Research Opportunities

Nearly 70 percent of Duke Engineering undergraduates pursue research experiences with faculty

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 

  1. Students are encouraged to approach faculty members to discuss opportunities. For ideas on whom to approach, look through the faculty links below for professors with interests that match yours
  2. Also, browse the independent study courses available in our academic departments
  3. Then, make a request for independent study

Independent Study Courses

Courses by Department

Independent Study + You Pick the Faculty

If you even want more flexibility for your independent study, explore the research interests across Duke Engineering's faculty. With the right match of interests, you can work with faculty from any department—to just faculty from your department or major.


Request an EGR Independent Study

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.

The deadline for submitting the request is two business days before Drop/Add ends.

Click the button to request an EGR independent study.

Make a Request

Independent Study Contact

Click below to contact Dean Carmen Rawls to inquire about independent study opportunities.