Faculty-Initiated Projects

Students may apply to a research project in a faculty lab and if accepted, enroll in a 199, earning research units while experiencing the research process and being mentored by lab researchers. Funding of $500 is generously provided to SPUR by the Natural Resources Fund and is available to the research lab accepting undergraduate SPUR students to defray expenses for equipment and supplies, as available.

Before You Apply:

Application and Selection Process:

Program Requirements

Continuing with SPUR and Sharing Your Research

Student Eligibility
Students must be in the College of Natural Resources at the time of application. Intended Rausser College students are not eligible until declared. Students must also have completed at least one semester at Cal and have a minimum 2.0 overall GPA to qualify for enrollment in independent study research units. Students do not need to be declared in a major to apply. Transfer students are eligible to apply in their first semester.

How to Select a Project
Research opportunities for fall, spring, or summer projects initiated by Rausser College faculty labs will be available for viewing under the "Find and Apply to a Faculty Project" tab on the SPUR website at the beginning of each term. See the calendar for exact dates. All interested students are directed to visit faculty members during their office hours to discuss the research opportunities posted. Students may apply to up to THREE faculty-initiated projects per semester, but may work on only one project.

Note: The process described below includes the spring/fall semester deadlines. Different deadlines apply to summer projects.

Preparing and Submitting Your Application
Available projects can be found under the Find and Apply to a Faculty Project tab. The following is required for each project you wish to apply to:

  • Unofficial transcript from CalCentral
  • Personal Statement
  • Resume

Unofficial transcripts or "Academic Summary" can be accessed through CalCentral. Go to "My Academics" then click "View Academic Summary." On you Academic Summary there is a "Print" button on the right. Click it. The use the drop down to "Save as PDF." Upload the Academic Summary PDF with your application. Transfer students may upload unofficial transcripts from other academic institutions.

The personal statement is your opportunity to explain why you are interested in a particular research project, and to highlight the skills and abilities that you may contribute to the project in return. One page single spaced maximum

  • Discuss why you are interested in this project
  • Describe how your personal background and experiences have informed your decision to pursue a SPUR research project. Your statement could one or any of these:
    • Present a compelling image of you as a person, and your potential success as a member of the Rausser College research community.
    • Highlight your understanding of or experiences with a non-traditional educational background, or groups historically under-represented in research.
    • Direct readers’ attention to the evidence of your promise for research, and address any potential deficiencies in your academic record.
  • What skills do you hope to gain from participating in this project? And how does this project fit with your overall educational and career goals?

You are encouraged to utilize the resume writing resources available through the Career Center.

Your application details will appear in the My Projects tab of the SPUR student website once it has been uploaded. You may edit your application until the deadline.

Faculty Selection Process
After the application stage has ended, faculty members will contact any qualified applicants for an interview, or they may simply accept or decline an application. To prepare for your interview, please use the Career Center Interview Preparation resources. Please respond to any interview requests promptly, and make sure to inform faculty if you no longer wish to be considered for a project. If you are selected for a project during a fall or spring term, the SPUR program requires that all students enroll in units (except for summers, see below) for their research.

Enrolling in Research Units
The SPUR program requires that participating students enroll in research units by the end of the fourth week of instruction.

The student will be emailed a course number and unit recommendation by the research supervisor. The number of units are determined between the student and faculty mentor and the SPUR Coordinator will confirm with the faculty mentor the number of units the student should earn prior to enrolling students into the unit(s). One unit is the equivalent of three hours of research to be conducted per week. 199 units may only be taken on a P/NP basis.

During the summer term, students are not required to enroll in units. In lieu of enrolling in units, students may submit a SPUR Summer Learning Contract, signed by their faculty mentor, to the SPUR Coordinator no later than the last day of instruction of the preceding spring semester. For an overview of summer application deadlines, please see the calendar.

Final Grades and End of Semester Report
Students and faculty are required to provide feedback on their experience with the SPUR program. These reports are submitted online through the SPUR website. With the researchers’ permission, feedback may be shared with the Rausser College alumni who donated the funds that support the SPUR program. End of semester reports are due on the last day of instruction. See the deadlines calendar for exact dates.

Faculty mentors are also required to report student grades on CalCentral at the end of the term.

Renewing Your Project
Projects are usually for one semester. Faculty must re-submit projects each term. If you and your faculty mentor wish to continue working together for 1 additional semester, please notify the SPUR Coordinator.

Sharing Your Research with the Rausser College Community
To complete their SPUR projects, students are encouraged to share their completed or in progress research project with the Rausser College community in the form of a research poster. The research poster summarizing the project and (expected) results may be presented at either the fall or spring Poster Session.