Undergraduate Research Assistantships (URA & SRA)

What are Undergraduate Research Assistantships?

  • Part-time campus jobs working with faculty members in their labs or research projects
  • Hands-on research opportunities for students in all disciplines
  • A chance to pursue research milestones such as conference presentations and publications
  • A community of approximately 100 students each academic year

How it Works:

The Office of Engaged Learning provides matching funds to a department, school, or research grant. We also match selected SMU scholarships, including Hamilton and McNair.

Students are hired by academic departments to work with faculty members on research projects.

  • URAs (Fall & Spring semesters) work up to 10 hours a week, at wages up to $15.00 per hour.
  • SRAs (Summer) work up to 29 hours a week, at wages up to $15.00 per hour.

All URAs and SRAs submit a final report (see below).

Guidelines and Eligibility

Please review the URA Program Guidelines for more information. If you have further questions, please contact us at engagedlearning@smu.edu.


How do I apply?

If you need help finding a faculty mentor, check out Handshake or our A2O Mentoring program.

Visit the Application page

Deadlines:

  • Apply for the URA program (Fall and Spring semesters) at any time.
  • For Summer Research Assistantships (SRA), the deadline is May 1.

Research Experience Report

 Fall URA report deadline  December 15
 Spring URA report deadline  May 15
 Summer SRA report deadline   August 15

 
Final reports are expected of all URAs and SRAs
. This helps ensure that students gain meaningful experience as assistants, and hone their communication skills.

These reports should be written by the student, and students are encouraged to seek editorial comment from their faculty mentor. The reports should be written to satisfy the following criteria:

  • Title
  • Abstract (100-300 words):
    • Summary of the project: who, what, when, where, why
  • Research Paper (750-1000 words (Fall/Spring), 1500-2000 words (Summer))
    • Background information (i.e. "literature review")
    • Motivation: research problem and hypothesis
    • Methodology (ex: experimental laboratory work, case studies, field studies, questionnaires, etc.)
    • Description of the results found through the stated research method
    • Main conclusions based on the results
    • Recommendations for future work
    • Images, diagrams, and graphs, if relevant
  • Reflection (100-250 words (Fall/Spring), 200-500 words (Summer))
    • What the student learned from this experience
    • How the experience will impact their career plans or expectations

Suitable reports will be referred for possible publication in the Journal of Undergraduate Research (JoUR).