Provost's Undergraduate Research Scholarship Program (PURS)
The Provost's Undergraduate Research Scholarship (PURS) program provides talented UH juniors and seniors with the opportunity to participate in a semester-long research project under the direction of a UH faculty mentor. Recipients will receive a $1,000 scholarship to conduct a one-semester research project with their faculty mentor. All full-time UH faculty members are eligible to participate as faculty sponsors. (This precludes adjunct faculty.) Faculty may nominate up to two students for a PURS.
The Fall 2021 PURS application has closed. Check this website in September 2021 for the spring 2022 PURS application details.
Please note that all PURS applicants must include a remote contingency plan as part of their application in the event that COVID-19 restrictions limit their access to campus and/or labs. Remote plans should include a communication plan with their faculty mentor, a proposed timeline and end-product, and discuss how the project may be adjusted if necessary.
The programs supported through the Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards would not be possible without the financial support of:
The Office of the Provost
Division of Research
The Honors College
Visit our listing of other campus and community partners who have supported the PURS and SURF programs.
Who is Eligible?
Juniors and seniors from all majors who have at least a 3.0 GPA are eligible to apply. Current sophomores who will be juniors in spring 2022 are eligible. Applicants must have earned at least 60 credits by the beginning of the mentorship period and must enroll in and maintain a minimum of 12 hours in the semester of the award unless they are students graduating that semester. Only University of Houston main campus students are eligible to apply.
Students who have completed fewer than 12 hours in residence at UH must have a 3.5 cumulative GPA on all college-level coursework taken at UH or elsewhere to be eligible to apply. Students must submit a transcript from the outside institution to verify the 3.5 GPA.
Who is NOT Eligible?
Students not attending the University of Houston main campus are ineligible. Previous PURS participants, graduate students and post-baccalaureate students NOT pursuing a second bachelor's degree are ineligible for PURS. Students may not enroll in a Senior Honors Thesis course or an independent study and receive a PURS scholarship in the same semester.
How to Apply
Students must complete the online PURS application, which requires:
- Statement of research objectives and goals (not to exceed 500 words)
- Information on your prior academic and research experience
- Name of the UH faculty mentor who will be providing a letter of recommendation
The statement of research should be:
- Composed in consultation with the faculty sponsor
- Written in first person and in your own words — not in your faculty mentor's words
- Specific in stating the tasks to be accomplished during the semester program; scope and goals of the proposed research should be clearly defined, including the relative importance of the proposed research within its discipline
- Free of any errors in spelling, grammar or syntax
The UH faculty mentor letter of recommendation should:
- Describe the student's qualifications
- Identify the area of research, creative or scholarly activities in which the mentor will engage the student
- Describe the faculty member's role as mentor to the student, including a description of how the proposed research relates to their on-going research
- Be submitted to the Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards
Competitive applications generally include:
- Demonstration of strong student academic record
- Research proposals in the student's own words that are clear, thorough, within the 500-word limit and free of errors in spelling, grammar and syntax
- Research proposals with clear, realistic goals that help the student focus and indicate that the project will lead to a substantive research experience for the student
- Descriptive and informative faculty letter of recommendation (1-2 pages in length), that specifically addresses the prospects for results in the projected time frame, the value of the research project and the ability of the student to undertake the project
Please be aware this is a competitive program with finite funding, and the Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards receives many more strong proposals than it is able to fund. For this reason, UH faculty are encouraged to limit their submissions to 1-2 proposals for student projects. The staff of the Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards is unable to share specific information about the assessment of individual applications after the decisions have been made.
Announcement: In addition to the 20 students who will receive the $1K PURS award, a smaller, select cohort of PURS applicants may receive a "competitive without funding" notification. This means that the applications of these students were judged to be worthy of funding by the selection committee, but unfortunately there were not enough resources available to award them the $1K scholarship. Students in this category will be encouraged to find another way to go forward with the research project, such as enrolling in independent study, securing funds through another source or volunteering to work without a stipend on the project. Students who are able to conduct the research in some other fashion will be considered PURS participants and will be invited to all the PURS activities, including the PURS kickoff event, and be entitled to all other privileges associated with the PURS program.
Working with Human Subjects: If your research proposal includes working with human subjects, then you must receive approval from the University's Institutional Review Board (IRB) prior to initiating your research. Please reference the University's IRB policy before submitting your research proposal.
- Students admitted to the program must perform at least 6-7 hours of research a week/total of 100 hours per semester under guidance of a faculty member.
- Students are expected to attend the PURS kickoff event during the first week of the semester and complete three short reflection essays at the start, mid-point and end of the program; PURS students are encouraged to also develop a research poster for Undergraduate Research Day.
- PURS recipients' names, faculty mentors' names, research descriptions and possibly photos may be included in the annual Undergraduate Research Day booklet and in other online and print promotional materials, such as the office's website, brochure and Facebook page.