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Undergraduate Research Scholars Proposal

The Undergraduate Research Scholars Proposal is a description of the research you intend to undertake that will be reported in a detailed, comprehensive fashion in your completed thesis. The proposal must convince others of your ability to pursue the proposed research project to successful completion.

General Formatting Requirements

  • You must include the following information at the top of your document in the exact order listed:
    • Thesis Title
    • Your First and Last Name (UIN in parentheses)
    • Your Department
    • Your Faculty Advisor's First and Last Name
    • Your Faculty Advisor's Department
  • Maximum 1,000 words (excluding references and citations)
  • Microsoft Word Document with 1-inch margins
  • Times New Roman font, 12-point font size, Double-spaced text

Proposal Content Requirements

In preparing your proposal, keep in mind that the academic year you participate in the program should to be devoted to research. The Undergraduate Research Scholars Thesis that results from your research should be more than a laboratory report or a literature survey. Ideally, it should be suitable for publication in a professional journal or for delivery at a scholarly conference. Keep in mind that you must complete your research and prepare a polished thesis by early April of your second semester in the program. Choose your research topic and plan your project accordingly.

Your proposal must include following headings:

    • In less than 200 words, briefly describe what you propose to do and how you propose to do it. The abstract should contain a statement of the problem you will address, justification of its importance, and an indication of what you expect to achieve if successful.
    • In a few hundred words, lay out the problem that you wish to examine and suggest why it is an important object of scholarly inquiry in the context of your field. This usually requires a discussion of your literature review. Summarize pertinent previous research in this field, showing the relation of the material cited to your project, documented with citations from the literature. The Introduction should demonstrate that you have surveyed the state of knowledge in your research area and that you understand how your results will make an important contribution.
    • In 1-2 sentences, define your research objectives clearly and succinctly. State your hypothesis so that an intelligent reader understands what it is you are trying to accomplish. Articulate what new things you will learn through your research.
    • In one short paragraph, suggest how you propose to tackle your research question and what research methodologies you will employ. Describe the resources you need to do your research (e.g., laboratory, library or other space, documents or books you need to reference, databases you need access to) and people you will interact with during your research.
    • If you plan to use human subjects, vertebrate animals or biohazards you will need the approval of the appropriate compliance committee in the Research Compliance & Biosafety office. All Undergraduate Research Scholars must discuss with their faculty research advisor the potential need for obtaining research compliance approval for a project. Only the office of Research Compliance & Biosafety can formally issue a decision about whether or not a project requires committee approval.
    • If you answered YES to any of the compliance questions in Application Part 1, you are required to include the Research Compliance heading in your proposal submission, describing how you have obtained compliance approval for this project. Include any training you have completed, any compliance committee approvals you have obtained and any protocol numbers you have on record. If you have already pursued compliance approval for your project and were told by the Research Compliance & Biosafety office that no approval was needed, please state this under the Research Compliance heading in your proposal.
    • Include a list of references for all the literature cited in the text of your proposal. Do not include references that are not cited in the text. The references should be consistent in format with professional journals in your field. At least 4-5 references are expected.

Most Common Reasons That Proposals Are Returned To Students for Revision

  • The proposal lacks an abstract.
  • The objectives of the research are not clear. WHY are you doing this? What do you intend to learn? If successful, how will this work move your field forward?
  • You do not indicate that you are aware of or have obtained compliance approvals (human subjects, animals, biohazards).
  • The proposal lacks a methods section, or methods are vague, unclear, or incomplete.
  • The research proposed is based on first developing a critical technique or procedure. Will you still have a project if this technique or procedure fails?
  • The proposal does not include citations from the primary literature to support your justification, approach, or procedures, or it lacks a References section accurately citing these primary sources.
  • The proposal needs proofreading for grammatical, typographical, or format errors.
  • You have failed to complete Part 1 of the application.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Undergraduate Research Scholars program staff at ugr@tamu.edu, or visit our FAQs.