What is the URA Program?
The Undergraduate Research Assistant Program is a unique opportunity for you to get hands-on research experience under the guidance of some of the greatest minds at SMU. These positions are designed to be research positions – not clerical, administrative, or busy work positions.
Am I eligible to participate?
Undergraduate students that are in good standing and are enrolled for the term they wish to participate in are eligible.
Does my major/department have URA positions? Can I only do research within my major?
The URA program is open to all departments and faculty. You may apply for any URA position you are interested in regardless of your major. A URA position will require full engagement – seek out a position that you can invest in and will keep your interest!
How do I find a URA position?
The best way to find a URA position is to first find a professor that is doing research you are interested in. URA positions are typically not advertised – keep your ears open for projects or topics that really grab your attention, and then approach that professor for an opportunity. You can also contact the Student Employment Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions about departments/faculty that have hired URA students in the previous term.
How does it work?
If you are hired as a URA your faculty supervisor will work with you to coordinate a schedule; most URA students work 10 hours per week, at $10.00 per hour. As a student employee of SMU you will be paid biweekly for the hours submitted by your supervisor.
Can I work in the summer?
Yes! You must be enrolled in at least one summer course to participate during the summer. Some departments have a specific non-credit course they request their URAs to enroll in – please contact your hiring department for details. If you worked as a URA during the spring semester and would like to extend your research through the summer you will need to request that extension from your faculty supervisor. The summer is a separate term and SMU Payroll considers this a “rehire.” Your URA position will not be automatically renewed for summer – if you have questions or concerns please contact your faculty supervisor or the Student Employment Office (email@example.com).
Why should I participate in the URA program?
The most tangible benefit of the URA program is that it is a paid position. You can earn up to $3000 in an academic year or during the combined summer terms. The broader benefits have to do with the actual experience – there are very few opportunities for undergraduates to participate in research like this. You can learn research skills and techniques that many don’t have the chance to tackle until graduate school, while having your name listed alongside distinguished SMU faculty on papers that may be published or presented in prestigious arenas in your chosen field. The research experience alone is priceless – at $10.00 an hour, it may be the best deal on campus.