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Undergraduate Student Opportunities in Academic Research (USOAR)

Student Hector Quijano with associate professor Eileen Cho
Student Hector Quijano with associate professor Eileen Cho

USOAR Overview

Welcome to the UVA Undergraduate Student Opportunities in Academic Research Program, otherwise known as USOAR. USOAR is a program that targets rising first-year, second-year and transfer undergraduate students who qualify for Federal Work Study and do not have previous significant experience in research and provides opportunity for a paid research position. USOAR introduces students to the enriching experiences surrounding research and provides them with the chance to build strong relationships with faculty. Students apply for a research position with a particular faculty member who will oversee their progress throughout the course of the semester or year. Students will spend 5-10 hours per week working with their faculty supervisor in research-related tasks or projects during the fall and spring semesters.

USOAR offers opportunities research opportunities from faculty representing all of the schools and colleges at the University of Virginia.

Application: the application deadline for USOAR 2021-22 has passed

Applications were due by Tuesday, August 10th at 11:59 p.m. 


Who may apply?

Rising first-year, second-year, and transfer undergraduate students who are enrolled at UVA for 2021-22 and eligible for Federal Work-Study. 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.

How do I apply?

  • Review the position descriptions listed below and identify up to 3 positions that interest you.
  • Create your resume (see Helpful Materials below).
  • Create a statement of interest addressed to the faculty mentor for each position for which you wish to apply.  This statement provides you with an opportunity to introduce yourself to faculty mentor/s. It should convey your background and your motivation for wanting to do research. You should also discuss the impact you think doing research will have on your future.  This statement should also express your interest in the position and your qualifications and skills. (500 words maximum).
  • Obtain a PDF copy of your UVA transcript or high school transcript if you are a rising first year (this may be unofficial).
  • Submit all components using the application link above. 

2021 - 22 USOAR Timeline

  • July 8 - Applications open 
  • August 10th - Application Deadline
  • August 16th - 24th – Tentative Interviews of applicants by faculty
  • August 27th – Tentative USOAR student selection deadline
  • September 6th - UNST course begins

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 section times after being selected for the program.

NB: USOAR students may not request that their UNST instructor sign the Credit Hour Overload Request to enroll in a UNST course. 

Helpful Materials

  • Information on Federal Work Study at UVA is available through this link. Please note that the USOAR program and other FWS positions are only available during the academic year and not during the summer. 
  • 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):
  • Advice and tips on interviewing effectively

  • Visit the University Career Services for more helpful resources!