Independent Work & Thesis

Independent projects enable students to build on and transcend classroom learning while contributing real solutions to societal problems. Year-long senior independent projects may constitute a senior thesis, and students are strongly encouraged to consider this option. Such self-motivated work has frequently led to publications and design patents. All students are required to do at least one semester of independent work

In their independent work, students often collaborate closely with faculty members and their graduate students who study the same problem.  The program facilitates bringing together as many scientific and nonscientific elements as necessary to pursue a topic; consequently, students may draw on faculty advisors from any relevant engineering or science department.  This opportunity is often cited by students as the highlight of their four-year experience at Princeton.

A high number of independent work students collect nationally recognized awards and honors, including fellowships and scholarships such as Marshall Scholarships, Rhodes Scholarships, and Churchill Scholarships as well as winning competitions with their independent work.

The independent project provides the opportunity to address real-world issues beyond academia through the development of a solution or improvement to society. Furthermore, this opportunity encourages learning how to present ideas to the public. This is an essential element of a technical education and is central to taking concepts further than the academic laboratory and having them recognized as useful.

Read the Independent Work Guide to learn more.

Technical Help

The following MAE staff members are available to provide any technical assistance you my require with Independent Work projects. Do not hesitate to contact them for help. 

Manufacturing, Machine Shop Fabrication of Parts  
Glenn Northey   
Office: Machine Shop   
Phone: 8-4758

Electronic and Technical Support Laboratories  
Mike Vocaturo   
Office: J209   
Phone: 8-5236  

Jonathan Prevost   
Office: C131   
Phone: 8-2726  

Machine Shop Assc/Machinist  
Al Gaillard   
Office: Equad Lab   
Name: Machine Shop   
Phone: (609) 258-0140