Common Questions

How do I find a faculty sponsor?

Students with a specific research interest or set of questions may contact concentration advisors or faculty whose classes they have enjoyed, or they can browse Brown's Research Directory to find other faculty working in this area. Students who learn more about a faculty member's research, then meet with the professor during office hours or make an appointment usually fare better than those who send various faculty members generic emails.

Can I conduct an UTRA with a faculty member remotely? 

Faculty sponsors and students are expected to be on site together. Sponsors are asked to meet with student collaborators on a regular basis for most of the summer. The UTRA Committee expects that the student and faculty member will meet a minimum of once a week so that there are structured opportunities to discuss the ongoing work. Students working in the humanities and social sciences should contact Dean Adetunji if they have concerns.

How do I apply for a Team UTRA?

Each student on a team submits an individual application and does not need to indicate that he or she is working on a Team UTRA. Faculty applicants, on the other hand, must add each student to their application and must provide a compelling argument when requesting multiple student researchers. Faculty are asked to discuss each student team member's role and unique strengths. Please note that the Committee is under no obligation to award the UTRA to each student-applicant. In the case where a particular student's contribution to the team is not made evident - on either the student or the faculty member's application - that student may not be awarded an UTRA. Additional information is provided here.

What selection criteria does the UTRA committee use?

The quality of the collaboration is a key factor in the selection process. In making these awards, preference is given to students and faculty who have demonstrated a high level of motivation and interest in the field(s) represented in the project and who bring ideas and background that strengthen the probability of a collaborative partnership. Additional details are provided in the Applying for an UTRA page.

Am I eligible for a second UTRA?

The College wants every Brown undergraduate to have at least one undergraduate research experience. Applications for a second summer UTRA will be reviewed with this goal in mind. Often, students with strong applications whose research interests have grown in new directions working with the same faculty or have developed new faculty collaboration since receiving a first UTRA will be wait-listed, and may be funded. Students who have had a semester UTRA are not disadvantaged when being considered for a summer UTRA. Students may only apply for one UTRA project at a given time.

Are UTRA recipients eligible for a Summer Earning Waiver (SEW) award?

Students on financial aids with a summer earnings expectation are eligible to receive a single SEW award during their time as an undergraduate at Brown.

What if I receive another summer fellowship?

Students who are awarded an UTRA and also receive another fellowship from the University (e.g., Royce or Mellon Mays) or from another source will be asked to choose one.

Is summer housing provided? 

On-campus housing is NOT provided to summer UTRA recipients. Students generally sublet apartments in the Providence area for the summer, or live in summer housing offered by Residential Life.

Can I take a summer class while conducting an UTRA? 

Summer UTRAs constitute a full-time job. Students are strongly discouraged from taking summer courses during the weeks they expect to be working on their research. Students should contact Dean Adetunji with questions or concerns.

How will my work be evaluated? 

Faculty generally require an end-of-summer report or paper for an UTRA. An online evaluation is also sent to UTRA awardees requesting feedback on the program and on the collaboration. Summer UTRA recipients may participate in the Summer Research Symposium, like all other students conducting research at Brown during summer.

Can I extend a summer UTRA into the fall? 

Students can “extend” a summer curriculum UTRA only if the faculty member's initial UTRA application includes an extension request. If students realize that they need more time to complete other kinds of summer research projects, they can apply for a spring semester UTRA, which has a November deadline.