The Undergraduate Research Program (URP) helps students identify a research project during the academic year. Undergraduate students may pursue research for either academic credit or as a paid URP assistant working in the labs of world-leading Rensselaer faculty researchers. The sponsoring department or faculty member is responsible for the financial support a URP student assistant receives. In addition, the Office of Undergraduate Education will match up to a maximum of $500 per academic semester.
- Identify an advisor and a project.
- Decide how much time you will work; most projects expect eight hours per week not to exceed twelve hours of research per week.
- Complete the appropriate application:
- URP Applications requesting funding: Students should complete the URP Application for Funding and obtain the required signatures. Completed applications should be emailed to the appropriate URP Coordinator. Email confirmation from the faculty research supervisor in lieu of a signature on the form will be accepted.
- URP Applications requesting credit: Complete the 4UR Form and submit via the Registrar’s website under Registrar Requests. For additional instructions see, How to Submit a 4UR Form to the Registrar
- Complete Percipio Lab Safety training: ALL students participating in the URP program are required to complete lab safety training before beginning their research work.
Students can request course credit OR funding for their research project.
Earn 1 — 4 Credits
The number of credit hours you earn is negotiable between you and your faculty sponsor. If you choose this option, you and your sponsor will need to:
- Determine how many credit hours you will earn (1 — 4).
- Decide exactly what is expected of you, such as your time commitment (no more than 12 hours per week) and the type of work to be submitted.
- Agree on how your grade will be determined.
Please refer to http://finance.rpi.edu/update.do?artcenterkey=79 for additional information regarding credit hours. During the summer term, you will be billed for each URP credit hour for which you register.
Applying for Credit
Applications due on the Registrar's "Add Course" deadline.
FUNDING SOURCE: Sponsoring Faculty Member or Department
The faculty sponsor or department is responsible for the financial support of your research. The URP application should be submitted to the URP Coordinator for the department in which you are working.
The URP Coordinator:
- Reviews the URP application for completeness.
- Processes your payroll request.
- Forwards the URP application to the Office of Undergraduate Education for approval.
- Will set up a schedule for reporting your hours via web-time entry.
FUNDING MATCH: The Office of Undergraduate Education
The Office of Undergraduate Education pays URP participants up to a maximum of $500 per semester in the form of matching funds. Applications that are submitted to the Office of Undergraduate Education that do not contain funding from the sponsoring department will not be approved for matching funds. Applications requesting funding from the Office of Undergraduate Education that are received after the application deadline will not be approved for matching funds. However, the sponsoring department's funding will be approved.
Applying for Funding
Complete the URP Application for Funding and obtain the required signatures. Completed applications should be emailed to the appropriate URP Coordinator. Email confirmation from the faculty research supervisor in lieu of a signature on the form will be accepted.
You and your sponsor determine the total amount you will earn and rate of pay. The minimum hourly rate for the URP is $15.00, however the rate that the sponsoring faculty member pays to you from their funds is negotiable. Decide how much time you will work; most projects expect eight hours per week not to exceed twelve hours of research per week. Pay checks are issued every other Friday.
We encourage undergraduate students from all 5 schools to apply. Full time students (those registered for 12 or more credit hours) may work a maximum of 12 hours per week. Part time students may work a maximum of 25 hours per week.
Students with other administrative registrations (co-op or internship) are not eligible.
A good rule for finding an advisor or project is to start with what you know. Most undergraduates find projects from faculty members from whom they have taken classes. Let your advisor or instructors know that you would like to participate in undergraduate research project, you may find that they are currently looking (or know someone who is looking) for undergraduates to participate in research projects that align with your interests.
Many Professors will make announcements in their classes or post information about available projects at their offices. Some even have links for information on their current research projects at their personal websites. A good place to start your search is to determine a faculty member with whom you may want to work on a project. Check their website to investigate their field of research. If it sounds interesting, approach them about a possible URP project.
Approaching a Faculty Member
Please be considerate of the faculty member that you are going to be asking for a project. Make sure you have already read about the research they do and show an interest in the topic. Be prepared to tell them of any relevant coursework you have completed or other experience that you have that would be applicable to a project they may have. If possible, prepare a short resume outlining these details. If you are responding to an advertised project, take time prior to speaking with them to investigate the project fully and be prepared with some specific questions and ideas about the project.
If you do not have a specific faculty member in mind, begin with the different types of research conducted in your department or the research interests of the faculty within your department. You may also do projects outside of your major, so consider checking the research being done in other departments, too. For example, an engineering product development project may need someone with knowledge of psychology and human factors to research human interaction with the product. Once you find a field of research that interests you, learn a little more about it.
You may work with a faculty member on an existing research project or on a project based on your own ideas. If you want to pursue your own project, find a faculty advisor who may be interested in your topic since you will be required to have a project advisor.
Students must submit their application to the URP Coordinator for the department in which the project will take place. Department URP Coordinators are responsible for the administrative details between the faculty researcher and the institute for the URP.
Rensselaer Family Forums through Student Services are a virtual program series designed to connect all families with relevant and timely topics impacting our campus community. Parents are invited to sign up for these virtual events monthly through the Parent & Family Newsletter and they are recorded. On October 20, The Office of Undergraduate Research was invited to speak about the Undergraduate Research Program. We discussed topics like how to get involved and how it works.