Undergraduate Research Scholars Program

Professor Adam Winsler advises recent Psychology graduate Giorgia Picci before her honors poster session at Fairfax Campus.

Purpose

The Undergraduate Research Scholars Program (URSP) is designed to give undergraduates an authentic research, creative, or scholarly experience under the guidance of a mentor. Students may receive financial support and/or academic credit for their projects, in addition to developing relevant academic and professional skills. More information can be found below and in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). We also invite you to learn more about the wide range of current and past projects that students and mentors have worked on with the support of the URSP. 

(Above) Professor Adam Winsler advises recent Psychology graduate Giorgia Picci.

Funded Projects

 

Proposal Writing Workshops

Wonder how to write a successful proposal for URSP?  Curious about the application process? Come to one of these workshops to learn the details.

  • Fall workshops will be scheduled later in the summer.


Funding Options

 
Traditional
Intensive
Student Stipend
$1,000* $4,000*
Materials and/or Supplies
$0* $500*
Mentor Stipend
$500 $500
Total Award Amount
$1,500 $5,000
* Distribution between stipend and supplies may be determined by student/mentor team.


Traditional URSP

  • Available Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters
  • $1500
  • 144 hours
  • Enroll in UNIV 495 (3 credits, meets bimonthly)


Intensive URSP

  • Available Summer semester only
  • $5000
  • 360 hours
  • Attend mandatory development meetings June-August


** Second Application Deadline for Fall 2014 **

July 15, 2014



Application Website


Notes to Applicants

  • Download the Narrative Guidelines for helpful suggestions regarding the student application form.
  • The project narrative should be appropriate to an interdisciplinary audience and primarily authored by the student applicant.
  • The fields of the application are of a fixed size. Applicants are advised to not write more than will clearly fit in a given field.


Application Timeline

             Applying for:    
                  Application Due Date   Notifications    
Fall 2014
July 15, 2014
(second call for proposals)
TBA
Spring 2015
TBA TBA
Summer 2015
TBA TBA
Fall 2015
TBA TBA


How to Apply

  • Go to urspapp.gmu.edu, click Student Login button and log in with your Mason Net ID

  • Step 1: Student Profile: Enter your personal information then click the “Save Profile” button. Students should complete this section EARLY to give their mentor adequate time to complete their portion. Project titles can be changed at a later time.

  • Step 2: Initiate Application:  This short form identifies your project title, project semester and year, and project mentor.  You may enter more than one mentor, if applicable.  When you click “Submit and Email Your Mentor”, your mentor will receive an email inviting them to complete their required portion of the application.  Your mentor MUST complete their portion of the application before the deadline in order for your application to be reviewed.  Please complete this portion of the application EARLY to allow your mentor time to complete his/her statement.

  • Step 3: Complete Application:  Enter your narrative text here for your application.  Please note the character limits will appear in the sections once your start typing.   You can scroll through the text boxes with a bar on the right.  You may write your narrative in a Word processing program first, then paste it into the application.  Click on the green question mark next to each section to view the descriptions listed in the Narrative Guidelines. Click “Submit for Review” to submit your application.


Learn more. Read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below!

 



URSP FAQs



Who is eligible to participate in the URSP?
Any current Mason undergraduate students. All majors and concentrations are welcome.

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I will be graduating in May. Am I eligible to participate in the summer URSP?
Unfortunately, students are not eligible to participate in the URSP once they have graduated from Mason.

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What kinds of projects are supported?
Any undergraduate research, creative, or scholarly project in which the student is contributing to original scholarly work is supported. Click HERE to read about the students and projects that have been funded in the past!

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How do I apply?
Students should meet with their potential faculty or staff mentor before completing their application to outline a reasonable project and ensure the mentor's support of their application and proposed project. 


Student Application includes the following sections.

 

  • TITLE: A descriptive statement of the project.
  • SHORT COVER LETTER: A personal statement to the review committee summarizing the proposed project and your personal goals and expectations. Why are you interested in this project?
  • INTRODUCTION: Explain your scholarly question and provide a rationale for your project. Include a narrative review of appropriate literature with in-text citations. What is your question and why is it significant?
  • PROCESS: Describe your project design and methods. Include a description of materials and equipment necessary to complete the project. What will you do to answer your question?
  • TIMETABLE: Provide a detailed plan for your time during the semester. Although subsequent funding is not guaranteed, you may extend the timeline beyond the semester as needed. How will you schedule your time?
  • EXPECTED OUTCOMES: Describe the anticipated outcomes, products and/or results of your project and its contribution to the scholarly community. What will you produce? How will your results be disseminated in your field?
  • BUDGET: Standard allocation is $1000 for student stipend and $500 for faculty stipend; you may budget funds according the your project needs. How will these funds be spent?
  • BIBLIOGRAPHY: Include complete reference list of works cited and consulted in the style most appropriate to the discipline.


Download the Narrative Guidelines (PDF) for additional suggestions.


Submission

Submit your application via the web described below.  The student applicant is required to insure their project mentor completes the Mentor Application Form before the posted deadline.

  • Go to urspapp.gmu.edu, click Student Login button and log in with your Mason Net ID

  • Step 1: Student Profile: Enter your personal information then click the “Save Profile” button. Students should complete this section EARLY to give their mentor adequate time to complete their portion. Project titles can be changed at a later time.

  • Step 2: Initiate Application:  This short form identifies your project title, project semester and year, and project mentor.  You may enter more than one mentor, if applicable.  When you click “Submit and Email Your Mentor”, your mentor will receive an email inviting them to complete their required portion of the application.  Your mentor MUST complete their portion of the application before the deadline in order for your application to be reviewed.  Please complete this portion of the application EARLY to allow your mentor time to complete his/her statement.

  • Step 3: Complete Application:  Enter your narrative text here for your application.  Please note the character limits will appear in the sections once your start typing.   You can scroll through the text boxes with a bar on the right.  You may write your narrative in a Word processing program first, then paste it into the application.  Click on the green question mark next to each section to view the descriptions listed in the Narrative Guidelines. Click “Submit for Review” to submit your application.

 
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What will be expected of me?

If your application is successful and you are invited to participate in the URSP, you will be expected to commit the number of hours indicated in the table below on your project. You should coordinate with your mentor a suitable method of documenting your time during the project.

URSP Options

 
Traditional
Intensive
Dates  
Fall, Spring, Summer
Semesters

Summer only
Hours per week
~9 40
Total Hours
144 360

  • Students who participate in the URSP are expected to share the results of their research in a professional environment. This can be a public performance at Mason, a celebration of student scholarship hosted by a Mason college or school, a national or regional conference, or other setting.

  • URSP students will be expected to attend professional development activities during the award period.

  • During the academic year, students will be required to enroll in UNIV 495 (3 credits which has bimonthly meetings)

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What kinds of support will I receive?
Students will receive funding as indicated in the table below.  Stipends are paid directly to the students during their award period.  Mentor stipends are paid via payroll after the end of the semester. Stipends can be reallocated to purchase materials and/or supplies to support your project. These funds are immediately available at the beginning of the semester of your award.


Funding Options

 
Traditional
Intensive
Student Stipend
$1,000* $4,000*
Materials and/or Supplies
$0* $500*
Mentor Stipend
$500 $500
Total Award Amount
$1,500 $5,000
* Distribution between stipend and supplies may be determined by student/mentor team.

Justifications of student stipends should include how you will use the stipend to support yourself during the award period. It is completely acceptable to explain that this stipend will help offset your number of hours working another job or assist you in paying your tuition.  Materials and/or supplies should be described in the application so that the reviewers know what is neccessary for your project to succeed. You are not required to justify your mentor's stipend since their time and effort is so valuable.

As a participant in the URSP, you will have priority to receive travel support through the Undergraduate Student Travel Fund to present the results of your scholarship at a scholarly meeting, conference, exhibition, etc.

In addition to monetary support, you will receive professional development support through the URSP seminar that you will attend the first semester you are in the program. You will receive advanced notification of OSCAR events, undergraduate opportunities, and other news as part of the Students as Scholars initiative. Students who participate in the URSP are also potential nominees to become OSCAR Fellows, outstanding undergraduate research leaders who represent Mason’s Students as Scholars initiative to other students, faculty, parents, and the community.

Finally, participation in this program is an honor and an opportunity. You are being recognized as a budding scholar in your field, so you are able to include the program on your resume or vita. But more importantly, you are gaining professional and personal skills in creative problem-solving, working professionally with colleagues, and communicating effectively that will enrich your Mason experience and your post-graduation life!

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Is there a minimum GPA?  Do I have to be an honor student to participate?
Any undergraduate student who is in good academic standing may apply to work on a project as a part of the URSP. We do require that you remain in good academic standing (which means maintaining at least a 2.0 GPA) while working on the project. That being said, higher grades, especially in the areas you wish to study for your project, will make you a stronger candidate for the URSP. The Student Scholarly Activities subcommittee will review your current transcript from PatriotWeb when considering your application to ensure that you have the academic background necessary to successfully complete your proposed project.

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Is the URSP competitive?
Yes. Applications are reviewed by the Student Scholarly Activities Subcommittee of the Students as Scholars QEP Leadership Council, which is comprised of faculty and students from a variety of academic units at Mason. Applications that communicate a clear vision that is understandable to a diverse range of disciplines, while also demonstrating the greatest potential for student success, will be selected.

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Who is eligible to be my mentor?
All current Mason community members who are tenure-line faculty, term faculty, adjunct faculty, post-docs, staff, and/or graduate students are eligible to mentor a project as part of the URSP.

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What is expected of my mentor?
Your mentor will help guide you through your project proposal and should work with you on a regular basis to help guide you through your project. The mentor should treat you as a colleague and give you opportunities to understand the scholarly context of your project. Given the different models of mentorship in each discipline, this relationship will be variable. In some cases, you may be given a graduate student or other mentor to work more closely with you on a daily basis.

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Why does my mentor need to complete a form?
Both students and their mentors are required to submit an application for consideration in the URSP. This is done to ensure that students and their mentors are each committed to the proposed project and appear to have a common understanding of the work that will be done to complete the project as part of the URSP.  If your mentor is supporting the application of two students, he/she should complete a separate Mentor Application Form for each applicant.

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Can I continue beyond the first semester?
Yes! Students who successfully complete the first semester are encouraged to continue their URSP project. Students who are making satisfactory progress on their project may continue in the program until the project is complete and/or they graduate.  If you wish to receive funding for subsequent semesters, you must formally reapply to URSP and submit a new proposal.  This should not be an exact copy of your previously successful proposal and you will be asked to clearly indicate the outcomes of your funded semester(s).  The committee has higher expectations for repeat proposals and generally gives preference to new students. Typically, students are not funded more 2 or 3 times from this program.

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What if I have a budget for supplies but didn't use it all during my initial semester?
The support for your project will be continue to be available, if the two conditions are met. First, you need to be formally accepted as a Continuing URSP student on the same project for the subsequent semester.  And, because of budgeting rules, you must use the funding within the same academic year (which runs summer-fall-spring).  If you aren't able to meet those two conditions, the allocated funding is put back into our URSP budget and is used to help fund future URSP students, which is a good thing, too.

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How can I get additional information?
Contact the Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research (OSCAR) by sending an email to oscar@gmu.edu or stop by our new office in the Johnson Center, Room 246, next to the Admissions Office.

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