Research Opportunities

More than 60 percent of Duke Engineering undergraduates participate in research experiences with a Duke faculty member

Research Fellowships

These programs offer undergrads research opportunities while earning credit:

Pratt Research Fellows

Three semesters of independent undergraduate engineering study, plus summer research.

NAE Grand Challenge Scholars

Focused investigation on a selected Grand Challenge—including courses outside of engineering, entrepreneurship opportunities, and both global- and service-learning.

Bass Connections

Interdisciplinary university research teams—usually two semesters; some have a summer session.


Through independent study, a student works with a faculty supervisor to focus on special topics of a student's choosing. 

Independent study research projects are an integral and immensely popular component of undergraduate engineering education at Duke.

Independent study can be done by self-guided readings, developing and/or running computer simulations, and/or laboratory experiments.

Also, students participating in the NAE Grand Challenges Scholar Program and/or contributing to the Duke Smart Home may obtain independent study credits for their work if their project is supervised by faculty.

Advantages of Independent Study

  • Independent study course work can be used to satisfy requirements toward Graduation with Departmental Distinction (GwDD)
  • The best research projects may be eligible for departmental awards
  • Excellent preparation for graduate study

How to Get Started

Students are encouraged to approach faculty members to discuss research opportunities. For ideas on whom to approach, explore the research interests across Duke Engineering's faculty through the faculty links below.

With the right match of interests, you can work with faculty from any department, including but not limited to the faculty members from your department or major.


Independent Study Courses

Visit the Courses by Department sites listed below to learn more about the independent study courses offered by each department:

Submit an Independent Study Request

1st- and 2nd-Year Students

First-year and second-year engineering students interested in research can enroll in an independent study course, and count the credit as a free elective.

Submit a Request

3rd- and 4th-Year Students

Third-year and fourth-year engineering students interested in research can enroll in an independent study that will count as an advanced elective in their major.



Trinity College Students

Students in the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences who are interested in participating in an engineering research experience can request an independent study.


The deadline for submitting independent study requests is two business days before Drop/Add ends