examination.
    4. The completed thesis should be handed to the advisor (at least 5 weeks before last day of class). The advisor will read the thesis and suggest any changes needed. The student will make these changes, if any, and get the advisor's approval to proceed to the next step.
    5. The advisor-approved thesis should be handed to each member of the examining committee (at least 3 weeks before last day of class). The student will provide them with complete, printed copies. The committee members can discuss the thesis with the student before the defense examination if they wish to.
    6. The thesis should be defended before the committee in an oral examination (at least 2 weeks before last day of class). The student will schedule a time for an examination that is convenient for all participants, and inform the Departmental Administrative Assistant so that a location can be reserved. One of the faculty, who is not the thesis advisor, will serve as the Chair for this examination. The defense examination will consist of a 30 min (approximate) public presentation followed by questions from the public, and will conclude with a closed-door question-and-answer session with the committee. The defense examination will be at least 90 mins long at the end of which the committee members will vote. A majority vote is needed to approve the thesis. Approval may be unconditional or conditional; the latter implies that suggested changes must be incorporated in the final version of the thesis. Rejection means that the thesis is not accepted by the Department.
    7. The final version of the thesis should be submitted to the Department (by the last day of class). The thesis advisor must make sure that any changes required by the examining committee during the defense examination have been made. The student will send a pdf version of the thesis to the Departmental Administrative Assistant for AME records, and with this all requirements for a thesis will be satisfied.

    Guidelines for thesis
    The thesis should be the product of the student's individual and original work. The written document should be produced entirely on a computer and compiled as a single pdf document. The format recommended by the Graduate School

    for M.S. and Ph.D. students may be followed if desired. A title page (including title of thesis, name of student, and name of advisor), abstract, table of contents, and list of references should be included. The length of the document should be commensurate with its contents, and long computer programs should not be part of the document.

    AME Senior Thesis Recipients:

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