Overview of Undergraduate Research Assistantship (URA) Program

Current guidelines and policies apply regarding maintaining the continuity of research, creative, and scholarly activity. Please refer to the Office of Research guidelines for Ramping up Research and Creative Acitivities at Appalachian State University by clicking on the following link:  https://research.appstate.edu/continuity-research-creative-and-scholarly-activities

Undergraduate Research Assistantships offer highly motivated undergraduate students the opportunity to work closely with a Faculty mentor on the Faculty member's research, scholarship, or creative activity. The Faculty member, in consultation with an interested undergraduate student at App State are encouraged to apply.

Faculty in all academic disciplines at Appalachian State University are encouraged to submit proposals. Faculty members, in consultation with their selected student, complete an on-line application due by the deadline dates listed. The proposals are peer-reviewed with the quality of the proposal as the primary selection criterion. Reviewers are from a variety of disciplines. Undergraduate students must be enrolled full-time (minimum of 12 credit hours) in the fall or spring semesters. They must take at least one summer session class (for summer URA's) to be eligible for the URA program. It is the Faculty mentor's responsibility to make sure the student meets this requirement prior to applying.

Students can earn up to $2,000 ($1,000 per semester in two of the following terms: Summer 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021) and are encouraged to present their work at the annual Celebration of Student Research and Creative Endeavors meeting held each spring. Faculty may only apply for $1,000 per semester cycle. They may reapply with the same student or a new student (but not both) for continued URA funding (not to exceed a total of $2,000) but must submit a new application and be selected for funding by our review committee.  A second consecutive semester application for the same URA student with the same Faculty Mentor is not guaranteed and is contingent upon the proposal reflecting continued need and revised outcomes.

URA funding must be used to support students who are collaborating with an Appalachian State University Faculty member's research, creative or scholarly activity. The focus for these assistantships is to assist  the Faculty member in moving their research, creative or scholarly activity forward. URA funding should not focus on the student's research or creative activity. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the minimum G.P.A. a student needs to have to be eligible for a URA?

  • Students supported by a URA must have at least a 2.70 G.P.A. at the time of the application.

Must the student be enrolled full time while completing the URA?

  • Yes. A student must be enrolled for 12 hours or more while applying and/or carrying out a Fall/Spring URA. For summer URA's, a student must be enrolled for at least one course in either summer school session. It is the Faculty member's responsibility to make sure that the student they are applying for has met the minimum semester hour/class enrollment requirements.

How many total students can a faculty mentor support through the URA program in a given academic year?

  • A given faculty mentor may request support for one student a semester and/or summer. At this time, Faculty may only apply on a semester-by-semester basis for $1,000 total. If budget approval is granted for the following semester, Faculty must reapply and go through the same application/award process they did previously (not to exceed $2,000).
  • Consecutive semester URA's are not guaranteed and would require evidence regarding progress on previous semester URA and updated goals.  

Can a faculty mentor use URA funds to support a student as part of their large, on-going research program?

  • Yes, the URA program supports a variety of projects, including those from faculty members who have large on-going research programs. It is incumbent upon the Faculty member to clearly delineate the role a student will play in the overall project as well as the skill development of the student(s).

When are URA proposals due?

  • Proposals are typically due in the semester before the work will begin. For example, Summer support is submitted in early May. Fall support is submitted in August, and Spring support is submitted in December. Note: Funding for the URA program is made on a semester basis with calls for new applications dependent on funding approval.

What is the stipend amount of a URA?

  • Students are paid a $1,000 stipend for a given funding period (summer, fall and spring semester).
  • Students are expected to work with their faculty mentor for 10 hours per week (100 hours total) during a given funding period - funding must be exhausted by the last day of classes for each respective semester. 

If you have additional questions, call OSR at 828-262-7655 or contact Dr. Becki Battista at battistara@appstate.edu.

Review Process for a URA Application

After you submit your URA application online, OSR electronically forwards your proposal to a faculty committee from the OSR Advisory Board. Each member of the committee reviews the proposal independently and assigns the proposal a score. After each member assigns the proposal a score, the committee comes together to discuss the proposals and decides which proposals to fund. The primary criteria is the quality of the proposal.

Proposal Requirements

A proposal can receive a maximum of 20 points based on the following:

1.  Project goals (Max 5 points)

  • Please explain how this is a scholarship for your academic discipline. Include the general design of the project or creative endeavor. (Max 2000 characters)

2.  Role of the faculty mentor (Max 5 points)

  • Briefly explain what role you will play as the faculty member in mentoring this student, also discuss any previous experience you have in mentoring undergraduate students. (Max 2000 characters)

3.  Role of the student (Max 5 points)

  • What do you expect the student to gain from this experience? What is the student's involvement in the project? Please provide a summary as to what specific tasks the student will be engaged. If this is a 2nd application for the previous semester URA, please address what NEW skills/techniques/activities will be completed and/or how this additional experience will impact the student. (Max 2000 characters)

4.  With continued concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19, it is important to follow the guidelines set by the University in regards to maintaining the continuity of research, creative, and scholarly activities involving undergraduate students.

  • As we continue to monitor conditions associated with COVID-19, the safety of all members of the research team shall be the priority at all times. Knowing conditions can rapidly change on campus, please discuss how the student will work on this project including precautions and safety measures that will be implemented. This may include moving all research. creative activities, to an online format.

5. Demonstrated outcome. (Max 5 points)

  • Why do you think the student is deserving of this assistantship? How will your research program benefit? If this is a 2nd application for a previous semester URA, please address the outcomes achieved last semester and the new outcomes anticipated this semester. (Max 2000 characters)

If a URA proposal is missing a given section, the proposal receives a score of ZERO for that section.

To Apply

Submit the Undergraduate Research Assistantship formOnly faculty may complete this URA application. 

Because this application requires a great deal of information, we suggest you prepare your answers in advance in a word processing application such as Word and cut and paste your answers into the application.

Award Notifications

All Fall 2021 URA's have been officially awarded. Pending funding approval, a Spring 2022 deadline will be posted by mid-November.