How can I get involved with undergraduate research?

Date Updated

Undergraduate research can provide important and meaningful experiences for students in fields that include those in science and engineering. Research internships present opportunities for undergraduates to gain an exposure to research and consider whether they are interested in research careers and graduate school.

Following are examples of programs that allow undergraduate students with disabilities to become involved in research:

  • The Institute for Accessible Science at Purdue University offers a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program for undergraduate students with physical disabilities who are interested in biomedical science careers.
  • The Cebe Group at Tufts University offers research internships for deaf and hard of hearing students in polymer physics that include both classroom learning and lab work.
  • The REU for Increasing Diversity at Duke University offers research internships in engineering fields, with an emphasis on including groups that are underrepresented in engineering, including students with disabilities. Research fields include biomedical engineering, electrical and computer engineering, civil and environmental engineering, and mechanical engineering and materials science.
  • The Summer Chemistry and Biochemistry REU at James Madison University includes students who are deaf or hard of hearing in their summer program.
  • Students who are deaf or hard of hearing are strongly encouraged to apply to the REU Summer Program for Microbiology to study prokaryotic biology at the University of Georgia. 
  • The Summer Program for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing at the Kresge Hearing Research Institute at the University of Michigan is a summer experience in biomedical sciences and computing.
  • The Quality of Life Center at the University of Pittsburgh offers an REU Program focusing on rehabilitation engineering and assistive technology fields. They encourage students with disabilities to apply.
  • The Neuro-Engineering Summer Research Program at the New Jersey Institute of Technology encourages applications from undergraduates in all engineering fields. A major thrust of this REU site is the inclusion of students with disabilities.
  • The Center for Information Centric Engineering at Oklahoma State University offers an REU and encourages students with physical disabilities to apply.
  • The University of Connecticut offers a program called Research Experience in Cyber and Civil Infrastructure Security for Students with ADHD: Fostering Innovation.
  • The Center for Emergent Materials at Ohio State University REU focuses on fundamental and applied science of exotic and novel materials and next-generation electronics. Students with disabilities are encouraged to apply. 
  • The Summer Engineering Research Experiences in Transportation Electrification program at the University of Maryland encourages engineering students from underrepresented groups, including students with disabilities, to apply.
  • The Science and Engineering Leadership Initiative REU at the University of Delaware is designed to support the advancement of students with disabilities who are interested in careers in chemistry, biochemistry, or aligned fields. 
  • DREU (Distributed Research Experiences for Undergraduates) aims to increase the number of women and students from underrepresented groups, including students with disabilities, entering graduate studies in computer science and engineering by matching each student with a faculty mentor for summer research experiences at the mentor's home institution.
  • There are many National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored sites for research experiences for undergraduates. These sites typically include five or more undergraduates working on the same research topic. You can search for a site at NSF REU Sites.
  • Subject to funding availability, AccessSTEM and AccessComputing fund research internships for students with disabilities.