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.
The Undergraduate Research Assistant Program application is not currently available (stay tuned for the next deadline in the early Fall 2022 semester).
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 (only for Spring 2022 Semester) Please stay tuned for New Deadlines for Fall 2022
- February 14 – March 7, 2022: Faculty to tell us whether Spring 2022 project(s) will continue in Fall 2022 OR will they submit a new project – so we need to amend the form sent to faculty
- March 21 – April 1, 2022: Students apply for new projects/stay with current projects
- April 8, 2022: Send Faculty all students’ names (no first/second/third round)
- April 15, 2022: Decisions made by Faculty
- May 1, 2022: 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 2022 was held on Tuesday, April 19th, 2022 on the George Mason University Fairfax Campus at Dewberry Hall in the Johnson Center. The Schar School Research Fair will now be held every semester – stay tuned for date in the Fall 2022.
HOW TO APPLY
Applications are expected to open early each semester (stay tuned for new dates in the Fall semester 2022).
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.
“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