Summer Research Program Fellowship

Student presenting at 2019 Summer Research Conference

The Summer Research Program is the Undergraduate Research Center’s flagship program. Each summer, over 100 students from across the College conduct faculty-mentored research for 10 weeks. Support for the program is provided by the College and by endowments, grants, and gifts from many sources.

The 2023 program begins on Wednesday, May 31 and ends on Friday, August 4, 2023. The annual all-day SRP conference is scheduled for Wednesday, August 2, 2023.  

The Program

SRP Fellows are expected to participate in full-time faculty-mentored independent research or creative activity, including:

  • a full-time exclusive commitment by Fellows for the entire stated ten-week program period (except in very unusual circumstances, late starts and early departures will not be allowed, and students may not hold other campus employment at the same time as their fellowship).
  • participation in research ethics training -- in-person at our ethics seminar and through completion of a CITI certification program.
  • participation in all scheduled meetings.
  • regular meetings with a research mentor.  
  • participation in any program assessment effort.
  • submission of a final report before receipt of the final study grant payment.
  • presentation at the Oxy Summer Research Conference.

Fellows are expected to maintain high academic and social standing.

Faculty mentors must be tenure-track or continuing non-tenure-track faculty. 

SRP Fellowships

The program is open to all continuing students in good academic standing who are able to commit to full-time research for the entirety of the program. 

SRP Fellows will receive:

  • Study award of $5200. 
  • Subsidized on-campus housing and meal plans, based on financial need. 
  • Candidates can apply for up to $400 in consumable research expenses (itemized budget due with application). 

Eligibility for other named fellowships that fund Summer Research Program participation is articulated on the individual web pages. 

Applications

Applications require: 

(i) a project proposal, 

(ii) a personal statement, 

(iii) an itemized budget, and 

(iv) a letter of recommendation from a faculty mentor.  

Complete application instructions can be found on the URC’s Applications & Reports Portal on Moodle. 

Applications are due on February 3, 2023, by 5:00 PM. 

Selection Criteria

There is limited funding available for SRP Fellowships and the application pool is competitive. The Undergraduate Research Committee (an interdisciplinary group of faculty appointed by the Faculty Council and chaired by the URC Faculty Director) has to make difficult decisions, resulting in some strong applications not being funded.

The Committee recommends starting the application early and identifying a mentor early in the process. We also recommend students begin by familiarizing themselves with the full application instructions, found on the URC’s Applications and Reports Portal

The Committee is more likely to fund applications that do the following:

  • Proposal 
    • Follow the guidelines specified in the application and include (clearly labeled) each of the required sections: Research Focus, Context, Objectives, and Research Plan (with Timeline).
      • Proposals should be no more than 5 pages double-spaced.  
    • Provide direct, clear, concise, precise explanations that are easily understood by non-specialists (e.g. - the proposal should be free of unnecessary jargon, and necessary technical terms should be clearly defined). Remember, the audience for the applications is the Undergraduate Research Committee, an interdisciplinary group of faculty.
    • Explain how the proposed project relates to and contributes to the broader scholarly or creative field. 
    • Have an appropriate scope such that there is a reasonable expectation the project can be completed during the 10-week summer program (i.e. - what the student aims to complete should be clearly stated and should be feasible).  
  • Personal Statement
    • Address how the project will significantly enhance the student’s academic development (e.g., completion of an honor’s project) and professional or personal development.
    • Explain the student’s experience and preparation to successfully complete the project (e.g. - relevant coursework, previous research experience, or curricular or extracurricular activities through which they have learned and developed relevant transferable skills). 
    • Contextualize application materials in light of additional considerations the committee may not otherwise know (e.g. - contextualization of the academic record or discrepancies in the transcript; personal motivation for conducting the project, including experiences beyond the classroom that inform your approach or perspective; what makes you well-suited to the project or work).  
  • Mentor recommendation
    • Recommenders should use the faculty recommendation form found on the URC’s Applications and Reports Portal, and must explicitly address: (1) the student’s qualifications to carry out the proposed project, (2) the quality of the proposed project with respect to scope and contribution to the area of study, and (3) the recommender’s mentoring plan and why it is appropriate for this project. 
    • The URC is especially committed to promoting the development of strong and ongoing faculty-student mentoring relationships and expects that those faculty mentors are similarly committed.
    • The Committee encourages consistent contact between the mentor and applicant throughout the application process.
  • Transcript (Please note there is no need to provide a copy. The URC will obtain your transcript directly from the Registrars)
    • Should provide evidence of sufficient coursework in the area of the proposed project and grades should indicate a strong understanding of the subject matter and the likelihood of being able to carry out the project successfully.
    • There is no required GPA minimum and the academic record can be contextualized in the personal statement. 
  • Budget (when applicable)
    • Students may request up to $400 in research-related expenses. The budget should be comprehensive, specific, and reasonable. All costs should be relevant and essential to the project. 
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
    • The URC, following the Faculty’s Commitment to Diversity, is committed to making the SRP an intellectual community of inclusive excellence. In addition to valuing the diversity of student and faculty participants, we also aim for broad disciplinary representation in the program, and value research projects that further or are informed by the mission of the College.

Frequent weaknesses in applications:

  • Proposal 
    • Is not written for the appropriate audience. 
    • The research plan is omitted or vaguely stated. 
    • The project is unrealistic, improperly scoped, or otherwise unlikely to succeed.
    • Relationship to or contribution to the broader scholarly or creative field is not sufficiently well grounded or only vaguely stated.
    • Not written coherently.
  • Personal Statement
    • Does not speak to the role of the project in the student’s academic or professional development. 
    • Does not speak to the student’s preparation to undertake the project. 
  • Budget
    • Is inflated or unreasonable. 
    • Does not follow URC guidelines (found on Moodle Applications and Reports Portal: Reimbursement & Funding Information).   
  • Mentor Recommendation
    • Does not demonstrate engagement with the project (e.g. - shallow or limited understanding of the student’s project). 
    • Does not demonstrate commitment to or plan to mentor the student (e.g. - no clear articulation of the goals for student development, limited discussion of how meeting time will be spent, limited attention to the form and frequency of feedback for student).