CSE 491 Undergraduate Research (1-4 credits)

Catalog description:

Research problems in computer science, software engineering, or systems analysis, chosen in consultation with a faculty advisor. Requires a public presentation of completed work. For grade only.


Permission of instructor, subject to approval of department chair.

Research Proposal:

Students must develop a written research proposal before being accepted into this course. The proposal should be 2-5 pages that includes the topic, research objectives, proposed research methodology, resources required (such as computing resources), credit hours, and grading policy. Developed in consultation with a faculty advisor.


To improve research experience by providing an opportunity to conduct research in an area of computer science, software engineering, or systems analysis, under the guidance of a faculty advisor.

Course Outcomes

  1. The student demonstrates an understanding of the contexts that define an open-ended research problem through analysis of existing approaches for solving the problem and the subsequent identification of requirements for a viable solution
    • The student can formulate a succinct definition of a research problem domain, including defining the problem boundaries
    • The student can produce a survey of related research and perform a thorough literature search
  2. The student can apply critical thinking skills on an open-ended research problem to analyze alternative solutions and select an optimal solution while addressing multiple criteria (such as technical, environmental, economic or societal issues)
    • The student describes, in detail, multiple approaches to solving the problem
    • The student explicitly states multiple criteria for evaluating proposed solutions, and can synthesize and evaluate alternatives to select an appropriate solution
  3. Understanding contexts and critical thinking leads to reflection and informed action. The student can design an informed solution to an open-ended research problem based on reflection
    • The student produces a high-quality artifact that addresses the problem. (Acceptable artifacts could be functioning software systems, mathematical analyses/proofs, research papers, or other products appropriate to the course topic.)
    • The student demonstrates the ability to follow standard development or research methodologies, including developing and testing models, or using contemporary software engineering principles, as appropriate
  4. The student can effectively evaluate their solution to an open-ended research problem to determine if their solution solves the problem. This should include, as appropriate, performing experiments, case study evaluations, user studies, or producing proofs
  5. The student can demonstrate written and oral communication skills necessary to describe results to both technical and non-technical audiences
    • The student can prepare and deliver an effective presentation or paper describing the work performed
    • The student can prepare and deliver various written engineering reports as for use by the client, other researchers, or the faculty mentor. Students should demonstrate an awareness of the needs of the target audience
    • The student can write and submit a technical paper on their work to the CSE Student Research Journal, or to another appropriate professional venue