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Office of Academic Affairs

Undergraduate Research Program: Application Evaluation Criteria

Applicants and adjudicators can use the following criteria to create and evaluate the URP award applications, respectively.


  1. Applications must be approved/signed by department/division/school administrators. Faculty should list their previous successful URP Awards.            
  2. Applications must be deemed satisfactory or above in any of the subjective application criteria to be funded.
  3. Applications must provide evidence of a significant level of student participation and discuss the impact of or outcomes for the student.
    • To what extent is the student involved with key components of research (e.g., idea development, data collection, writing, presentations)?
    • Does the application demonstrate how the student will be involved in the inquiry?
    • Does the application clearly outline the outcomes for the student’s learning and how the outcomes will be achieved?

Tie-Breaking Criteria (in order of importance)

Student’s First Application

The goal of the URP is to involve as many students as possible in undergraduate research. As a result, preference is given to applications involving students who would be engaging in undergraduate research for the first time.

Student Status

One of the goals of the Undergraduate Research Program is to ensure that all students have the opportunity to engage in research. Students with advanced standing (e.g. Senior, Junior) will be given greater consideration than students earlier in their academic careers (e.g. Sophomore, Freshmen), who will have additional opportunities in the future to engage in undergraduate research. Furthermore, a student’s GPA in the related field of study for the project may be taken into consideration. Therefore, applications should include a description of the faculty member’s confidence in the student’s ability.

Application Criteria

Clarity and Completeness

Applications must describe and explain proposed projects in simple, direct language that includes sufficient detail that the substance of the project can be properly understood and objectively considered by individuals who may or may not possess expertise in the area or discipline of the applicant. The application asks broadly for project background and methodology information:

  • Project Background/Objectives: Descriptions of proposed projects must include discussion of the questions, theories, hypotheses, etc., from which the proposed activity grows, the importance of the project to general or specific questions in the field, and the benefits to the discipline, university, or the individual as a result of the project.
  • Methodological Design and Feasibility: Applications should include descriptions of the manner in which the project will be completed, which may include but is not limited to: the paradigm which will guide inquiry, the methods and materials used to collect and analyze data, the manner in which data will be reported, a sequence of project activities that will be followed, and an approximate timeline of project activities, phases, etc. Applicants should also address the feasibility of the proposed project (i.e., can the project be completed in one semester?). Discuss assurances that approval is being sought or has been obtained from appropriate committees if project involves human subjects, animals or hazardous materials.
Relevance to Student Career Goals and Project Objectives

To what extent does the application clearly outline the career goals of the student, and demonstrate how the project will help the student achieve these goals? An application should provide clear information about plans for the student to present or share/report the findings of the proposed project.