Undergraduate Research Assistants Program FAQs
What is the URAP Program?
URAP is a program unique to Roanoke College. Ten new freshman students are identified each year and are invited to join the program. They work as research assistants with a member of the Roanoke College faculty on an original research project of interest to both the URAP scholar and to the faculty mentor. The awards include a stipend of $2,000 per year and begin immediately upon arrival at Roanoke. These awards are renewable annually for up to three additional years, as long as both the student and the faculty member wish to continue the project. In addition to these stipends the URAP scholar becomes a member of a research team working on a project which generally will lead to publication in a professional journal and/or presentation at a professional conference.
What are the advantages of this program?
This prestigious award is intended to provide highly qualified students with a research experience under the supervision of a faculty member. The program is modeled after research experiences for new students in graduate school, with frequent access to a Roanoke College professor, as well as becoming a member of an elite group of fellow students. It offers students many advantages when it comes time to apply to graduate school or professional school.
How are candidates selected?
Selection to be a URAP scholar is a significant honor. Prospective students must apply to the Undergraduate Research Assistants Program in addition to applying to Roanoke College. Each mentor in the "four year" URAP program will invite only one applicant to be their Research Assistant. Mentors may wish to interview applicants either in person or by telephone, typically in February, March, or April. Students may apply to work on any of the available projects . Faculty will begin looking at applications immediately after the application deadline (February 1st), and may schedule telephone or in-person interviews with applicants soon thereafter. The "one year" URAP awards are given to students who prefer the flexibility of a one year project that begins no earlier than the sophomore year or to outstanding students not selected as matches for the current group of four year URAP projects.
How do I apply?
Incoming freshmen need to apply by March, 2013.
When will I find out if I have been selected?
Formal appointments will be made by the Dean of the College. We expect to have the initial selection of the URAP scholars completed no later than April 1st. If any of initial offers are not accepted, additional offers are made to students on a waiting list, often extending into early May.
How would URAP work if I do a semester or year of study abroad or in an off-campus program?
Participation in the URAP research experience continues for some students during a period of off-campus study, if appropriate arrangements are made to continue the research and collaboration with their faculty mentors. In cases where that isn't feasible or desired, the URAP appointment can be deferred during the off-campus period and resumed when the student returns to campus and resumes research activities. See the detailed policy below.
How are "unusual situations" handled?
For any program, special circumstances arise. It is impossible to plan for all of the unusual events that occur. The Director of Student/Faculty Research will resolve any issues that arise, seeking to maintain the program's integrity, and commitments to students and faculty. Here are some of the special circumstances that may arise:
- Faculty sabbatical leave or medical leave. A substitute faculty advisor is appointed for the term of the leave. That appointment is done after consultations among the Director of Student/Faculty Research, the participating faculty member, the participating student, and the department chair.
- Collaborative research. In some cases, several faculty share supervisory duties on collaborative projects. The primary advisor may shift over time, but always within the original academic department. The Director of Student/Faculty Research reviews and approves any such shifts.
- Students desiring to stop participating in the program. Students may stop their URAP participation at any time, after discussion with the faculty mentor and the Director of Student/Faculty Research. The stipend ends when the participation ends. An example might be a student with other interests such as multi-sport athletic participation who finds himself/herself too busy to do everything. Another example might be a student who decides he/she would prefer to do research in a different academic department. URAP positions are approved for a specific faculty member, and are not transferable to faculty in other departments.
- A student drops the URAP program. A URAP position which is dropped is not eligible for replacement, but the faculty member is eligible to re-apply to the program through the Faculty Development Committee.
- A faculty member desiring to stop participating in the program (this is rare). Like students, faculty may stop their URAP participation at any time, after discussion with the participating student and the Director of Student/Faculty Research. The position ends at the conclusion of the current academic term. The faculty member is not eligible to seek a replacement student.
Who do I contact for more information?
If you have any questions about the Undergraduate Research Assistants Program feel free to contact Dr. Julie Lyon, Coordinator of the URAP Program, at 540-375-4939. If you have questions about admission to Roanoke College feel free to contact the office of Admissions at 540-375-2270.
Deadline: March 1st
(High School Students: You should apply during the winter of your senior year.)