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Undergraduate Research Mentorship Program  

The Office of Undergraduate Research in collaboration with Office of Research and the Graduate School has created a new undergraduate research mentorship program that will provide funding and support for graduate students to mentor undergraduates in research and creative endeavors.

Current Program Application Timeline

Applications will be accepted for the Academic Year Mentorship Program from undergraduate students and graduate student mentors from any college. 

  • The deadline for Spring 2023 applications is February 6. (Application links below).

Spring 2023 Academic Year Undergraduate Research Mentorship Program

  • Graduate Student Mentors will be paired with undergraduates from similar disciplines or with similar research or creative endeavor interests. Undergraduate student mentees will have the opportunity to develop their own research project or creative endeavor mentored by the Graduate student, or to join a research project that is being conducted by a Graduate student. Graduate students can also provide information about graduate school, how to apply to graduate schools, what it means to be a graduate student scholar. 
  • There is no requirement for a specific research/project proposal in the academic year mentorship program, and there is no specific amount of research that should be accomplished.  Instead, this program is established to match a mentor with an undergraduate student and then allow that pair or small group of students to decide how best they want to work together.  The mentorship arrangement, for instance, can be less about specific research projects, and more about best kept secrets and tips for applying to graduate school.  
  • Applications will be accepted through February 6, 2023. 
  • Mentor pairings will be announced by mid/late February for the Spring semester.
  • Mentors applicants and mentee applicants will designate in the application what type of roles and opportunities they are seeking, and matches will be made accordingly. 

See below for a link to the Undergraduate Application.


  1. Increase access for UNC undergraduate students to engage in meaningful research and creative endeavors. High-impact practices such as undergraduate research and mentoring are known to increase persistence to graduation and admission to graduate programs. 
  2. Increase opportunities for UNC graduate students to develop key skills necessary for future growth in their academic pursuits, specifically mentoring and research. 
  3. Increase the capacity at UNC for faculty to pursue research and creative endeavors by expanding their connection to developing student researchers through funded opportunities. 
  4. Magnify the visibility and impact of UNC’s research pursuits and strengthen recruitment avenues at UNC for both graduate and undergraduate students.  

Structure and Key Requirements 

  • Centered on graduate student research or Undergraduate student ongoing projects
    • Graduate students apply to become research mentors in one of two categories:
      • 1) Graduate Directed Projects - Mentor students who will assist with graduate student directed research/creative projects
      • 2) Undergraduate Independent Projects - Mentor undergraduates who are working on their own research or creative projects. 
    • Undergraduate students apply to either join a graduate-student directed project or to be matched with a graduate student who will mentor the undergraduate student's own research or creative project. (The application will include the types of Graduate projects available).
    • Faculty members serve as supervisors of the graduate student and must approve the graduate student’s application. 
  • Projects
    • If the graduate mentor is applying to mentor undergraduate students to assist with a graduate student directed project, then the graduate student must provide a proposal that describes the research or creative project concept when applying to become a mentor.
      • The research or creative endeavor project may directly link to a faculty member’s work, and faculty are encouraged to apply for external grant funding that supports undergraduate research.  
      • Or the project may link to a graduate student research or creative endeavor that is not related directly to a faculty project. 
    • If the graduate student would prefer to mentor undergraduate students on the undergraduate student's own work, then no project proposal is due with the application.
    • The graduate student must designate at least one faculty member who will act as overall  supervisor and provide guidance when necessary.
    • The graduate student must upload a sample of past research or creative endeavors work.
  • Project periods

    • Academic Year 2022-2023: October 1 -May 6
    • Spring 2023: February 15- May 6
    • Summer 2023: June 1- August 20 
  • Hours
    • Hours may vary depending on the project:
      • Recommend a minimum of 6 hours per month for Academic Year mentoring and 12 hours per month for summer program.
    • Funding is available for the summer program. 

Project Work Plan and Deliverables 

  • Work plan/research proposal
    • Final work plan/research proposal is due by end of second week of the program to include: 
      • Work schedule/number of hours per week
      • Activities outlined for undergraduate students
      • Level and nature of mentor supervision 
      • Specific outcomes and products 
    • Deviations from the original work plan must be approved by OUR and faculty supervisor. 
  • Regular meetings
    • Minimum weekly contacts between mentor (graduate student) and undergraduate student (may be face to face, or over zoom or similar depending on project needs).  
    • Minimum of monthly meetings between mentor and Program coordinators.
  • Deliverables 
    • Research teams must commit to deliverables at the end of the program period, which may include any/all of the following: 
      • Final report (required for all). 
      • Presentation or alternate sharing of the work (required for all - and may be in a subsequent semester).
    • Submission for publication. (Optional)
  • Program evaluation 
    • Research teams must complete program evaluation at the end of semester.
    • Mentors and mentees should attend end of program wrap up event, if applicable. 

Professional Development and Trainings 

  • Mandatory meeting
    • Mandatory meeting for all participants at the beginning of the the program period.
  • Mentor training
    • Mentors participate in training sessions as needed and relevant during the grant period begins. Topics vary, and may be optional for academic year program. 
      • Example topics: Elements of Effective Mentoring/Developing a Mentoring Philosophy; Establishing Expectations and Maintaining Effective Communication; Assessing Understanding and Fostering Independence; Fostering Academic Literacy's; Research and Mentoring Ethics; Professional Development 
  • Required certifications 
    • Undergraduate and Graduate students must obtain and maintain certifications as needed for research with humans (IRB), animals, HIPPA, CITI, etc. 
    • Be familiar with and follow the institution policies regarding academic conduct 
    • Sign and comply with a participation agreement 

Funding Details

  • Financial awards
    • Financial awards for research team (dependent on final budget allocations) are available for the summer research program. 
      • Stipends depend on final number of recipients and available funding.
    • Supplemental funds for supplies may be applied for by the undergraduate students through the OUR grant program.
  • Disbursement 
    • Students must submit all required paperwork (such as I-9) to be eligible for funding by the deadlines provided.