Research Opportunities

Student conducting research and experiments

Individual Research at Columbia University

Columbia advanced undergraduates may participate in faculty research during the academic year and over the summer. In recent years, undergraduates have been involved in such diverse projects as:

  • building an x-ray detector for a joint Russian-U.S. space observatory,
  • searching for evidence of the quark-gluon plasma transition in nuclear matter,
  • probing the behavior of atoms and molecules on femtosecond timescales using powerful lasers,
  • constructing detector elements for some of the world's forefront high-energy particle experiments,
  • carrying our theoretical studies of phase transitions in statistical systems, 
  • analyzing data from a project to map the Milky Way using the world's largest radio telescopes,

and many other projects. Interested Columbia undergraduates should contact faculty members directly to explore research opportunities.

We are pleased to announce a relatively new scholars program, the Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership Program, that is open to current first years in the College and provides funding to them for six weeks in the summers preceding and succeeding the sophomore year to conduct research. Despite the pandemic, the program ran this past summer with students engaged in remote research and will again be supported by Laidlaw.

If you are currently working on a research project and would be interested in having an undergraduate researcher contribute, please e-mail Ariella Lang at [email protected]. If you are interested in having more than one student participate in a particular project, that is also a welcome possibility that she would be delighted to discuss. The program also welcomes  collaborations from faculty who might be interested in mentoring a student who is working on an independent project in their field. In all of these scenarios, we will identify students whose research interests make them good candidates for such a collaboration; the final decision of whether you would like to work with and supervise them is yours. In acknowledgement and appreciation of the time and work that such relationships represent, the program will provide a modest honorarium ($500/student).

For a list of faculty with undergraduate research mentoring please click here.

For a list of faculty who are available for one-on-one mentoring please click here.