Undergraduate Research Scholarships

The Undergraduate Research Scholarship (URS) provides first and second-year students scholarship funding for participating in the research and creative work with faculty. Undergraduate Research Scholarships (URS) are awarded by the University Admissions Office to prospective freshmen as part of the admissions award package.

Program Details

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Program Structure

Research: URS provides funding for students to complete 120 hours of research under the mentorship of a faculty member. Students can work with any faculty at the University of Minnesota and do not have to work with someone in their major or even their college.

Depending on the academic discipline and faculty mentor, students can join an already established research project or create their own research project. Students set their own timeline for completing their projects, although most complete their URS in a semester or over the summer. 

Mentorship: Students work closely with faculty mentors throughout their undergraduate research experience and beyond. URS is a win-win. Students gain valuable connections and skills. Faculty are provided with talented undergraduates to mentor and for assistance on their research. 

Presentations: At the conclusion of the program, each student who received a URS award must publicly present their research. From the Annual Research Symposium to publishing work in MURAJ, URS students have countless opportunities to share their work. 

Program Application Process

To ensure the project is considered research and is doable, students must submit application materials and be approved by OUR before they begin their project and receive their award.

Students awarded a URS must complete their project by the end of the summer of their second year. URS students may apply at any time.

Steps to Get Approval and Start your Project

  1. Write a project proposal (what is this?)
  2. Fill out the online application form (link below)
  3. Have your faculty mentor fill out the Faculty Recommendation Form online.

Application Review Process

Once received, the application goes through a two-step review process. First, the applications are reviewed by college-specific faculty. Then, the Office of Undergraduate Research gives final approval. The URS approval process typically takes one to three weeks. 

Funding Details

There are two parts of URS Award Funding:

URS Scholarship Stipend
$1,400 for 120 hours of research, paid through financial aid*. 

The first $700 will be awarded at the beginning of your project and the final $700 will be awarded once all four ending requirements are met.

*BECAUSE THE STIPENDS ARE PAID THROUGH FINANCIAL AID, YOU MUST BE ABLE TO ACCOMMODATE THE PAYMENTS IN YOUR ACADEMIC YEAR FINANCIAL AID PACKAGE. IF YOU HAVE TOTAL COST OF ATTENDANCE ALREADY COVERED, A UROP SCHOLARSHIP MIGHT REDUCE A LOAN OR OTHER SCHOLARSHIPS. CHECK WITH ONE-STOP IF CONCERNED. 

Expense Money
Up to $300; a detailed list must be given on the URS application to account for the cost of supplies requested. Typical expenses include lab materials, compensation for human subjects, travel to field sites (more than 50 miles away), and other costs directly related to the project.

OUR does NOT cover:

  • conference travel,
  • poster creation,
  • computer hardware,
  • local travel,
  • paid training,
  • compensation for employees,
  • and other expenses deemed unnecessary. 

NOTE: ALL UROP EXPENSES ARE HANDLED THROUGH YOUR FACULTY MENTOR'S DEPARTMENT. THE ACCOUNTING TEAM RECEIVES A COPY OF YOUR APPROVED EXPENSES.  YOUR AWARD LETTER LISTS THE CONTACT PERSON IN THE DEPARTMENT, AND ANY DISBURSEMENT QUESTIONS SHOULD BE DIRECTED TO THEM.

Projects & Expenses NOT Funded

What DOES Count as Research

Research projects may be undertaken in any academic discipline in any college. We consider research to be any scientific, scholarly, or creative activity that leads to the production of new knowledge, original theory, creative works, unique analysis, and/or interpretation. 

Projects NOT Funded

  • Projects without a specific research question, methodology, and analytical component, including, but not limited to, basic lab work, data entry, creation of websites, and literature reviews. 
  • Paid Training: URS does not fund individual training or course/conference work as preparation for a URS project.
  • Research for College Credit: If you are interested in doing research for credit, consider Directed Research/Study.
  • Hiring of employees: URS will fund the compensation of human subjects, but no other payments to research assistants/interns/employees/etc. 

Ending Requirements

Once you have reached the end of your 120-hour project, there are four ending requirements that must be completed in order for you to complete your URS and receive the final $700 of your scholarship.

  1. Write a 3-page final report (download instructions)
  2. Complete the student evaluation form
  3. Present your work and fill out the Verification of Presentation form 
  4. Have your faculty mentor sign the Verification of Completion form

Please email all ending requirements to the Office of Undergraduate Research via email to [email protected]

URS FAQs

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I didn’t receive a URS scholarship at admissions, can I apply for this program?

No, this program is only open to students selected during the admissions process. Look at UROP for a similar option.

I just found out I received the URS, do I need to do anything before I come to campus in the fall?

Congratulations! We will have several workshops during the fall to get started with the URS. In the meantime, students can think about what they want to research and start looking for faculty mentors. Nothing is required before you come onto campus.

Do I have to find a faculty mentor or do you match me with a faculty mentor?

You must have a faculty mentor before you start your URS. Faculty mentors often help with your proposal and must fill out a recommendation form online as part of the application process. Although we don’t officially match faculty with students, OUR can be helpful in finding a faculty mentor. Check out our tips for finding a faculty mentor.

I thought I already have the URS, why do I have to apply?

You have been selected for the URS, but we still require you to apply for approval before you start your research. This is intended to ensure your research project is doable, is considered research, and your faculty is on board with mentoring you. You will not be “denied” as part of the application process, but we may ask you to clarify your project if needed.

When is the best time to do my URS project?

There is no “best time” to complete your research as long as you finish by the end of your second year. Many students want to get started right away, while others want to get their feet wet first. It is never to early to start looking for a faculty mentor, but when you do your research project is up to you!

Is there an application deadline?

You can apply for your URS at any time. It takes about 1-3 weeks for approval.

I am really struggling in writing my proposal, who can help me?

Your faculty mentor is the best resource to help you write your proposal, as they know the discipline-specific language that you need. The Center for Writing is a good resource on campus as well. The Office of Undergraduate Resource also completes proposal consultations on an on-going basis.

I am in the humanities, design, or education fields, can I still do a URS project?

Yes! The Office of Undergraduate Research supports a wide range of scientific and creative projects. We consider research the production of new knowledge. Check out past projects for great examples in these fields.

How am I paid?

Students are paid $700 when their project begins and a second $700 when all four ending requirements are met.  The stipends are paid as financial aid so this can affect your financial aid package for the year. Check with One Stop if you have concerns. Expenses are paid through your department. Ask your Department Accountant questions about expenses.

What are the ending requirements and when are they due?

There are four ending requirements: a 2-3 page final report, an evaluation form, a presentation form reporting on the required public presentation, and a verification of completion signed by your mentor.  These are due by the end date listed on your award letter.

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