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Graduate research guide

Master’s students can complete research as part of the project based or thesis based degree options. Students who wish to pursue the project-based or thesis options are responsible for contacting faculty members about the availability of suitable project opportunities or research topics.

Please be aware that this process may be very competitive. This guide is intended to help you find and contact faculty who you are interested in working with in the ME department.

Learning about faculty research

Find out more about the work of the ME department before contacting a faculty member. Researching faculty publications may also be helpful to gain a better understanding of their current research.

Contacting faculty for research projects

After learning about a faculty's work, prepare to contact them via email. Your email should have an informative subject line and be concise while still demonstrating that you are interested in the lab you are contacting. Faculty receive many inquiries from interested students. It is important to take the time to craft your materials to show that you have taken the time to learn more about a faculty's work.

  1. Write a short (1-2 paragraph) cover letter explaining why you are interested in the work going on in a professor’s lab, and what experience and skills you will bring to the project. 
  2. Attach a resume with more details about your educational and professional background. 
  3. Let faculty know whether you are interested in a project or a thesis, and how many hours you plan to spend on the research each week. 

If you’re interested in more information on current work in a professor’s lab, you can ask to speak to a current graduate student or postdoc who works in the lab. 

Some faculty will not have projects available when you contact them. They may choose to respond to your inquiry and say that their lab is full, or they might not have time to write an individual email to each student that wants to work with them. It is best to not send more than one follow up email if you do not hear back from a faculty who you contacted. There are many faculty in the ME department and in the UW College of Engineering who are actively doing innovative research! Announcements for open research opportunities will occasionally be disseminated via the megradnews email list.