Faculty Advisors

URS faculty advisors must be:

  • Tenured or tenure-track faculty members at Texas A&M
  • Hold the title of instructor in a tenure-track appointment at Texas A&M
  • Hold non-tenure track appointments as Assistant, Associate, and Full Professors with modified titles such as research, adjunct, clinical, executive, instructional, senior, and visiting, AND must demonstrate significant contributions to scholarly research or creative work to be considered

A letter of recommendation from the department head addressing research qualifications is required for the non-tenure track positions listed above. Lecturers are not eligible to be URS faculty advisors, however, Lecturers may serve as secondary advisors with eligible URS faculty members as primary advisors.

Visit the Dean of Faculties website for guidelines on faculty titles.

LAUNCH: Undergraduate Research prefers that faculty advisors and students are present on campus during the course of the program,* but we have had faculty successfully mentor students while on sabbatical, on a research trip, etc. Another option is to co-mentor with one faculty member present on main campus and the other advising remotely from a Texas A&M University System campus or outside institution.

Above all, we want to make sure that both students and faculty advisors are comfortable with each other’s availability and access to resources during that time. Please read our policy on students attending study abroad above.

*Note: Due to COVID-19, some students and/or faculty may need or choose to conduct research virtually.

No. However, students and Texas A&M faculty advisors must maintain regular communication throughout the two semesters (fall/spring) of the program. Students and faculty advisors should consult all program and submission deadlines before applying. No extensions will be granted without university-excused absences.

The URS thesis program is a high-impact practice and requires active participation from the faculty advisor. First, faculty are required to review and approve the URS proposal in the Scholars Thesis Submittal System (STSS) and agree to advise the student for the entire academic year (fall/spring). Second, faculty advisors are required to review and accept all written content before approving the student’s final thesis and embargo selection in the STSS. Faculty advisors do not submit draft thesis installments or progress reports on behalf of their students.

Faculty Responsibility Concerning Student Research Compliance

  • Faculty advisors who mentor undergraduates in the URS thesis program are solely responsible for advising and verifying student research compliance, research ethics, and necessary training. Faculty advisors are required to review and approve all aspects of URS applications and final theses, including the student’s Research Compliance Acknowledgement page in the application and Research Compliance Certification page in the final thesis.
  • Regulatory research committee (IRB and/or IBC and/or IACUC) approval is required before research activities involving human subjects, animals, or biohazards can commence. This requirement applies to activities conducted at Texas A&M and to activities at non-Texas A&M facilities and institutions. In both cases, students are responsible for working with Texas A&M’s office of Research Compliance & Biosafety to ensure and document that all Texas A&M compliance obligations are met before the research begins. Students and faculty advisors are encouraged to reach out to the appropriate research compliance committee as early as possible.

Faculty advisors are also expected to:

  • Meet regularly with students
  • Discuss benchmarks
  • Guide students to effectively meet challenges*
  • Expose students to research cultures and norms
  • Offer continuous feedback on research and writing skills
  • Advise students on public presentations, both venues and style
  • Teach students about ethical and professional behavior in research
  • Guide students through the process of obtaining research compliance approval (if necessary)
  • Maintain standards for learning outcomes that align with the QEP
  • Discuss potential research credit through 491 (0-4 credits) courses
  • Encourage students to submit to Explorations: the Texas A&M Undergraduate Journal and apply to the Undergraduate Research Ambassadors program.
  • Encourage students to apply to National Fellowships

*Note: Beginning 2020-2021, students are required to apply with a contingency plan for COVID-19 disruptions so they will still be able to complete the URS thesis program despite potential interruptions.

No. The URS thesis program does not fund students in the program. 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.

However, if a faculty advisor is currently funding students, or has students being funded in other areas, they can still advise these students on a URS thesis. Students can also use the LAUNCH: Undergraduate Research (UGR) Research Opportunities Database to search for funding options.

This is a high-impact practice recognized by Texas A&M’s QEP. URS faculty advisors should highlight their mentoring activities with students on annual reviews, and make department chairs and colleges aware of their involvement in undergraduate research activities. Remember you can even invite your students to assist with grant writing, attend conferences, and co-author publications with you.