You don’t have to wait to be a grad student to do research in AeroAstro — we have a range of real research opportunities in which you can work, sometimes as soon as your freshman year. Under MIT's Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, you can work with faculty as a junior colleague in every phase of their research: developing plans, writing proposals, conducting research, analyzing data, and presenting research results. You may find yourself working on a project sponsored by the FAA, NASA, or a private aerospace company. UROPs are a great way to explore aerospace research, prepare for graduate school and future careers, connect with faculty, and apply classroom learning to real-world research.
UROP projects take place throughout MIT during the academic year and over the summer. Projects may last for an entire semester; some continue for a year or more. UROP students receive academic credit, pay, or are volunteers.
A UROP may not be pursued for both pay and credit within a term; it's either pay or credit. Special students, students on leave from MIT, and students who have completed their degree program (unless they stay registered to finish a double major) are not eligible for UROPs.
If you're interested in particular research areas, you should:
- visit our list of current Undergraduate Research Opportunities openings
- read our UROP supervisor listings to learn about faculty research interests
- contact the supervisors directly to see if they have a UROP opportunity available
- watch for emails from the AeroAstro Undergraduate Office about UROP openings in the department
- see Institute-wide UROP openings advertised on the UROP site
Students who have general UROP questions or concerns may contact either Professor Leia Stirling, faculty UROP coordinator; or Ms. Marie Stuppard, undergraduate programs administrator and UROP coordinator.
To obtain a paid UROP, students must submit a proposal for direct UROP or research-sponsored funding by the Institute's UROP deadline. During the fall and spring terms, most students typically work 12 hours per week and as many as 40 hours per week during IAP and the summer. MIT has an established hourly rate for UROP pay, however, at the discretion of a UROP supervisor and the department, students whose stipend is covered through research funds may earn a higher rate. Students are expected to keep track of their worked hours and submit electronic time sheets on a weekly basis. Students paid through direct UROP funds need to print their weekly time sheets for approval by their direct supervisor and bring a copy to the Course 16 payroll coordinator, Ms. Carol Niemi, Room 33-208. If a student decides not to pursue a UROP after it has been approved, it is advisable that he/she immediately notify the research supervisor, the UROP Office, and student financial administrator, Ms. Carol Niemi.
Credit UROPs can be done during the academic year and over the summer, but few students enroll in credit UROPs in the summer because of tuition charges.
To do a UROP for credit, students submit a proposal by the Institute's UROP deadline and register in WebSIS for 16.UR (Pass/Fail) by Drop Date. An AeroAstro student doing a UROP for credit outside of the department registers for a UROP number in that department (e.g., 2.URG, 6.UR, 8.UR). The number of units a student earns is equal to the number of weekly hours devoted to the project. At the end of each term, AeroAstro UROP supervisors submit, along with a grade, an evaluation of the student’s performance on their project. Credit hours may be adjusted at that time if the supervisor deems that the student has worked fewer or more weekly hours on the project.