Undergraduates may participate in engineering research at UCSD through a number of informal and formal mechanisms. Many students first become familiar with research by participating 5-10 hours per week during the academic year or 10-20 hours per week in the summer on a volunteer basis. Other students are involved in research through the more formal programs described below.
Independent Study for Undergraduates. MAE 199 courses offer qualified and motivated students the opportunity to work closely with faculty and graduate students and gain first hand experience in conducting research. MAE students may take MAE 199, Independent Study for Undergraduates, under the guidance of an MAE faculty member. Typically, this course is taken as an elective on a P/NP basis. Under the following restrictive conditions, however, it may be used to satisfy upper-division technical elective course requirements for the major:
• The students must be in the major and have a GPA or 3.0 or better at the beginning of the MAE 199 project.
• The project must cover two consecutive quarters of work and the performance must be equivalent to A or B work, as determined by the 199 project advisor and the Undergraduate Affairs Committee. If the performance is not of A or B quality after the first quarter, the advisor can cancel the "contract" and the student may not attempt additional MAE 199 units.
• The student must declare his intention to seek technical elective credit by filing with the department a special studies form (each quarter) and an MAE 199 Contract (first quarter). These forms must be completed, approved, and processed by the beginning of the quarter in which the course is to be taken. Please keep in mind that the Registrars Office does not recognize enrollment in a 199 until they receive the approved Special Studies form for each quarter of the 199.)
The initial "contract" should be in the form of a brief single page proposal outlining the proposed research objectives; the course background the student has had or will be taking as preparation to accomplish the research, and the student's current GPA. The student, his/her MAE 199 advisor and the department chairperson must sign the contract. At the end of the first quarter, a progress report must be submitted to the advisor. The advisor may cancel the contract for less than B performance, assigning a grade of P or NP, as appropriate. These units will not count toward technical elective credits. At the end of the second quarter, the advisor will assign an internal letter grade based on the final written report and discussions with the student during the previous quarter. If the grade is less than B, a grade of P or NP, as appropriate will be reported for the second quarter and no technical elective credit will be given. Otherwise, the final report must be submitted to the Undergraduate Affairs Committee at the end of the second quarter to determine what technical elective credit the student will receive. It is the students’ responsibility to make sure that his/her 199 advisor gets the report turned in on time to the Undergraduate Affairs Committee. Late reports may be denied. It should be noted that MAE 199 may not replace ABET approved courses.
*NOTE: MAE 199 can only be used for technical elective credit for Mechanical Engineering and Environmental Engineering majors; Aerospace Engineering majors do not qualify.