Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities
The Office of Undergraduate Research will sponsor a limited number of Undergraduate Research & Creative Activities (URCA) travel funds during the academic year. The URCA funds are designed to enhance undergraduate involvement and experiences by supporting the following:
- Travel expenses to present at conferences
- Supplies or materials to conduct research (for example, software, materials for the arts, scientific supplies, books/journals that cannot be provided by the library, etc.)
In order to provide as many opportunities for undergraduate researchers as possible, URCA funds will be limited to a maximum of $700.00 per student per academic year.
The undergraduates will be required to present their research at the annual Symposium of Student Scholars. Students who have completed a presentation or exhibition at an off-campus venue as a result of this program will be designated as an Undergraduate Research Scholar and presented with an Undergraduate Research Honor Cord prior to graduation.
Upon the completion of the project(s), recipients are required to send a final report to The Office of Undergraduate Research that includes abstract(s) of the project results and a list of the presentations/ publications/ exhibitions from the work completed.
Application Due Dates
- First Friday of July, 7/7/17 at 11:59pm
- First Friday of October, 10/6/17 at 11:59pm
- First Friday of December, 12/1/17 at 11:59pm
- First Friday of February, 2/2/18 at 11:59pm
- First Friday of April, 4/6/18 at 11:59pm
Up to $700 per student.
The review committee (composed of one faculty member per college) evaluates each application according to a rubric. These are the criteria by which your application will be evaluated. Not all funding requests are accepted; therefore, we strongly recommend that you refer to the rubric when completing your application: Evaluation Rubric
Selection is competitive. The selection committee will not consider late or incomplete applications for any reason. You will be notified within two weeks of the deadline. All travel paperwork must be submitted within four weeks of the travel. For travel to conferences, students must be accepted to present at a conference and must provide documentation of their acceptance in their application.
All KSU-supported research projects are administered in accordance with established University fiscal procedures and research policies. These include all travel regulations, policies relating to the protection of human subjects, and policies related to intellectual property rights. All publications and presentations must acknowledge the assistance of Kennesaw State University.
The faculty member and students are expected to obtain Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval prior to collecting any data if the project includes research involving human or animal participants.
- Faculty mentors must be under contract at Kennesaw.
- Individual students may receive only $700 maximum per academic year.
- Each URCA application must contain one student only. For team projects consisting of two or more undergraduate researchers, each student should submit his or her own application consisting of distinct project descriptions (the sections written by the faculty mentor can be identical).
- Students who are not funded the first time they submit are strongly urged to apply again the following round if they can address the review committee's concerns.
- Requirements for travel funds:
- Students must be enrolled at KSU during the time period of the travel or have graduated the previous semester.
- The travel must be completed between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018.
- Travel must involve a presentation rather than travel for educational purposes only.
- Funded students must complete all travel-related paperwork no later than four weeks after their trip (or four weeks after receiving notification of funding if their travel occurred prior to the URCA deadline). Students who do not complete the paperwork in this timeframe will forfeit the funding.
- Students who travel in the months of May and June must submit their paperwork more quickly to meet University deadlines regarding funding; paperwork is due no later than one week after the trip or the funding will be forfeited.
- Requirements for supplies/materials funding:
- Students applying for supplies/materials must be currently enrolled students.
- Requests for materials that could be obtained in another manner (e.g., a book available at the library, software available for free at KSU) will not be funded.
- There is a plan for completing the research while the student is still an undergraduate.
Selection and Application Process
Electronic Proposal Submission Guidelines:
Applications must be submitted in the form below. The form consists of two sections: Faculty Section and Student Section. The faculty section should be clearly written by the faculty mentor; the student section should be clearly written by the student. Student sections that appear to have been written by the faculty mentor will not be considered.
Click here to view a sample application.
Click here to view the evaluation rubric.
It will be the responsibility of the individual submitting the proposal to ascertain that the proposal materials are complete when submitted (all requested information is included; no materials missing). The funding committee will not consider late or incomplete applications.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are some common problems in URCA applications?
#1 Problem Area: Project Description
- Too little detail (much fewer words than the maximum allowed).
- Identical submissions from students working on the same project (note that faculty are permitted to submit the same wording in their sections when serving as the faculty mentor for multiple URCAs).
- The description isn’t scholarly (e.g., no references are included).
- No (or vague) description of the methodology of the research.
- There aren’t results or hypothesized results (if you don’t have results yet for a Travel URCA, explain your timetable for having results before the conference).
- It is not clear if the project makes a unique contribution to the field.
- The writing is too technical; it is not comprehensible to a general audience.
#2 Problem Area: Budget
- Not itemized as specifically as reviewers like
- Not added up
- Obvious errors (e.g., “gas” instead of mileage; incorrect per diem amounts)
- No effort to reduce costs (e.g., everyone from the same team is driving separately to a conference several hours away)
#3 Problem Area: Writing errors (grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.). Consider the Writing Center.
#4 Problem Area(s): The Faculty Sections
- Written by the student, not the faculty mentor
- Very short or vague
What is the acceptance rate for URCAs?
URCAs have become increasingly competitive. In 2014-2015, 83% (29 of 35) were accepted. In 2016-2017, 42% (24 of 57) were accepted.
The good news is that there is more funding for undergraduate research now, and we anticipate the acceptance rate increasing.
What do funded URCAs have in common?
Typically, funding URCAs have the following characteristics:
- Clear, engaging, scholarly, well written description of the proposed research project, including how this research will make a unique contribution to the literature in this area.
- The results of the study are described in the project description, including implications or applications (in other words, why this research is important).
- Budget is itemized, totaled, and correct.
- The faculty mentor has indicated his/her interest and enthusiasm for mentoring students in general.
- The faculty mentor has indicated that students will learn a great deal from this project (e.g., making academic posters, networking, analyzing data, writing, public speaking, etc.).
Who evaluates URCA applications, and how do they make their decisions?URCA applications are reviewed by a committee consisting of one representative per college, plus the Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research. Each member individually evaluates each application according to the rubric. The scores for each application are averaged across each reviewer, providing a starting place for an in-person meeting. The committee meets, discusses the applications, and makes decisions.
Can I receive the funding to go to a conference, even if I’m not presenting?Unfortunately, we do not have enough funds to support students who are not actually presenting at the conference.
Can graduate students apply for this funding?
The trip/supplies cost more than $700; how can I get more funding to cover the costs?Sometimes departments and colleges can help support student research; ask your faculty mentor, department chair, and/or dean for more details. In addition, several divisions in the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) offer student travel awards - check here for more information. Finally, there are discipline-specific organizations that sometimes offer student funding; check with your faculty advisor for more information.
The URCA application requires information from both the student and the faculty mentor. How should we submit the application?The application should be submitted from one person, either the student or the faculty mentor. Whoever submits the application should gather the information from the other person before submitting. We recommend putting all of the answers in a Word document before submitting.
Can I submit my application late or revise the application once submitted?No. In order to be fair to all other applicants, we need to adhere strictly to deadlines, as all grants do.
I have been accepted to present at a conference that is occurring after I graduate, although I conducted the research as an undergraduate. Can I still apply for the funding?Yes - students are eligible for the funding up to one semester after graduating from KSU.
I used URCA funds for a conference that cost much less than $700. Can I apply again for another conference for the remaining amount?Yes; each student is limited to a maximum of $700 per academic year.
I am part of a team of undergraduate researchers presenting together at a conference. Can all of us submit one URCA application?No; each individual student must submit a solo URCA application. That means that if five people are traveling to a conference together to present one poster, there should be five separate URCA applications submitted. The sections written by the student should be clearly written by each student and should be different than the other applications. The sections written by the faculty mentor can be identical. The reason we ask teams of students to submit separate applications is because URCA funds are limited; it may the case that the committee cannot fund all of the students on a team, and they need a way to differentiate the student researchers.