Search within:

Physics & Astronomy Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Undergraduate student Jared Ray works with graduate student Sushil Dhakal in the Edwards Accelerator Lab.
Undergraduate student Jared Ray works with graduate student Sushil Dhakal in the Edwards Accelerator Lab.

The Physics & Astronomy Department has a strong commitment to both graduate and undergraduate research. Thanks to federal funding of faculty, the department is able to offer up to 20 research projects per year for interested undergraduate students.

More than 75 percent of the department's graduating students have done research internships with faculty during their time at Ohio University. Most research projects take place during the summer, but there may also be opportunities to continue research during the academic year. The typical stipend for summer research is $3,000.

How to Find a Research Opportunity in Physics & Astronomy

  • Begin by with checking out individual faculty research areas to identify the kind of research that you might like to do.
  • Discuss your interest in research with the Internships Coordinator, Dr. David Tees, who can give feedback on your interests and suggest faculty to contact.
  • Contact the faculty member you are interested in working with and meet with him or her to discuss opportunities and projects.

This last part can be intimidating, but you should know that faculty will not be surprised by a request to meet to talk about undergraduate research. Virtually every faculty member in the department has supervised an undergraduate at some point, and most supervise one or more undergraduate projects year after year.

Benefits of Doing Research as an Undergraduate

  • Projects give you hands-on experience with research equipment and analysis techniques.
  • You will need to read up on your subject area, which will deepen your knowledge of a field of research.
  • You will interact with your faculty mentor and with her or his graduate students; this will also expose you to wider perspectives.
  • It is helpful for finding a topic area that you might want to work on for Ph.D. (or that you *don't* want to work on for Ph.D.).
  • You also have the opportunity to impress a faculty member with your ability, which is useful when looking for letters of recommendation for graduate school and employment.

NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates

A few students every year take part in National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs at universities across the United States. There are also other national and international research opportunity programs.

These positions are competitive, and application dates vary. Most have deadlines between December and March. Having some experience with undergraduate research at Ohio University can be a competitive advantage. The Society of Physics Students posts notices about some programs on its bulletin board outside Clippinger 254, but many more can be found by searching the web.