College Programs

Research provides unparalleled, hands-on opportunities to work with thought leaders on finding solutions to the world's pressing problems. It's how to begin building a valuable skillset for graduate school and industry.

These programs in the College offer a support and resource system in place for you to be successful in research.

Illinois Scholars Undergraduate Research (ISUR) Program

ISUR offers a select group of students a two-semester experience with a research learning community.

Through the learning-by-apprenticeship model, you will become familiar with research methodologies, develop your research skills, gain exposure to what graduate school entails, and gain experience needed for graduate school acceptance. As an ISUR scholar, you will also present your research in the annual research expo held in the spring semester.

If you're interested in applying to the program, choose a research group and find a sponsoring professor willing to include you in their research group. The faculty adviser/graduate mentor is expected to review the project proposal and confirm that it is an acceptable research project.


  • A University of Illinois student in an engineering discipline*
  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Minimum cumulative University of Illinois GPA of 2.8

Funding is available for all majors, years, and engineering research areas. However, the majority of funding is focused on:

  • Freshmen, sophomores, and juniors
  • Students majoring in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Material Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Physics
  • Students participating in research projects related to the following areas: semiconductor and information technology

Women and under-represented minorities are especially encouraged to apply.

Recruitment Period

Spring Semester

How to Apply to ISUR

“I think the most valuable part of my experience was being able to work with graduate students and faculty to gain a better understanding of what it would be like to pursue a graduate degree.  Also exposure to complicated problems that don't have answers is exciting.”
– Jonathan, Electrical Engineering

Mentoring Undergraduates in Science and Engineering (MUSE) Program

Piloted in Fall 2015, the MUSE program was designed to foster mentoring relationships. The program aims to network undergraduate students with graduate students and to facilitate mentor-mentee relationships based on a common research interest. Participants define their own goals and the direction of the mentoring relationship. Participants may decide to work on a research project together, provide shadowing opportunities, or guidance in preparing for graduate school.


  • Must be a University of Illinois student
  • Must be enrolled in the College of Engineering

Recruitment Period

Spring Semester

How to Apply to MUSE

Promoting Undergraduate Research in Engineering (PURE) Program

PURE is a student organization-led, interdisciplinary research program in the College of Engineering aimed at pairing freshman and sophomore undergraduate students with research mentors. The goal of the program is to encourage underclassmen to explore research at an early stage in their academic career. Each pair will decide on a project to work on throughout the semester. If you participate in the PURE program, you may register for research credit.


  • Open to all engineering majors
  • Must be a University of Illinois student
  • Must have four semesters or less in a major program in the College of Engineering

Recruitment Period

Spring & Fall Semesters

How to Apply to PURE

“I appreciated that it exposed me to research as I wouldn't have received the same level of exposure through my own efforts.”
– George, Aerospace Engineering