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Honors and Undergraduate Research

We highly encourage our undergraduate students to become involved in research opportunities on campus. Many of our students are involved in a variety of research projects with our faculty members in the department, as well as developing their own research topics. The College of Engineering and Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geodetic Engineering offer a unique opportunity for students interested in completing research to incorporate the experience into their curriculum requirements.   

Why research?

As an undergraduate, research exposes you to a very different side of engineering, one where you work to solve open-ended problems that no one knows the answers to yet, and in some cases where understanding and defining the problem is the primary goal of the research. Research also gives you the opportunity to work closely with faculty and more advanced students to get more exposure to the next step in your career in engineering.

What would I be doing?

The research opportunities for undergraduate Civil and Environmental Engineering students are diverse and challenging. Under the direction of a faculty member, students work on a research problem that may involve laboratory work, computer programming, data analysis, and literature searching. Research projects prepare students for future graduate studies and/or the corporate world in ways some regular curricula alone cannot achieve.

How do I find a research project?

Ask the professor teaching your favorite class if there are any research opportunities on the class’s topic. You can also browse the "research" tab for topics that are interesting to you and contact those faculty to set up appointments to discuss possible research projects. If you have multiple topics/classes that interest you, but don’t know which faculty to contact, you can make an appointment with a CEGE advisor to discuss possible options. Please do not mass email faculty.

What are the benefits?

Participation in undergraduate research benefits students educationally, professionally, and personally. Benefits include:

  • Working closely with a faculty mentor
  • Sharpening problem-solving skills and applying concepts learned in coursework to real life problems
  • Exploring and preparing for future careers
  • Developing marketable skills
  • Enhancing professional communication skills

Get Involved

CEGE students who are interested in being involved in an undergraduate research project can do so in a few easy steps:

  • Students should be in good academic standing.
  • Students should explore the various research areas CEG faculty members are involved in, chose an area of interest, and identify a particular professor as a potential research advisor.
  • Think about how much time per week that you have to complete research.
  • Contact the professor(s) directly and inquire about the available research opportunities, including the possibilities of joining an on-going research project, or perhaps even starting a new one. Indicate an area of research that you would like to work on. This will give the faculty member a better idea of what projects you may be available for.
  • Keep your email short and to the point. Include: your name, .#, your interest in discussing possible research opportunities, and days/times you are available to meet.

Graduation with Distinction (Honors/Senior Thesis)

There are currently two options for students who wish to ‘graduate with distinction’ in Civil or Environmental Engineering.   

  • Honors Research Distinction Option is available to students with Honors status within the College of Engineering, an overall CPHR of 3.4 or above at the time of proposal submission and at the time of graduation.
  • Research Distinction Option is available to students with an overall CPHR of 3.0 or above and who maintain a CPHR of 3.0 or above at the time of proposal submission and at the time of graduation.

Please see the College of Engineering Graduation with Distinction site for information on how to apply to the Honor Thesis program or a CEGE Undergraduate Academic Advisor. 

There are also several opportunities for students to become involved in undergraduate research with the department, college and university.  Students can participate in the following research activities in combination with a ‘Distinction’ project or independently.

Honors and Scholars Research

The Honors & Scholars Research, presented by the University Honors & Scholars Center, guides you through the process of pursuing research within your discipline. You can explore the expansive research opportunities at Ohio State and create a plan for identifying a faculty advisor, defining your project, writing a research proposal, and presenting your results. A valuable resource for all undergraduates, and especially worthwhile for students interested in pursuing an Honors Thesis! 

Engineering Undergraduate Research Forum

The College of Engineering hosts the Undergraduate Research Forum each Spring Semester and is open to all engineering students involved in research, regardless of whether you are just starting to establish your project or preparing the final draft of your Honors Thesis. Faculty members and graduate students act as the judging panel, with the focus on providing constructive feedback to guide your project toward a successful, professional conclusion.

Denman Undergraduate Research Forum

In addition to the College of Engineering Undergraduate Research Forum, you can present your research projects at the Richard J. and Martha D. Denman Undergraduate Research Forum. Held each Spring Term, this University-wide forum welcomes student participants from a range of disciplines and ranks at Ohio State. Faculty judges provide feedback on your project and participants compete for top prizes.