May 16, 2017

Research Assistantships – Faculty

OSCAR, in coordination with the Office of Student Financial Aid, has created the OSCAR Research Assistant Program. Undergraduate students awarded Federal Work-Study may use their award to work with faculty, staff, and university programs on research projects.

The goal of this program is for students to be introduced to the concept of scholarship, to learn research or scholarly methods, and to give faculty free project support. Please contact if you have additional questions after referencing this document.

For more information about this program, please review Mason's Federal Work-Study website.


Please be aware that students cannot concurrently participate in the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program and as an OSCAR RA on the same project.

To Hire A Federal Work-Study Research Assistant

  1. Submit a position description to (see below for more details)
  2. Interview students – an OSCAR Research Assistantship Eligibility form must be included in student application to be considered
  3. Provide a ranked list of acceptable students to
  4. OSCAR will verify the student eligibility for Federal Work-study then contact the student and mentor

How to Write a Position Description

All positions must give the students direct experience with research or scholarship, at a level that is consistent with the student's skills and interests. We expect that you will treat the OSCAR work-study research assistant as a full member of your research or creative team.


A good position description will include:

  • 2-5 sentences describing the project/research goals
  • 2-5 sentences describing the job duties or expectations
  • 2-5 sentences describing the requirements for the position
  • reasonably nontechnical and written in language geared toward undergraduate students
  • include supervisor contact information in case a student has direct questions about the position


As requested by Financial Aid, all position descriptions must be submitted on the following form:  On-Campus Job Description Form. Please download and save the form before filling out. ALL FORMS MUST BE SUBMITTED TO OSCARFWS@GMU.EDU

Due to changes in the FWS policy from COVID-19 all positions posted on Handshake will be open to all students. However, only students granted FWS can be hired. Due to this the OSCAR Research Assistant Eligibility Form must be included in all job postings, in order to attempt to determine student eligibility when they are applying. Please ensure that all applicants include this form when you are interviewing them.

How to Post a Position

Once you have completed the On-Campus Job Description Form please email it to

OSCAR will help faculty facilitate the posting of all federal work-study undergraduate research assistant positions to the Handshake website. OSCAR will screen student applications, and forward appropriate student resumes to faculty members to choose their OSCAR Work-Study Research Assistant. While we will make every effort to match faculty projects with undergraduate students, we cannot guarantee that this will happen for every job posting. If you are interested, please contact OSCAR for more information.

Additional Details

  • The pay rate for these Federal Work Study Research Assistantships is $10.00/hour.
  • There is no cost to the faculty member or department, as OSCAR and the Office of Financial Aid are sharing the expense.
  • Faculty members can assign graduate students or experienced undergraduate students to serve as mentors for the OSCAR Undergraduate Research Assistant, however Faculty or Staff must be timesheet approvers for the OSCAR RA.
  • Positions have the potential to be extended for multiple semesters. Students who develop a new research idea from the assistantship may apply for the URSP in the future. Students are also eligible to apply for the USTF if they are an author of a project presented at a conference or other appropriate scholarly event.