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Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program

Spring 2021 will be the last semester for the current URAP program, CoLA will be revamping the program for Fall 2021. Continue to check back here for updates.


The College of Liberal Arts Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program provides a structured opportunity for faculty to receive assistance with research projects while giving students exposure and experience conducting research in various disciplines within Liberal Arts.

The term "apprenticeship" captures the sense of personal relationship this program cultivates between the faculty and their student apprentices. A reciprocal relationship based on mentoring, experience, and learning allows both the faculty member and the student to enrich their experiences in the College of Liberal Arts.

A key step in structured mentoring is the establishment of a relationship between faculty member and student. Faculty members should recruit students who have the interest, motivation, and preparation to make the most of this opportunity. Students should recruit faculty members appropriate to their interests and available to mentor. As this program is to support both faculty and students within CoLA, only students with a Liberal Arts major may serve as an apprentice.

As apprentices, students work a certain number of hours per week as assigned by the faculty member, and in return receive course credit for L A 331 R (a research conference course). Students are not expected to do their own research in the program; rather, students will assist in ongoing faculty research projects. Faculty participants should be prepared to assign tasks to the students continuously throughout the semester and to maintain a minimum number of contact hours per week.

Faculty Responsibilities

Faculty members are expected to assign tasks (such as those described below) to be performed on a weekly basis. The assigned workloads should be consistent across the semester. In other words, faculty should not assign few hours of work in one part of the semester and expect students to make it up with more hours later in the semester. Faculty are also expected to meet with students on a weekly basis to discuss assigned tasks, the scope of the research project, and its relation to the disciplinary field as a whole.

Student Responsibilities

Students' responsibilities must contain some research component. They are not required to write a paper to receive credit, though writing may be required as part of the workload. Students should not be assigned solely clerical tasks, such as photocopying or handling mailings (although these tasks may be assigned in conjunction with other more research-focused work). Some suggested tasks include:

  • Creating annotated bibliographies.
  • Transcribing focus group or interview data.
  • Cleaning or recoding survey data.
  • Performing basic statistical analyses.
  • Conducting literature searches and/or helping faculty to obtain literature.
  • Checking references/formatting manuscripts for publication.
  • Pulling and analyzing publicly accessible data.
  • Acting as note-taker or recorder in research meetings or data collection projects.
  • Helping to organize and maintain large projects.

Work, Credit Hours, and Grading

Students are expected to work 7-10 hours per week, including time spent with faculty discussing the work. For their research assistance, students will receive three hours of credit (for L A 331 R). These hours will not count towards the major, but will be graded; these hours may be taken during the summer semester for projects involving fieldwork. The work start date must lie between the first and twelfth class day.

Faculty and Student Requirements

Faculty must submit an application through the link above, and will be informed of their status prior to the beginning of the semester for which they have applied. Students must be undergraduates with a major in the College of Liberal Arts and no more than 60 credit hours at the start of the fall semester of the academic year in which they complete their apprenticeship.

Please note: CBE hours will not be counted toward the 60 hour maximum but transfer hours will be taken into account.

Faculty and Student Support

Faculty members will receive $1,000 of research support for their projects at the start of the semester in which they choose to have their apprentice. Funding may only be used to support the research project and must be used by the end of the fiscal year (the fiscal year ends in the August of the school year in which funding is received).

Upon successful completion of the course and meeting other criteria, students will receive a $500 scholarship in the semester following their apprenticeship.

Preparing the Application

The Spring 2021 application period is now open. Applications are due by 8 a.m. on January 11, 2021. Decisions will be announced on January 14, 2021.

Proposals will be funded on a competitive basis and must include a brief description of the project as well as the benefit to the apprentice. Faculty must have a student apprentice in order to apply to the program. If you need assistance finding an apprentice, or if you are a student who would like to be considered, please contact Liz Clayton.

Successful applications:

  • Focus on the pedagogical value of the apprenticeship for the student rather than the importance of the research project itself.
  • Explain in detail the resources, archives, tools, and skills the student will acquire during the semester.
  • Make the goals of the apprenticeship clear (completion or start of a book, an article).

Clerical work, such as photocopying, correspondence, and securing permissions for publications should be minimal. Apprenticeships will not be awarded for the preparation of teaching materials or lectures. Apprenticeships are unlikely to be awarded for research already completed; therefore, manuscript preparation is not a sufficient project. If you have any questions about the program, please contact Liz Clayton.