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Summer Award for Research Courses

The Summer Award for Research Courses (SARC) is a tuition award offered for a wide range of Maymester and Summer Session I and II courses to give students the opportunity to enroll in research courses during the summer session. The award covers tuition for one three-hour research-intensive course for the student and provides $1000 for research supplies to faculty mentors teaching the mentored undergraduate research course.

“I feel that many students are turned away from research courses because they feel that they do not have the ability to function as independent researchers and without help. However, the reality is that undergraduate students tend to work under others who are willing to help and guide them towards a common goal set forth by the lab. This misconception is something I initially was subject to as well but I now understand the reality of it.”  Jash Mirani SARC 2020

Student Eligibility

Full-time undergraduates enrolled in a research course in a baccalaureate program at UNC-Chapel Hill and who are in good academic standing are eligible to apply. To receive the Summer Award for Research Courses, undergraduates must also be enrolled in both the semester before (Spring) and semester after (Fall) completion of the course. Rising seniors will receive priority. Please note that students are not eligible for both a Summer Award for Research Courses and a SURF during the same summer.

Course Eligibility

Eligible research courses must involve faculty-to-student, one-on-one mentorship. The Standard Course Numbers for mentored undergraduate research courses end in *95 (i.e., 195, 295, 395, etc.). Eligible research courses must be taught by a full-time UNC-Chapel Hill faculty member who holds a faculty appointment in a department or curriculum at UNC-Chapel Hill. The faculty research advisor may need to establish the appropriate course designation in the department.

Application Process

The faculty research advisor (not the student) completes and submits the application for the Summer Award for Research Courses application by April 15. Applications will be reviewed and decisions made by May 1st. Any questions related to the application process should be sent to

Selection Process

Staff members from the Office for Undergraduate Research and Summer School will review applications and determine award recipients.

Students are encouraged to apply for both the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship and the Summer Award for Research Courses, but must accept only one of these awards for the same summer.

Anticipated Number and Amount of Awards

We anticipate making up to 20 awards. Students may receive a tuition award for only one summer research course per summer.

End of Course Materials Required

You must submit the following documents to OUR to complete the terms of your Summer Award for Research Courses.  Please follow the instructions carefully.

Send one email to Dr. Bob Pleasants with the subject line “year program materials” (where “year”=current year and “program”=name of the fellowship, i.e., “2020 SARC materials”). Include items as attachments.

Each attached document should be saved with the following title format: “year_Lastname_Firstname_SARICitemname.” For example, “2020_Liu_James_SARCreflection” or “2020_Khairat_Omar_SARCslidedeck.”

All materials must be submitted by August 12.

1. Final Reflection Prepare a one-page reflection addressing the following:

  • What did you learn about the research process through your summer research experience?
  • What, if anything, would you do differently?
  • What, if anything, surprised you about your summer research experience?
  • How has this research experience affected your interests and career goals?
  • What suggestions would you give to a student applying for a SARC in the future?

This should be submitted as a Microsoft Word file (1-inch margins, 12pt. Times New Roman font, single-spaced). Please include your name and the title at the top of your reflection.

2. PowerPoint Prepare a three-slide PowerPoint slide deck designed to be understood by a GENERAL AUDIENCE (i.e., your friends and family, or high school seniors preparing to enter Carolina), which we will post on the OUR website. Use this format:

Slide #1:

    • Project title
    • Student’s name and major
    • Faculty advisor and faculty’s Dept.
    • Photo(s). These photos are used for publicity about students’ research. The photo should provide a clear view of the student’s face. In addition, the photo should help portray the student’s research. For example, a student researching water quality in the Neuse river might show himself or herself with an image of the river in the background; a student studying in a historical archive might take a picture of herself or himself in or in front of the archive; or a student researching dance performance might show himself or herself dancing. If this is a joint project with another student then you both may be in the photo with a caption indicating the name of each student.

If your project makes it difficult to take an action shot that shows your face and your research at the same time, you may submit two photos: one showing your research in progress, and a second photo for a headshot.

Slide #2:

Make sure to use vocabulary appropriate for a general audience. This is not intended to be the same kind of PowerPoint you would present at a meeting of people in your field or to your advisor.

    • What is your research question?
    • Why does your research question matter?

Slide #3:

As with Slide #2, you must make sure your vocabulary and phrasing would be understood by the average person. Avoid jargon, unspecified abbreviations, and subject-specific terminology (unless you define it on the slide).

    • What are your results?
    • Why are your results important to your scholarly or research community?
    • Why are your results important to a general audience?

3. Evaluation Complete the Summer Research Evaluation.

4. Faculty approvals Ask your faculty advisor to review your PowerPoint slide deck prior to submitting them. We strongly recommend that you send them the description of the requirements listed above along with your materials. We need your faculty advisor to send an email message to Dr. Bob Pleasants with the current year and name of your program and “approval” (i.e. 20xx SARC approval) in the subject line. They must include the following text in the body of the message: “I have reviewed __________ (student’s name)  PowerPoint slide deck and I approve of the content. The PowerPoint summary is suitable for display for general audiences on the OUR website.”

5. Upload your Power Point slide deck to The Carolina Digital Repository (CDR).  CDR is a secure digital home for the scholarly work of the Carolina community. When you deposit your articles, book chapters, data sets, media files and more in the CDR, we provide stable access for the long term. You decide who gets access – from a few colleagues to the entire world. The University Libraries will do the rest, making sure your work is findable, searchable and available to the audiences you specify.

If recipients are not currently registered for the Carolina Research Scholar Program, they will be invited to register.

Funding Source

Recipients should acknowledge support from Summer School and the Office for Undergraduate Research in any publication or presentation resulting from research conducted in the funded research course.

If you have any questions about the Summer Award for Research Courses please contact Dr. Bob Pleasants.