Applying to URS

The Undergraduate Research Scholars (URS) thesis is a professional document that reflects the culmination of an individual student’s or team of student’s novel and unique research project. URS theses are published in the Undergraduate Research Scholars Capstone Collection of Texas A&M University’s OAKTrust Digital Repository.

There are seven URS thesis templates to choose from depending on the norms of research in a student’s research discipline. Students should discuss the appropriate template to use with their faculty advisor and download the template that is right for them from the URS Resources webpage.

Due to COVID-19, students are required to apply with a contingency plan that describes how the URS project will be completed if they are unable to follow the scope of the original project proposal. The purpose of this contingency plan is to help students complete the URS thesis program on time and to fulfill graduation or other program requirements, such as Honors.

Depending on the project, this contingency plan could address, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Lack of physical access to research space, data, or other resources
  • Limited and/or restricted travel
  • Inability to hold in-person meetings
  • Partial or incomplete data, trials, experiments, reviews, analyses, design, etc.
  • Virtual project completion if moved fully online

Students must give a detailed description of a contingency plan that will guide them as they plan ahead for potential disruptions and/or unanticipated impacts of COVID-19 on their URS thesis.

Beginning 2020-2021, students who are unable to complete research in traditional face-to-face settings* OR have other limitations may consider the NEW Journal Style Thesis that is available. This may apply to students who are:

  • Limited by COVID-19-related restrictions and/or disruptions
  • Unable to do in-person research
  • Lacking funding for their research project
  • Limited by travel restrictions
  • Limited by timeframe to conduct a full-scale research project
  • Conducting an interdisciplinary project where they lack a team member with a particular skill or a lab environment with access to particular equipment
*Note: Due to COVID-19, some students and/or faculty may need or choose to conduct research virtually.
Additional Notes:

Undergraduate students can apply as an individual or a team. See the question “Can I apply with my research team?” for team requirements.

Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Be actively involved in an independent undergraduate research project throughout both the fall and spring semesters under the mentorship of a Texas A&M faculty member
  • Must be enrolled at Texas A&M as an undergraduate during both the fall and spring semesters of the program cycle
  • Have completed at least 60 credit hours (junior status) of undergraduate course work
  • Have at least 24 credit hours at Texas A&M University (at least 12 hours for transfer students)
  • Have and maintain a cumulative GPR of at least 3.0

Students should apply early as possible. The URS application is open between June and September each year.

Students must consult faculty advisors to determine whether or not compliance approval and/or training is required for their URS projects. Students who need research compliance approval must be cleared by the appropriate committee(s) in the Research Compliance & Biosafety (RCB) office. Students are not permitted to collect any data until required research compliance approval has been received and/or required training has been completed.

Be aware that students who need to register for research courses associated with their URS projects are still subject to the Registrar’s course registration calendar. Students should submit applications with plenty of time for processing and review before notification of acceptance. Submit applications as early as possible and consult the Registrar’s academic calendar when applying.


Teams can be 2-5 students working on a common thesis document under the same Texas A&M faculty advisor, but each member must be responsible for individual contributions to the project. It is expected that team members have equal writing responsibilities.

Each team member is required to submit applications, progress reports, public presentations, presentation reports, and final thesis submissions. Teams should divide up responsibilities and designate the percentage of expected contributions for each member.

Teams must select one member as the Primary Contact. This member will be the primary point of contact for all submissions and correspondence in the URS thesis program.

No. The URS thesis program spans a full academic year and students must be actively involved during the fall and spring semesters (in that order). Students must be enrolled as undergraduates for both the fall and spring semesters of the program.

Yes. However, students are still subject to all program and submission deadlines, and must meet all mandatory event requirements. Also, before leaving, students must make sure that they have access to all equipment and materials they will need to complete their thesis.

Extensions will not be granted if students do not have access to all necessary materials for their research (i.e., lab spaces, libraries, archives, books, computer and Internet access, etc.).

Additionally, students must also make sure that their Texas A&M faculty advisor is aware of their travel plans and they must maintain regular communication while traveling.

Yes. Students participating in the Aggie Research Program (ARP) can also participate in the Undergraduate Research Scholars (URS) thesis program at the same time if the faculty advisor is willing to support the interested students through both programs.

The URS thesis program accepts team applications; however, all team members may not be eligible for the URS thesis program. If teammates cannot participate or do not want to participate in the URS thesis program, they can still remain on the ARP project. We recommend that ARP students interested in the URS thesis program communicate with their teammates and faculty advisor clearly so everyone understands who is participating in the URS thesis program, what information will be included in the thesis, and who will be credited on the thesis. Only students accepted into URS can be listed as authors on the URS thesis.

Yes. LAUNCH: Undergraduate Research (UGR) staff at Texas A&M University, College Station direct the URS thesis program. Students can apply for the URS thesis program by following the instructions on the URS Thesis Application webpage.


Caruth School of Dental Hygiene, College of Dentistry, Health Science Center in Dallas Texas A&M University at Galveston Higher Education Learning Center at McAllen Texas A&M University at Qatar
Dr. Faizan Kabani
Dr. Lene Petersen
Dr. Aldolfo G. Santos
Dr. Ryan McLawhon


  • Program dates and deadlines vary by campus and campus-specific academic calendars. Check out the latest program schedule for up-to-date information.
  • Students at the Caruth School of Dental Hygiene are required to use the Dental Hygiene URS thesis template.
  • Students at Texas A&M University at Galveston may be eligible to receive additional funds through the Texas Sea Grant Scholars Program if projects are related to marine environments.
  • Students at the Higher Education Center at McAllen may be eligible to participate in the URS thesis program if they work with an appropriate faculty member (see "Who can be a faculty advisor?" question below.). Additional Capstone opportunities through LAUNCH are available at

Yes. Students may participate in the URS thesis program twice if they have two separate research projects. We often have students participate during their junior year and return during their senior year with a different project.

If students complete the program twice, they still receive only one medallion and are recognized in their graduation ceremony program once.

Yes, the URS thesis program is designed to accommodate students at various stages in their research projects. Students may apply to the program with a brand-new idea for a project that they have not started yet, or they may apply with a project they are already actively working on. Students still need to meet all URS thesis program requirements and might be asked to revise their current project upon application to the program.

Students can participate in the URS thesis program with a completed project, but they must still adhere to the program deadlines, produce a written thesis document using one of our templates, and work with a faculty advisor who will approve their proposal and final thesis.

Note: A formal undergraduate research thesis is different from a class research project or paper. Depending on the scope and nature of your completed project, it may become necessary to do additional research to expand your thesis.

No. The URS program does not fund students. However, students may be conducting research under a faculty advisor from whom they receive remuneration for their research duties.

The URS thesis program has limited travel awards and poster vouchers available exclusively for students accepted into the URS thesis program to fulfill the public presentation requirement. Information about travel awards and poster vouchers can be found in the program's Thesis Manual & Policy Guide.

No. However, students may need or want to have this experience count for course credit. They can do that in four ways:

  • UGST 405 Thesis Writing Course (1 credit hour W course held in the spring semester, only available to students accepted in the URS thesis program)
  • 491 Research Credit (0-4 credits)*
  • UGST 497 Honors Research Capstone Experience* (only available to students in the University Honors Program, please speak to a University Honors Program advisor to determine how many credits to take)
  • Substitution for senior design

*Note: 0-credit 491 and 0-credit 497 courses show up on student transcripts but will not affect their degree plan hours or add tuition costs.

The URS thesis program can count towards course credit if a student enrolls in a 491 (0-4 credits) through their academic department. Students should speak to their faculty research advisor(s) and departmental advisor(s) about registering for research course credit. Signing up for research course credit is a great way for students to get credit for the work they are doing.

Note: 0-credit 491 courses show up on student transcripts but will not affect their degree plan hours or add tuition costs.

Yes. Students accepted into the URS thesis program receive priority registration but only for the spring semester that they continue in the URS thesis program. Spring semester priority registration will allow students to plan their course schedules so they can conduct their research effectively. Once students complete the URS thesis program in the spring, they will not continue to receive priority registration for future semesters.

Note: Students using the URS thesis program to fulfill requirements of other programs are also subject to the constraints of those programs. University Honors Program students must be in good standing to receive priority registration. Students should work with faculty, departmental, and honors advisors to ensure they are on track with the necessary requirements. If a student is on probation, has a hold on their student account, or are classified as a non-degree seeking student, they will not receive priority registration

Faculty Advisor Approval: After students complete both parts of the application, faculty advisors must review and approve the application in the STSS. The LAUNCH: UGR office cannot fully process applications until faculty advisor approval has been submitted.

Revisions: LAUNCH: UGR staff will review faculty-approved applications and may return them for revisions. Students should take note of individual deadlines provided by LAUNCH staff in any revisions request emails they receive. Always notify faculty advisor(s) if a submission has been returned for revisions by LAUNCH: Undergraduate Research (UGR) staff.

Program Acceptance: Official acceptance into the URS thesis program is granted by the LAUNCH: UGR office and must be completed within the deadlines given for revisions. Students and faculty advisors will each receive a separate notice from LAUNCH: UGR when all approvals have been processed and students have officially been accepted into the program. Depending on when students submit, faculty advisor approval is received, and revisions requests are addressed, students may receive program acceptance notifications as late as the first week of October.

Upon graduation, students are recognized as Undergraduate Research Scholars, which is only one of two university-level honors distinctions. This stand-alone honors distinction will appear on official student transcripts after they graduate, and in the graduation ceremony program. Students also each receive official graduation regalia, an Undergraduate Research Scholars medallion.

Medallions are distributed to students at the end of the semester in which they graduate.

If a student is unable to attend the LAUNCH recognition events, medallions are also distributed at each graduation ceremony. Email with questions about the annual LAUNCH Recognition Ceremony in May and other LAUNCH recognition events.

Note about COVID-19 Policies: Commencement/graduation activities are dependent on university policies. Visit the official Texas A&M Graduation website for more information and updates. Visit our COVID-19 page for LAUNCH-specific updates.