URCA Funds Frequently Asked Questions
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)
#3 Problem Area: Writing errors
- Grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. Consider visiting the KSU Writing Center for assistance.
#4 Problem Area(s): The Faculty Sections
- Written by the student, not the faculty mentor
- Very short or vague
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?
The Director and/or Associate Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research will review applications with input from faculty experts. URCA submissions are evaluated according to the following criteria:
- Quality of writing
- Scholarly merit
- Impact on undergraduate researcher
- Faculty mentor track record (or potential track record for new faculty mentors)
Can graduate students apply for this funding?
Because the funding comes from the Office of Undergraduate Research, the funding can only cover undergraduate students. Contact The Graduate College for information on graduate student research funding.
The supplies cost more than $1,000; 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 funding - 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. Please use the provided application form to submit the application.
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.