Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)

Update: November 2020
The Physics Department is currently working to improve and streamline our departmental UROP-seeking procedure. Our hope is to create more UROPs within the Department and to also make them more visible to our students. We will be periodically updating this webpage with more information. Physics students can also expect to be emailed about these listings as they pertain to future terms.

The Physics Department participates in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) by providing positions for undergraduates with our faculty and in our research labs. General information about the UROP program including funding opportunities, application deadlines, guidelines, and other resources can be found at http://web.mit.edu/urop/.

Physics Undergraduate Student Prashanth Venkataram models a new class of material: the photonic crystal.


To apply for a UROP, complete the following steps:

Finding a UROP

There are many ways you can find UROPs, as listed on the UROP website. Here are some of the most common ways:

  • Search for openings on the main UROP website or find listings posted weekly in our Physics Student Newsletter;
  • Seek out and connect with physics faculty members or researchers working on projects that interest you and ask if the researcher would be willing to supervise you in a UROP. The UROP website has lots of helpful tips on how to approach faculty!

Writing a Physics UROP Proposal

Once you choose a UROP and find a supervisor, you will need to write a UROP proposal.

Your proposal should address three major issues:

  • how the proposed UROP fits into the overall research picture in your physics area of interest;
  • how your specific project fits into the group’s research program;
  • how you plan to implement your project, including a description of what you hope to accomplish.

Tips for Writing a UROP Proposal

  • Expect the audience reading the proposal to have some knowledge of science, but not a detailed knowledge of the subfield. This means that specific terms such as Ising model, SO galaxy, or optical molasses should be explained the first time they’re used, along with their significance.
  • A concise proposal can accomplish its purpose within a single page, with generally one paragraph devoted to each of the goals listed above.
  • If this is a first-time project, the UROP Coordinator will know that not all aspects of the project will be able to be explained in detail.
  • If this is a continuation of a previous UROP, the UROP Coordinator will want to know how this project builds on what the student has accomplished previously.

Once the UROP application is received, it will be reviewed by Physics UROP Coordinator Prof. Joe Checkelsky.