Undergraduate involvement in research is an established pedagogical strategy which can play a significant role in achieving success in your physics training and ulterior development of a career, since active participation provides confidence in the more foundational parts of the physical science curricula, and open up your eyes to practical application of the knowledge obtained in your major. It provides an early exposure to research and develops critical-thinking and problem solving skills. As compared to large classes, it offers greater student involvement and engagement, resulting in a greater level of knowledge acquisition. Undergraduate research done at any stage is valuable, but students get more advanced opportunities to apply what they learned if they participate in research during their final years.

We strongly encourage all of our Physics Majors to get involved in research within the Physics department or abroad (or both). There are several opportunities at UCF which would facilitate your involvement. Here we list a few of them, but you should go to your favorite professor and ask about how you can get involved in research. Do not wait to be in your senior year, you can start as early as you wish!

Departmental Opportunities


Dr. Ellen H. Kang:

A current focus of the lab is to understand how complex intracellular as well as extracellular environments alter actin biophysics and mechanobiology at the nanoscale. Our research integrates multi-disciplinary approaches including molecular biophysics, protein biochemistry, polymer physics, and nanobiology.

Expected commitment: 10 hours per week.

Expected qualifications: basic knowledge or skills in molecular biology and/or biochemistry preferred but not required; self-motivation and persistence; good communication skills.

In addition, students are encouraged (and welcome) to visit Dr. Kang’s group on the website:



Dr. Yasuyuki Nakajima:

Our research is focused on the exploration and characterization of novel quantum materials. Specifically, we grow single crystals of such materials, and investigate their transport and thermodynamic properties at very low temperatures.

Expected time commitment per week: ~ 10 h Expected qualifications: Basic knowledge of E&M and the periodic table.


Dr. Bo Chen:

Research topic: apply solid state NMR, transmission electron microscopy and other structural biology technique to characterize protein assemblies of interesting biological and medical importance.

Time commitment: 2 days per week for undergrad, full time for graduate.

Qualification: Self-driven, motivated, and diligent.


AO Opportunities:

Dr. Selvaraj Dharmalingam:

Variability of Greenhouse gases in the Middle and Upper Atmosphere:

This study examines the long-term variability (in terms of trend ) of greenhouse gases to assess the effect of climate changeon the Middle and Upper Atmosphere.

Students can download the satellite datasets (CO2, CH4, etc.,) for this purpose and analyze them for long-term variability.


Variability of the plasmas in the ionosphere:

This study examines the spatial and temporal variability of the plasma parameters to assess the effect of extreme solar weather conditions on the earth’s ionosphere.

Students can download the satellite and ground-based datasets for this purpose and analyze them for spatial and temporal variability before/during/after the extreme solar weather conditions.


Dr. Sukanta Sau:

Research Topic: Analysis of Ebert-Fastie spectrometer data acquired from Arecibo observatory to estimate kinetic temperature of the upper atmosphere.

Expected time commitment: around 8-10 hours per week

Expected qualification: Basic knowledge of vibrational-rotational spectra of diatomic molecules. Knowledge of any computing software such as Matlab or Python is a plus.


Physical Science Capstone Research Course

We are actively working in the creation of a new elective 3-credit summer capstone course which will provide a one-of-a-kind multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary research experience to facilitate transition into the profession for physical science undergraduates (physics and Chemistry), connecting your with extramural partners, including the Physics and Chemistry Departments of the Florida Consortium of Metropolitan Research Universities, national laboratories and local industry, to perform research or internship collaborations away from their home department. Check the Capstone Research webpage for more information.


REU and URI Opportunities

NSF REU Supplements: The NSF provides Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) supplemental funding for researchers with current research awards. If you are interested in collaborating with a faculty member in the department, ask him/her for an opportunity and mention this possibility to them. It is not difficult to obtain.

NSF REU sites: There are many sites funded by NSF where you can spend a summer doing research. We had one in Physics a while back. This is a very rewarding experience. We encourage all of you to look for the possibility to join one of these sites at any stage during your major at UCF. The NSF has a page where you can search for a REU site. Navigate through those sites and see if you want to apply. You can search by research area or state. Do not hesitate. This is your chance!

See other links below:

CAMP-YES: The UCF offers some funding that may help you to get involved with research, or perhaps do an internship in local industry. They provide a $5,000 stipend if you get selected. They have many openings. You should be eligible, though, and for this you need to fulfill some requirements. They offer three paths (entrepreneurship, internship, and research). Check them out in the CAMP-YES page.

Some internal scholarship opportunities:
List of other internships: