Undergraduate Research


Participating in research is a great way for students to take what they have learned in the classroom and apply it to real life problems. Research will also allow students to explore specific areas of physics including: biophysics, nanoscience and materials physics, cosmology, particle and astrophysics. 

Students may conduct research at any point during their academic career, provided they meet individual research group standards. Follow the steps below to get started. 

Step 1: Determine what area you would like to work in

The Department of Physics has four main research areas:

  • Biophysics and Biological Physics - Studies the underlying principles involved in the machinery of living things from the molecular to the cellular level as we search for unifying themes both within and between organisms. Our research is conducted in a multi-disciplinary environment at the interface of physics, biology, chemistry, engineering, computational sciences and nanoscience.
  • Cosmology, Particle and Astrophysics - As leaders in this area, we are researching particle physics universe to present day observables, and to understand the transition from linear physics to the non-linear regime during the formation of structures through observational techniques.
  • Nanoscience and Materials Physics - At the nanometer length scale, materials and structures behave differently, which offers exciting opportunities for scientific discoveries and technological advances. We use the tools of physics to create, probe, and understand new materials and atomic-size structures that will enable future technological breakthroughs.
  • Physics and Society - Physics interacts with society in many important ways. Within the university, the physics department teaches many undergraduate classes to help prepare future engineers and other scientists for their future careers. 

Alternatively, you may seek research opportunities within related units:

Step 2: Explore faculty directory

Faculty by research area:

Faculty by initiative:

Step 3: Start the conversation

After you have found your area of interest send an email to corresponding faculty to set-up a meeting or utilize our Undergraduate Research Openings button above. Get helpful tips on sites like WebGuru to prepare yourself for meeting with potential research advisors.

When communicating with faculty, please remember to include the following:

  1. Your name
  2. Current Year (Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior)
  3. Skills (C++, Python, Excel, etc...)
  4. The last math and physics course(s) you have taken, or include an unofficial transcript

Be mindful of the structure of your email, always include a greeting (Hello Dr/Professor X) and closing (Sincerely, John Doe). 

Students who would like to obtain credit for conducting research have the following options:

PHY 495 Project Research - For students who are obtaining a bachelors in physics or biophysics and conducting research with a professor within the Department of Physics.  

PHY 499 Individualized Instruction - Geared toward students who would like a curriculum tailored to their interests. Students who take PHY 499 may be assigned topic specific readings or relevant program applications. 

Steps to enroll in PHY 495 or PHY 499
  1. Secure a faculty advisor that will asign you research projects (PHY 495) or independent study (PHY 499)
  2. Discuss with your faculty advisor how many hours you will be working each week. The credit requirements listed below are based on a Fall/Spring 15 week semester.
    1. 1 credit = 4 hours/week 
    2. 2 credits = 8 hours/week 
    3. 3 credits = 12 hours/week 
  3. With your faculty advisor create learning goals and end project expectations.
  4. Complete the Undergraduate Research/Individualized Study Reporting Form 

The National Science Foundation provides funding for various research opportunities for undergraduates through its Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Sites program. Host institutions will provide students the opportunity to engage in active research. Participating in a REU project is a great way to not only gain research experience, but also learn what type of research is being conducted outside of ASU. Additionally, they afford students the opportunity to build lasting connections. 

Stipends, housing and travel arrangements may be provided to participants. Those participating in an NSF funded REU must be U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, or permanent residents of the United States. 

Physics and related REU sites:

PhysicsEngineering Materials Computer and Information Science and Engineering Chemistry 

Arizona State University Department of Physics REU 

The Beckstein Lab offers a ten-week REU research program in computational biophysics for a highly motivated undergraduate student. The student will implement new algorithms for the analysis of biomolecular simulations in MDAnalysis and the new parallel MDAnalysis pmda Python library. Students will receive a $5000 stipend plus an allowance for travel, on-campus housing and a meal plan for this ten-week program. The desired starting date is June 2, 2019 and end date is August 10, 2019. This full time research experience includes work in the lab with a faculty and PhD student mentor at Arizona State University. 

Forwarded REU Opportunities:


The 18th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium will be held virtually, April 9, 2021, at 2:00 pm.

We're going virtual! The Department of Physics is excited to hold the Research Symposium as a virtual event for the first time! This is an occasion for current students to share their work while gaining valuable conference and presentation experience. We invite all current physics majors to share their research and experience with Faculty, Alumni Friends, and Family! Visit the official event page to register as a presenter, or as a guest to reserve your seat at the live event, which will stream via Zoom.

VIRTUAL Symposium Event



8-minute Slide & Audio Presentation
Please submit a recorded copy of your presentation - with narration and slides - in video format. You may use any presentation software, such as PowerPoint and Google Slides. Using a webcam to record your own image is optional. Your presentation can discuss the purpose of your study, background information, and data, research questions, methodology, findings, conclusions, and recommendations or next steps. 


Please submit a brief biography to introduce yourself to the Symposium judges and attendees, and include a high-resolution photo.