Undergraduate Research

The Computer Science Department regularly hires undergraduate students to work in areas of active research. The work done by undergraduates is actual cutting-edge research, not merely clerical duties or errand-running. Students get to work closely with faculty members who are at the top of their fields. As a culmination of their research, undergraduates may write and publish academic papers.  

Students have written theses, participated in capstone projects, and written academic papers

Getting Started

1. Finding a Professor

The first step to finding a research project is identifying a faculty member whose research interests align with your interests. The best start is checking out research opportunities for up to date requirements and research areas. You can also contact the Meta Undergraduate Research Assistants if you have a research interest in mind that is not currently listed on the page or you want to find out more about specific groups.

2. Finding Opportunities

Once you have identified a few faculty members whose work interests you, you should see if they have availability and what their application process is like. Research opportunities has that information for many faculty members, but if you are seeking faculty members not listed note that faculty announce available opportunities at regularly scheduled departmental town meetings and undergraduate recruiting meetings. Also, feel free to inquire with them directly by email or by going to office hours. You can also reach out to the MURAs about the best way to approach specific faculty members. Another way to find opportunities is by taking a graduate semester with the faculty member that interests you.

3. Utilizing Resources and Funding

Undergraduates can be paid as research assistants (RAs) from research grants managed by individual faculty members. In addition, Brown's UTRA program and the National Science Foundation's REU program provide dedicated funding for undergraduate research. Alternatively, undergraduates can earn academic credit for research work by enrolling in individual or group independent study projects. For further information, see the links below.

Because of the deadlines for applying to the UTRA program, you will need to have most of the details resolved well in advance. Usually, that means that you need to have interacted with the prospective faculty supervisor for the project several times, and written and revised a concrete proposal for the project you'll work on. You should expect to spend at least 2 weeks on a successful proposal.

4. Getting Noticed

Reach out to the MURAs about getting published in academic journals outside of Brown and at forums within Brown. Also, check out the annual research symposium for the chance at prizes and to meet industry sponsors.