PURC Center

Undergraduate Scholar Assistantships

Undergraduate Scholar Assistantships (USA) are offered each semester to support students working on scholarly projects while under the supervision of a faculty member.  Requests for these assistantships may include a student stipend of up to $1,200 ($10/hour, 10 hours/week, 12 weeks/semester) for the fall or spring semester or up to $800.00 ($10/hour, 10 hours/week , 8 weeks/summer) for the summer and up to $500 for research supplies or related expenses.  Funds not expended during a fall/spring semester award period may, with PURC director approval, be carried over into the following spring/summer unless the student has been awarded another USA for the semester into which the funds are to be carried  (Note: all funds shall be used prior to 30 June).  USA are funded in part by a grant through the Department of Education- Native American Serving Non-Tribal Institutions (DOE-NASNTI).

Timeline for USA Proposals 
Fall Term Projects

  • Submission of Proposals: 1 May through 30 June
  • Deadline for Proposal submission: 1 July
  • Award announcements: 1 August
  • Project start date: First day of fall semester classes

Spring Term Projects

  • Submission of Proposals: 1 August through 31 October
  • Deadline for Proposal submission: 1 November
  • Award announcements: 1 December
  • Project start date: First day of spring semester classes

Summer Term Projects

  • Submission of Proposals: 1 January through 31 March
  • Deadline for Proposal submission: 1 April
  • Award announcements: 1 May
  • Project start date: First day of Maymester classes

Regulations for USA proposals: 

1.   Proposal must be prepared by the student whose project will be considered for funding.  The supervising faculty member is strongly encouraged to mentor the student in this endeavor, but should not write the proposal for the student.  Faculty mentors must sign the application coversheet which indicates their approval of the proposed work and their responsibility for supervising the student.
2.  Only one (1) application per student investigator per semester is permitted.  The only exception to this stipulation is that a student may apply for and receive both a USA and a STF award in the same semester.

3.  Applications from multiple students simultaneously working on a larger project will be considered as long as the scholarly activity of each student is unique and well delineated (as decided by the PURC Council) from the goals of other students working on the same project.

Application Procedures for USA Applications
Applicants should deliver their completed packet (preferably in pdf or MS Word document format) via email to purc@uncp.edu.  A complete application will consist of the following components:

1.  A completed cover page that has been signed by the faculty mentor.  Electronic signatures are acceptable if the faculty member has the capability.  The cover page is a fillable pdf form that can be saved.

2.  An abstract or summary.

3.  A proposal narrative (not to exceed 2 pages) containing a detailed description of the scholarly project.  When writing the narrative, students should keep in mind the criteria listed in the evaluation section below.  Also, the narrative should address the type of project or where in the research process the student is working.  For example:

  • Beginning research: purpose, hypothesis, significance, your role in a larger project (if applicable) and methodology;
  • Ongoing research: purpose, hypothesis, significance, your role in a larger project (if applicable) methodology, preliminary results;
  • A creative activity: purpose, significance, medium, anticipated venues for presentation/performance

For all proposals, it is important to remember that the evaluation will be conducted by faculty members from a wide range of academic disciplines. 


4.  Budget: A concise budget in the form of a table.

5.  Budget Narrative:  (Not to exceed one page) The budget table should be accompanied by a descriptive justification of those line items included in the budget table.  The budget narrative does not have to be extensive but should include any level of student contribution toward the cost of travel, as well as any other sources of funding (e.g. faculty, departmental, fundraising). 


A committee made up of PURC Councilors will review applications and will evaluate proposals on clarity, significance, relevance, and learning outcomes. All applicants will receive notification by email regarding the status of their applications as soon as possible after the review.  Some applications may be awarded at a reduced level.
Evaluation Criteria for PURC Center USA applications


• Use of language that is understandable to those outside of the discipline.
• Quality of writing with respect to grammar, organization, clarity, etc.


• The project’s importance for the student’s career, research or academic advancement.   
• Student’s fit to the project. 
• Feasibility of the project for the institution, faculty, and student to complete.


• Project’s focus on unanswered questions or unexplored areas in the respective discipline.
• Proposal’s development of new, innovative, or effective methods of study.
• The project goal’s impact on understanding an important area relative to the discipline.

Learning Outcomes

• Project’s outcomes in line with the goals of UNCP* and PURC**. 
• Student will receive tangible benefits by participating in this project (e.g. public presentations, publications, awards, etc.).

*See the University Mission Statement (http://www.uncp.edu/about-uncp/universitys-mission
**See the PURC website front page (http://www.uncp.edu/purc/)


By accepting a PURC USA the student and supervising faculty member obligate themselves to the following requirements.  Failure to meet any of these may prevent the student from receiving further grants from the PURC center.

  • A one-page final report summarizing the results of the project must be submitted to the PURC Center Director, due at the end of the award period.
  • All funds must be spent within the fiscal year and cannot be carried into the next fiscal year.
  • Each awardee will be expected to participate in the annual PURC Symposium.

Incomplete applications will be returned without review.