Provost's Undergraduate Research Initiative Guidelines

Proposals must include the following information, and must be submitted through a form on the CSS website.  Late proposals will be considered if funding is available.

Find application materials here: should submit using the online form system.  Elements of the application include:

  • A completed application form.
  • Abstract.  A statement about the research project, its stage in development, and the specific research tasks to be assigned to the undergraduate researcher(s). This statement must include the beginning and end date of the student’s involvement in the project and a description of the final research product to be delivered by the student.  We require students to present their research at Mid-SURE (July 24) or at UURAF (next April) (with waivers of this requirement in exceptional circumstances) and we request that applicants commit to Mid-SURE or UURAF presentation, if possible, in the application. 
  • Outcomes.  A statement of student learning outcomes and how those outcomes will be assessed by the faculty mentor (see below for suggestions).
  • Budget Proposal.  A budget that states precisely how the funds will be spent (see below for guidelines).  It is important to be careful to comply with these guidelines.
  • The name(s) of the students selected, if available at the time of submission.  Proposals that name one or more specific undergraduates who have agreed to participate in the program will be given priority.  But we will also consider proposals that do not name particular students. 


CSS-PURI funds can be allocated as follows:

1)    Stipend or research travel for undergraduate research must make up at least 80% of the total budget. Since there are other funds available to support travel (see below), we ask that applications minimize travel costs to the extent possible.

2)    No more than 20% can be used for supplies/equipment related to the research.

The sponsoring department or school will be responsible for the administration of funds, including ensuring proper allocation and expenditure. Summer PURI awards require unit matching (50%).  Note that this unit match is higher than for AY awards, because we do not have Provost shared funding for these awards, unlike AY awards.

The College of Social Science and the Office of Undergraduate Research have separate travel funds available to student researchers. Student researchers are eligible to apply. Travel funds require unit matching, and the College also provides matching funds.  For additional information, please contact Renée Davis, davissr(at)


The purpose of the program is to help undergraduate students develop advanced research skills in the social, economic, and behavioral sciences that they will apply as advanced undergraduates, in their careers, or in graduate or professional school. As a faculty mentor, you will play a critical role in helping them understand the nature of research in your field, its application and significance within scholarship or the professions, and the importance of ethical practice in the research.

These learning goals can be more modest for beginning researchers, or more sophisticated for advanced researchers. The examples below are among the goals you might wish to set:

  • Demonstrate mastery of key technologies, techniques, or methods relevant to research within the discipline.
  • Recognize and demonstrate ethical research practices.
  • Demonstrate the ability to analyze, interpret, or synthesize evidence gathered through primary and secondary research.
  • Demonstrate the ability to present or write research results for scholarly or professional audiences.

For each learning outcome you establish with the student, develop a means by which she/he can demonstrate accomplishment of the goal.


Faculty must hold an appointment (including joint appointments) in the College of Social Science.  Student researchers must be College of Social Science majors (second majors are acceptable) with a 2.0 GPA or better.  The research can be conducted at MSU, in the US, or internationally.  Team projects that include multiple faculty, graduate students or undergraduates are eligible for consideration, and faculty can propose to fund more than one undergraduate under this program.  However, the specific duties, research products, and learning outcomes must be stated for each student researcher individually.


CSS and the Office of the Provost require reporting and assessment.  (Every year it is a challenge to get these reports: Mark your calendars!!)  Each faculty and student participant must submit a written report to the Associate Dean of Academic & Student Affairs detailing the research outcomes for the project, an assessment of student learning outcomes (proposed and achieved), and the expenditure of funds (the latter provided by the faculty member).  Please ask your student researcher to submit her/his report to you and then forward both to me as a package.  By August 17, 2018, the following information should be submitted to my office:

  • Name of student(s) supported (no PID numbers).
  • Detailed information on expenditures (a required reporting form will be supplied).
    • Scholarships and stipends
    • Supplies and equipment
    • Conference registration and travel
    • Other
  • Assessment of the student’s achievement of learning objectives and an overall evaluation of the student’s contribution to the advancement of the research.
  • Any presentations, abstracts or publications arising from the research (including citations if applicable, and including anticipated conference presentations and publications).
  • Other indicators of quality.
  • A 250-word report from the student, summarizing his/her accomplishments and reflecting on the competencies he/she gained from the experience.

Questions: 355-6673 or email to kautz(at)