Undergraduate Student Opportunities in Academic Research (USOAR) Overview

Welcome to the UVA Undergraduate Student Opportunities in Academic Research Program, otherwise known as USOAR. This is a new program that targets rising first-, second- and transfer undergraduate students who do not have previous significant experience in research and are looking to participate in paid research opportunities with faculty members within their area of interest. USOAR not only introduces students to the enriching experiences surrounding research, it also provides students with the chance to build strong relationships with faculty. Students apply for a student research position with a particular faculty member who will oversee their progress throughout the course of the semester or year. Some positions also give students the opportunity to work with advanced undergraduate peer mentors and graduate student researchers. Students will spend 5-10 hours per week working with their faculty supervisor in research-related tasks or projects.

When most students think of research at UVA, they often think of research within the sciences. USOAR offers opportunities in the sciences but it also offers research opportunities in the humanities and social sciences. In 2014-15, the USOAR program included positions with faculty members in Batten, Curry, Arts & Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Thanks to a generous grant from the Jefferson Trust, USOAR will continue to serve students during the upcoming 2015-16 academic year with a goal of 50 program participants. An additional grant from the Parents Fund will allow for even more student participants in the future.

Parents Fund Logo


Although the majority of these positions will be offered to students who are eligible for the Federal Work-Study Program, a few positions will also be offered to non-work-study students. Ideal applicants will have good time management skills, an ability to work independently as well as with supervision, and some background in and understanding of their area of interest.

The USOAR application will open on July 6th. The deadline to submit applications for USOAR 2015-16 is August 7th. Click here to join a mailing list with announcements about the USOAR program: usoar-applicants@virginia.edu

Who may apply?

Rising first-second-year and incoming transfer undergraduate students enrolled at UVA for 2015-16.

How do I apply? (Application opens July 6th)

  • Review the position descriptions listed below and identify up to 3 positions that interest you.
  • Create your resume (see Helpful Materials below).
  • Create a cover letter that states your interest in the position and your qualifications and skills; you may want to submit more than one cover letter if you are interested in more than one position. (Again, see Helpful Materials below for tips on writing cover letters.)
  • Follow the instructions below to submit your application materials:

*Please note: Since we are utilizing a testing function in Collab for an application, you will see testing language. Do not worry, this is an application not a test that is graded!

2015-16 Positions.























Other Requirements

USOAR students will be required to take a one credit course, UNST 2810 – Introduction to Academic Research, during the fall semester and UNST 2811 - Introduction to Academic Research II in the spring semester. This course will supplement student’s research work experience with discussion on research-related issues such as research ethics, meeting faculty expectations, reviewing peer-reviewed literature in different disciplines, designing independent research projects, and other topics related to the program. The time for this course will be announced later this summer. Participants will have a choice of registering for one of two fall section times after being selected for the program.

Helpful Materials

USOAR and University Career Services have put together a list of links to help interested students write their resume and cover letter. Please refer to the links below in order to strengthen the application and prepare for the interview process.

A brief overview of the resume writing process that includes examples of different kinds of resumes (including resumes for students who don’t yet have work experience):

A brief guide to the cover letter writing process with examples that will give students a visual of how their cover letter should look and what it should contain:

Advice and tips on interviewing effectively:

Interview Stream: a great tool that allows students to experience an interview and learn how to improve their responses. Students can use Interview Stream to video interview themselves and see how they respond both verbally and non-verbally:

Visit the University Career Services website for more helpful resources!

USOAR in the News

USOAR Uses Work-Study to Introduce Undergrads to Research
January 28, 2016 – University of Virginia students have always been resourceful when it comes to balancing their academic careers with hours spent doing paid work around Charlottesville. Now, a growing program based out of UVA’s Center for Undergraduate Excellence is helping combine those two pursuits.

Questions? Contact Brian Cullaty at brc7q@virginia.edu or 434-924-3306