The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) cultivates and supports research partnerships between MIT undergraduates and faculty. One of the earliest programs of its kind in the United States, MIT’s UROP invites undergraduates to participate in research as the junior colleagues of Institute faculty. The late Margaret L. A. MacVicar, Professor of Physical Science and Dean for Undergraduate Education, created MIT’s UROP in 1969, inspired by Edwin H. Land. Land, the inventor of instant photography, believed in the power of learning by doing.
UROP offers the chance to work on cutting edge research—whether you join established research projects or pursue your own ideas. As UROPers, undergraduates participate in each phase of standard research activity: developing research plans, writing proposals, conducting research, analyzing data and presenting research results in oral and written form.
MIT students use their UROP experiences to become familiar with the faculty, learn about potential majors, and investigate areas of interest. UROPers gain practical skills and knowledge they eventually apply to careers after graduation or as graduate students. Most importantly, they become involved in exciting research!
UROP projects take place during the academic year, as well as over the summer, and research can be done in any academic department or interdisciplinary laboratory. Projects can last for an entire semester, and many continue for a year or more.
Once you have found the UROP project that is right for you, you need to decide what form of compensation you hope to receive.
UROP Options include:
- Academic credit: UROP credit is general elective credit
- Faculty/Department Funding: If you want to receive pay for your UROP research, discuss funding options with your faculty supervisor. The majority of paid UROPs receive faculty/department funding.
- Direct UROP funding: If you are a MIT or CME student and your faculty supervisor lacks the funds to offer you a paid UROP position, you may request funds directly from UROP.
- Volunteering: an option that generally requires less of a time commitment, which can be a good introduction to UROP for first-time researchers. Consider UROP as a volunteer if you aren't yet sure whether you have the time to commit to UROP.
Be sure to discuss your options with your faculty supervisor, as s/he may have a preference for one mode or another. Then, since UROP is an academic program, you must complete UROP application, so that we can evaluate the content and scope of your planned research. See the Applying for UROPs section for complete details.
Some Things to Consider
- During any given term or summer, you may not receive pay and credit for the same UROP project. Moreover, while it is not uncommon for UROP research to eventually become thesis work, you may not earn UROP pay or credit for your research project during the semester(s) in which you are registered for thesis credit. Any questions regarding thesis credit policies should be directed to the academic department awarding your credit.
- If you participate in a fall or spring UROP for pay or as a volunteer, you are eligible to receive transcript recognition (URN credit). This notation will be added to your transcript if UROP proposals have been submitted and approved, provided that your faculty supervisor deems the semester's work satisfactory.
If you have questions or concerns about your options, please contact UROP staff in the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming (UAAP) for advice and assistance.
The Benefits of UROP:
- Explore research in any academic department, interdisciplinary lab, or center at MIT.
- Learn more about your major/minor or explore a field you never thought of before.
- Prepare for graduate or medical school and for your future career.
- Connect with faculty, researchers, graduate students, and other undergraduates who share similar academic and career interests.
- Apply what you learn in the classroom to actual research...learn by doing.