Undergraduate Education

USC Undergraduate Research Associates Program (URAP) - Guidelines

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Guidelines

Proposals are solicited from USC faculty in all disciplines to support undergraduate students as members of faculty research teams. Proposals may be submitted by individual faculty members or by groups. Limited funding may also be available as matching funds for departmental undergraduate research initiatives.

Projects may be proposed for individual students or for student teams. Within specific proposals, members of a faculty group may choose to work individually with students and share responsibility for the group components of the project (see below). Special consideration will be given to proposals that supplement existing external grants in order to support undergraduate researchers.

Funding is not provided for students registered in directed research courses, for graduate research assistants, or for projects in which undergraduate researchers will be supervised exclusively by graduate students.

  • Students will be paid in the form of research stipends, which are regarded as merit-based financial aid. The standard stipend for an academic semester is $1,500, assuming an average of eight to ten hours of student research per week. The standard summer stipend is $3,000, assuming an average of at least twenty hours of student research per week for at least eight weeks. Awards per proposal are limited to a maximum of $10,000 (limited to $3000 per student per academic year). Please note that students hired as undergraduate researchers in this program cannot simultaneously receive additional funding from the Rose Hills Foundation Fellowship, USC Provost's Research Fellowship, Student Opportunities for Academic Research program (SOAR) or Summer Undergraduate Research Fund (SURF).
  • The period covered by the current Call for Proposals is May 2014 through April 2015. Student stipends will be disbursed by the Office of Undergraduate Programs, and all stipends must be paid by the end of the Spring 2015 semester.
  • In addition to students' individual involvement in research activities, projects should generally include some regular integrative or group activity. Examples of such activities are research seminars, colloquia, and participation in regional or national conferences. As part of their research experience, students are expected to receive training in ethical issues (e.g., human subjects training where appropriate) and in relevant forms of information retrieval and scholarly communication.
  • Each undergraduate research project should culminate with an appropriate report of the completed work (for example, a formal research paper, poster presentation, or similar demonstration of scholarly or creative accomplishments). All examples of student work should be submitted to the Office of Undergraduate Programs before the end of the Spring 2015 semester. Failure to submit a research report will result in ineligibility for future funding.

Funding Criteria

A faculty panel will review proposals and funding decisions will be made on the basis of the following criteria:

  1. The quality of the proposed research project.
  2. The level of educational benefit to the undergraduate research assistants.
  3. Proposing faculty's previous experience working with undergraduates, particularly in a research and/or collaborative environment.
  4. The extent to which the project involves collaboration among faculty, particularly across academic units and/or disciplines.

Proposals that are project-based extensions of existing courses are not likely to be funded.

At least 90% of the project budget must be devoted to student research stipends.

At most 10% of the budget may be for materials and supplies.

USC Undergraduate Programs