Faculty Advisors

By starting a student early in their academic career in your field of research, you have the opportunity to keep a student on your project for multiple semesters. The undergraduate researcher will gain knowledge and expertise in the area of research and may also choose to continue on the project into their graduate studies here at Rensselaer.

With the increasing cost for graduate students, undergraduates can provide a more inexpensive means of conducting specific research projects. Also, the Office of Undergraduate Education will provide matching funds up to $400 for payment to an undergraduate for their research. Additionally, no overhead is charged on funding for payment to an undergraduate student whose project is approved by the URP.

File Collection

Faculty Advisor Expectations

Every student who applies for an undergraduate research project must have a faculty advisor to oversee his or her project to:

  • Give feedback to the student as she or he drafts the proposal or written statement.
  • Write a letter of recommendation to the selection committee to accompany the student's proposal stating the proposed project is feasible and worthwhile and that the student is capable of pursuing the research. (Full Time Undergraduate Research only)
  • Work closely with the student by meeting with the student regularly to give feedback and advice during the course of the research project.
  • Sign off on the Final Report upon completion of the project. (Full Time Undergraduate Research only)
Accordion

Funding

With the increasing cost for graduate students, undergraduates can provide a more inexpensive means of conducting specific research projects.

Undergraduate Research Program (URP)

URP funding comes from the sponsoring faculty or department. In addition, the Office of Undergraduate Education will provide URP participants matching funds up to a maximum of $400 per academic semester.

Applications submitted to the Office of Undergraduate Education which do not contain funding from the sponsoring department will not be approved for matching funds.

If you choose this option, you and the student need to determine the total amount they will earn and at what pay rate. The rate that the student is paid from your funds is negotiable; the URP minimum rate is $10/hour. You also need to decide how much time the student will work each week. Most projects expect eight hours of work per week, not to exceed twelve hours per week.

Student Credit or Funding

The undergraduate student will need to complete an application http://info.rpi.edu/undergraduate-research/undergraduate-research-program-academic-year/#DocumentsResources. You will need to provide information to the student on the number of credits they are to receive or the hourly rate they will be paid and if you are requesting additional funding from the URP. The minimum hourly rate of pay is $10 however; you may choose to pay the student at a higher rate.

The student should then submit the completed application to your URP Department Coordinator who will be responsible for forwarding the URP application and the Student Authorization Payroll form to the Office of Undergraduate Education. If the student is requesting credit for the URP, the student will need to complete an Undergraduate Research Project (URP) Research Registration Form (4UR) and submit directly to the Registrar's Office no later than the add a course deadline.

Undergraduate Research Project (URP) Research Registration Forms (4UR) that are not turned in to the Registrar's Office by the add deadline must be approved by the Advising and Learning Assistance Center, located in Academy Hall, suite 4226, before they will be accepted by the Registrar's Office.

Full Time Summer Undergraduate Research

The Office of Undergraduate Education provides a limited number of Full Time Summer Undergraduate Research projects. Each project includes a $4,000 stipend. The awards are competitively based on proposals submitted by students. The awardees will each receive a $4,000 stipend that will be administered by the Office of Undergraduate Education on a bi-weekly pay schedule, with applicable taxes taken out; the stipend is intended to cover ten weeks of full-time research.  The application and additional details are available at: http://info.rpi.edu/undergraduate-research/summer-undergraduate-research-program.

 

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Advertising a Project

You have a project and need an undergraduate student to work on it. But how do you go about getting a dependable, knowledgeable, skilled student? Here are a few techniques you should try:

Start with students you know. 

Advertise your project in the classes you teach. Informing students whom you already know of your project will give you a good idea of the qualities of the potential researcher. You may also consider asking your graduate students or teaching assistants if they are familiar with any potential undergrad researchers.

Post your project description. 

Students looking for projects may visit your personal website, stop by the department office, or come by your office. Posting a project description on your website, the department's website and/or bulletin board, or outside your office door will give students an opportunity to consider the project before speaking with you.

Get to know the student

If you would like to know more about the student who is interested in your project, try asking for a brief resumé that outlines the courses, experience, or skills that may be beneficial to your research project. Ask them why they are interested in your research or if they have any thoughts or questions on the project. Their answers should be informative to you on their level of interest.