The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) awards scholarly fellowships that enable students to design and conduct their own research projects in collaboration with a faculty member.

The program brings together diverse areas of undergraduate student research and creative activities across all academic disciplines while fostering student-faculty collaboration.

UROP Fellowship Benefits

  • Receive funding for your research or creative activity idea:
    • Stipend: $3,000
    • Supplies and Materials: $500
    • Travel: $400
  • Professional development: Design and implement a formal research or creative activity project; develop your career skills through written and oral communication; network with faculty, peers, and the business community.
  • Connect with professors: At the core of the fellowship is your work with a professor who inspires and mentors you.
  • Meet like-minded peers outside your major: Throughout the program, you’ll attend monthly luncheon meetings with other students who are also pursuing UROP projects.
  • Gain valuable experience: You’ll learn how to submit a formal proposal, create a project budget, and manage project logistics, as well as data management techniques.
  • Present your research: You’ll deliver a presentation at the University’s annual Thinking Matters conference, our student research symposium.
  • Travel and networking: UROP fellows often participate in regional, national, and international meetings and conferences within their respective disciplines.


UROP is open to all undergraduate students at the University who meet the following qualifications:

  • Fellowships will be awarded to students who are studying in their third or fourth year.
    • You can apply as early as the Spring semester of your second year, and begin your research project at the beginning of your third year.
  • Enrolled in at least 6 credit hours.
  • Have a GPA of 2.5 or greater.
  • Have connected with a faculty mentor to collaborate on a research project.

The Fellowship Award

Students who receive a UROP Fellowship will be awarded a budget of:

  • $3,000 stipend
    • These funds can be used as you see fit, based on your project proposal.
  • $500 for supplies and materials
    • This includes any equipment needed to conduct your research.
  • $400 for travel
    • Travel funds can be used for any training you’ll need, as well as traveling to meetings or conferences to present your work.

Planning for Your Fellowship

Project Timeline

The UROP fellowships are granted for one full academic year, starting in the fall. However, many students opt to begin their work during the summer, due to seasonal factors for data collection and travel opportunities.


  • Applications are reviewed beginning the first week of May. Because of the closing of the University’s campuses due to Covid-19, many students and faculty were unable to meet and talk about ideas for developing a proposal. Therefore, this year we are going to be accepting proposals, as long as funds are available, until July 31.
  • Awards are announced.


  • New UROP awardees may elect to begin their project and use the expense budget for travel, materials, and supplies. The stipend funding, however, will not be awarded until September 1.


  • The UROP programming officially begins!
  • Required monthly luncheon meetings begin, where you’ll find:
    • Group discussions about how your research is progressing — what’s working well, and any challenges you’re facing
    • Administrative support for your project
    • Practice presentations for the Annual Research Symposium and Thinking Matters, as well as any upcoming meetings or conferences you may be attending


  • You’ll have an opportunity to present your research process, experience, and findings at the UROP Poster Symposium.


  • You’ll have an opportunity to present at Thinking Matters, the University’s annual student research symposium, where both undergraduate and graduate students present research posters and dynamic lighting talks.

How to Apply

  • Talk with a professor whose teaching or scholarship is of great interest to you.
    • Please note: You could begin this process before you become eligible for the fellowship.
    • Meet to talk about project ideas, feasibility, and professional development benefits.
    • This may include an exploration of current literature on your topic of interest and how, or what, your learning and research could add to the field of study.  
  • When you, and your professor, feel the project plan is scholarly, well organized, and will be a valuable learning experience, you’re ready to prepare your application.

Application Resources:

  • Application GuideThis guide provides you with a breakdown of the questions you’ll need to fill out on your application.
    • You can prepare your responses in a separate document.
  • UROP Application Selection Criteria: This is the scoring rubric used to review applications and make final funding decisions.
    • Use the scoring rubric as a guide for what kind of information to include, and to articulate how the project will benefit your professional development and career goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you don’t see an answer to your question below, please contact R. Bruce Thompson, Director of UROP.

Research Project Topics

  1. First, contact the person in your department or program with the closest connection to your topic, and begin a conversation about a possible collaboration. At the very least, they should be able to guide you to another colleague who may be a good fit for the program.
  2. If you are not successful in doing so, please contact the UROP Director, R. Bruce Thompson so we can help identify a faculty match.
  • No. Some UROP awards are made to students who join a faculty member’s existing research or scholarly program. But, some awards are for new, original ideas generated by the student.
  • The direction of proposals can happen in two ways:
    • A student approaches a faculty member with an idea; or
    • A faculty member invites a student to collaborate on a project idea. The only stipulation is that the project is “owned” by the student (i.e., they are given “principal investigator” status).
  • The project, even if the idea is generated by the faculty, should be aligned with the goals, knowledge, and interests of the student.

No, they don’t have to have direct experience. As long as the prospective faculty mentor is able and willing to guide the inquiry from a conceptual standpoint —great! The key issue is deciding whether the combination of your level of expertise and your faculty mentor’s wisdom/knowledge can successfully bridge the gaps in knowledge you both have on the topic.

  • In circumstances where a faculty member’s research program has sub-projects, more than one student can be awarded a fellowship if their contributions represent distinctly different aspects of work and are equivalent in scope to other UROP projects.
  • If two people wanted to collaborate on a single project that, as a whole, represented one full project (i.e., not two that go together) then they would need to split a fellowship.


Yes, but only for projects receiving NASA/Maine Space Grant funding require students to be US citizens. All other projects do not require citizenship or permanent residency.   UROP is a fellowship which, like a scholarship, is disbursed at the discretion of the University, not the US government (e.g. federal financial aid programs). 

  • Yes, but only in rare situations:
    • Reduction in required credit hours (less than 6 in a semester); or
    • Attendance problems for monthly meetings or required events (Annual Poster Symposium and Thinking Matters)

Project Timeline & Time Commitment

  • You can opt to begin the project almost immediately after the award is announced (early/mid-May) — if summer preparation or seasonally-specific data collection is required. You can then draw upon your budget items for supplies and materials, and Travel, but your Stipend will begin in September.
  • All UROP awardees must start by the first day of the Fall Semester.
  • The required luncheon meetings (during which we provide lunch for you) are once per month, so overall, a very manageable time commitment.
  • We establish meeting dates early on so applicants can judge in advance if their schedules can accommodate the work, meetings, events, etc.


  • All proposals (whether for physics or social anthropology) have the same overall structure:
    • Question/problem/issue statement
    • Previous approaches (i.e., literature review)
    • Clear identification of your aims/approach to the question/problem/issue. The writing style, and mechanics (grammar, diction, etc.) should be closely guided by your faculty mentor, including final proofing/editing.

An application has to indicate how important the topic is to you. Yes, the topic should be intellectually significant within the field of study, but only as it relates to your academic and/or career goals.

Project Budget

  • You should include anything and everything that impacts your ability to complete the Project — including items such as books that are needed for your learning about the topic. A modest or small budget will not increase your chances of being awarded the fellowship.
  • The limit for materials and/or equipment is $500. If you can easily spend far more, then prioritize to first include “mission critical” expenses, then see what’s left for other purchases.

This is not a problem as long as the change in materials/equipment remains in line with the project goals. Lots of projects have unexpected cost changes (often in either direction — less for one thing, but more for another). As long as changes are very carefully explained to the UROP budget office and have the backing of the faculty mentor, line items can be changed or redistributed.

  • The travel budget ($400) is to pay for (or at least defray costs) attending a conference or professional meeting.
  • The student must be a presenter (e.g., poster, talk, performance) at the conference or meeting. However, if students want to attend an event at which they are not a presenter, it still can be paid for if it’s presented as a clear learning opportunity directly related to his/her project.
  • The travel must be paid for during the period of the fellowship.

If any expense is directly related to training, knowledge, or analysis such as software, licensing, workshop/conference/training fees, they can be included.

The UROP fellowships are granted for one full academic year, starting in the fall. However, many students opt to begin their work during the summer, due to seasonal factors for data collection and travel opportunities.