First approach a faulty member who is doing research that you find interesting. Each faculty member has a web page which outlines their research interests, usually housed on their school’s main website. Most faculty will be glad to discuss undergraduate projects in their area. For more information, see our page here.
Every faculty member does research in his or her field of specialty. There are also over 100 interdisciplinary research centers that do research in teams, spanning across traditional majors. You can find a list of all research units at Georgia Tech here.
Yes, but this is ultimately up to each faculty research mentor. They may require that you have certain skills or course work before starting research so that you will be safe and successful in your research endeavor. Freshmen are allowed to do undergraduate research, but many wait until later in their academic careers.
Once you and your faculty research mentor have agreed upon a project, you may choose to do the research for either course credit or pay, and this should be discussed with your research mentor. Typically, students start out doing research for course credit and then work up to paid positions.
Each school or department has special courses for undergraduate research with variable credit hours. There are courses that denote research for credit or research for pay. Each credit hour equates to approximately three hours of research per week during a semester. Registration for these courses are by permit only. The school that the faculty member resides in will give you the "electronic permit" you need to register for this course. See your academic advisor for school-specific details or go here for general information on registering for research courses.
Most schools/majors allow the undergraduate research course hours for credit (2699, 4699) to be counted as either technical or free electives toward your degree. Only one or two of the majors have no free elective hours due to the large number of classes required for their degree. See your academic advisor or the undergraduate website of your school/major for more information.
There are several ways to secure funding. The faculty member can pay you out of their research funding, if available. Georgia Tech has a set of audit, non-billable (free) undergraduate research assistantship courses (2698, 4698) that students should register for when pursuing research for pay. You may also apply for funding through the President’s Undergraduate Research Award (PURA) program or apply to other "funding agencies" on campus. Some departments have their own scholarship programs, as well as full-time research programs for undergraduates in the summer.
Your classwork should always come first, therefore be sure you have the time and motivation needed to do a good job on your research project. Students do research part-time in the fall and spring semesters. In the summer, you can do research full-time or part-time. This should be discussed with your faculty research mentor prior to registration.
The process of creating new knowledge in your field can be very exciting, but it may not happen all in one semester. The length of your research project should be discussed with your faculty research mentor. Commonly, many faculty want more than a one-semester commitment from their undergraduate researchers, and many students do undergraduate research for one to two years or more.
Undergraduate research is a great way to investigate possible career paths and to see whether you want to consider doing graduate work later on. It is also a good way to get to know a professor who is an expert in your major outside the classroom. It’s the perfect on-campus job!
The Research Option provides undergraduate students a substantial, in-depth research experience. To learn more about the Research Option, please see our webpage here.
Most research opportunities on campus are for currently enrolled Georgia Tech undergraduate students. A few opportunities for non-Georgia Tech students who are U.S. citizens are available through the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) sites at Georgia Tech. See the research opportunities page here for more information. The Georgia Tech Research Institute also has a few summer opportunities for undergraduate researchers, and you can visit their website for more information. Most schools on campus do not host international students on research internships during the summer.
To learn more about obtaining credit for external research opportunities, please see our webpage here.
Any course (including research) in which a student receives a grade counts toward the total number of hours allowed under the Hope Scholarship funding. Students receiving academic credit for research courses (2699, 4699) should plan to count the hours toward their maximum Hope hours. The free, audit research assistantship courses (2698, 4698) do not count toward Hope Scholarship hours.