The Schar School Undergraduate Research Assistant Program (URAP) offers undergraduate students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with social science research. Students receive direction and mentorship from Schar School faculty who seek to work with undergraduate research assistants. The program matches faculty research projects with undergraduate students who have interests or skills consistent with specific faculty research projects.
PREPARING STUDENTS FOR A FULFILLING CAREER
BA in Government and International Politics student Hadiyyah Abdul-Jalaal speaks about how the Schar School's Undergraduate Research Assistant Program helped her discover her interests and the value it will bring in her post-graduate journey.
ADVANCING RESEARCH AND ANALYTIC SKILLS
BA in Public Administration student Aditi Goal shares how a summer research experience gave her the opportunity to help build and analyze Virginia’s legislative policy database.
The Schar School's Undergraduate Research Assistant Program (URAP) benefits undergraduate students seeking hands-on experience with social science research and Schar School faculty who seek undergraduate research assistants. This is a volunteer program. Students and faculty will be matched by common interests. Faculty and students apply for participation in the fall and work together in the spring semester.
"Through the URAP program I saw an opportunity to develop a guided research output that while based on my original ideas, gave the undergraduate students the opportunity to develop research skills and explore theories at a higher level than they would otherwise – very much like introductory PhD student work." Delton Daigle Associate Professor, on his experience with URAP in preparing Populism, Nativism, and Economic Uncertainty (pictured here), coauthored with Joséphine Neulen (former URAP student) and PhD candidate Austin Hofeman
Any Mason student who is in good standing and a declared major in GVIP or PUAD may apply to the program. Any Schar School faculty person may agree to mentor an Undergraduate Research Assistant (URA).
Student applicants choose which type of URA experience they seek and apply to specific projects. Faculty-mentors and URAs will make written agreements about category, scope, tasks, meeting frequency, and evaluation.
Students earn 1-credit towards their degree (GOVT 399), write a minimum of 5 pages, and agree to work 5-10 hours/week.
Students earn 2-credits towards their degree (GOVT 399), write a minimum of 10 pages, and agree to work a minimum of 10 hours/week.
Students earn 3-credits towards their degree (GOVT 399), write a minimum of 15 pages, and agree to work 10-15 hours/week.
Students who are eligible for Federal Work Study may be able to use the URAP as their spring semester Federal Work Study assignment.
URAs may agree to work with a faculty mentor for no pay or credit.
DEADLINES for URAP Fall 2023 Semester. (Please stay tuned for New Deadlines for Spring 2024)
- February 14th – March 1st, 2023: Faculty will submit a new research project or inform whether the Fall 2023 project(s) will continue in Spring 2024.
- March 7th – March 28th, 2023: Students apply for new projects OR stay with current projects
- April 3rd – April 7th, 2023: Send Faculty all students’ names for review and interviews
- April 7th – April 28th, 2023: Review of applicants and decisions made by Faculty
- April 28th – May 18th, 2023: Deadline for contracts sent to Matt Green
All students participating in URAP will be required to make a presentation at our annual research fair. The event for Spring 2023 will be held on Tuesday, April 18th, 2023 from 10 am to 2 pm in Dewberry Hall in the Johnson Center, Fairfax campus.
The Schar School Research Fair will now be held every semester – please stay tuned for the Fall 2023 research fair date.
HOW TO APPLY
Applications are expected to open early each semester.
Any Mason student who is in good standing and a declared major in GVIP or PUAD may apply to the program. Any Schar School faculty person may agree to mentor a URA. Student applicants choose which type of URA experience they seek and apply to specific projects. Faculty-mentors and URAs will make written agreements about category, scope, tasks, meeting frequency, and evaluation.
“Strasberg is now including his successful proposal in his personal statement for PhD applications. He said his class with McGlinchey and the entire URAP program provided “professionalizing resources” and gave him confidence in future endeavors.” Read More —Andrew Strasberg, BS in Public Administration student
“Being an RA has been one of the highlights of my time at Mason. Whether it was revising research notes, being introduced to new data-processing programs, or coding both qualitative and quantitative variables, this opportunity gave me the chance to work closely with a Mason professor in discovering what it entails to be a political scientist.” —Nathan Falk, BA in Government and International Politics '15
“I was able to expand my knowledge on LGBTQ issues in a global perspective, and how the United States’ attempts to push certain policies spill over into international relations. Not only was I able to expand my knowledge on human rights, but I learned about a key research tool: Zotero. It was my first time using the software and now it is an essential for writing research papers in other courses.” —Zuri Hodnett, BA in Government and International Politics student