USC Undergraduate Research Associates Program

Current Grant Period

Summer 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017


USC is one of only eighty-eight Research I (RU/VH) universities among the 3,500 institutions of higher education in the United States. Undergraduate education at a research university offers special opportunities to students that are not available in other academic institutions. The ability to integrate research activities with professional and liberal education provides USC with a distinctive model of undergraduate education that sets us apart from other institutions.

The basic idea of learning as inquiry is the same as the idea of research. Even though advanced research generally occurs at the graduate level, undergraduates can also learn by performing research. In the sciences and social sciences, undergraduates can become junior members of the research teams that now engage professors and graduate students. In the humanities, undergraduates should have the opportunity to work with primary materials, perhaps linked to their professor’s research projects. As undergraduates advance through a program, their learning experiences should become closer and closer to the activity of the graduate student. By the senior year, the able undergraduate should be ready for research of the same character and roughly the same complexity as the first-year graduate student. The research university needs to make that zone of transition from senior to graduate student easy to enter and easy to cross. For those students who do not continue on to graduate school, the ability to identify, analyze, and resolve problems will prove invaluable in professional life and in citizenship. (Boyer Commission Report, 1998)

Providing support for collaborative research between undergraduate students and faculty members is best accomplished through approaches that blur the distinction between research and teaching. Such approaches should maximize faculty participation and enhance the learning experience of students.

The Undergraduate Research Associates Program is administered by the USC Office of Undergraduate Programs. The goal of this program is to provide resources that enable faculty to integrate undergraduates into their scholarly and professional activities.

Faculty engaged in research with undergraduate students are invited to submit proposals to the Office of Undergraduate Programs for additional funding by Tuesday, February 16, 2016. The funding period covered by this Call for Proposals is July 2016 through June 2017. Student stipends will be disbursed by the Office of Undergraduate Programs, and all stipends must be paid by the end of the Spring 2017 semester. Students are encouraged to apply for multiple sources of funding (e.g. URAP, SOAR, SURF) but can only receive funding from one source in a given term.