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Undergraduate Advising and Research
Parker House, HB 6201
Hanover, NH
Phone:  603.646.3690
Fax:  603.646.8190

Sophomore Science and Junior Research Scholars:  Student Information

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Sophomore Science Scholar and Junior Research Scholar programs?

These programs provide opportunities for students to experience research first-hand by working with Dartmouth faculty in part-time, paid research assistantships.  Students apply in the spring term and engage in research for one or two terms during the sophomore year (for Sophomore Science Scholars) or junior year (for Junior Research Scholars).

What kind of work do Scholars do?

Sophomore Science and Junior Research Scholars assist faculty in their research.  Students participating in this program are not expected to generate their own independent research projects.  The nature of the work and skills required will vary depending on the project, and you should be sure that you and your faculty mentor are clear about the expectations prior to the start of the assistantship.  Students may become independent during the course of their Scholarship terms, but independence should not be expected at the outset of the Scholarship.  The faculty research advisor and the student should set up a work schedule at the beginning of the term, and this schedule should include weekly or biweekly meetings between the student and the advisor.  This will help to ensure that projects remain on track and that students are receiving adequate supervision.

How do I find a faculty member to work with?

Scholars must find their own faculty research mentors as the programs do not match students with faculty.  See "Tips for Finding a Faculty Research Mentor" for hints as well as relevant links.  The on-line faculty project database is a good option, but keep in mind that many faculty do not list projects in the database so you should not limit your search to the database.  Also note that the database contains some projects that are available only to Presidential Scholars and other projects that are available to any student.  If a project is designated for Presidential Scholars only, do NOT contact the faculty member about the project.  

Can I work with any faculty member affiliated with Dartmouth?

All tenured, tenure-track, and research-track faculty are eligible to supervise undergraduates in research.  The category of research-track faculty includes research assistant professors, research associate professors, and research professors.  Those with other types of appointments may supervise undergraduates with approval from the relevant department or program chair, director, or dean.  Examples of other types of appointments include: visiting faculty, adjunct faculty, emeritus faculty, lecturers, senior lecturers, instructors, and post-doctoral scholars.  This policy applies to faculty affiliated with the Arts & Sciences (undergraduate program), Thayer School of Engineering, Geisel School of Medicine, and Tuck School of Business.

What do I do once I have found a faculty research mentor?

Once a professor selects you as his/her Sophomore Science or Junior Research Scholar, you must first complete the on-line application form. Once you submit your online application, the professor will receive a request to submit his/her confirmation that you have been selected as his/her research assistant.  Both of these on-line forms must be submitted by the deadline in order for your application to be complete.  Selection by a faculty mentor and submission of the required forms do NOT guarantee acceptance into the program.  If there are more applications than stipends, selection will be based on factors such as academic standing and the relevance of the project to the student's major.  Applications will be accepted until the program deadline, and notification letters will be sent out about 3 weeks after that deadline.

How much are Scholars expected to work?

Scholars are expected to work 7-12 hours per week during the term(s) of the assistantship.  The terms of the assistantship must be conducted during students' "ON" terms, unless there are extenuating circumstances and approval is given by both the professor and the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Research.  In general, students planning to conduct research during leave terms should apply for a research grant for that term.

How are Scholars compensated?

Scholars may receive $850 per term of the assistantship (one or two terms, based on application), which are paid a lump sum through the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Research at the END of each term.  The stipend is contingent on the scholar having completed 7-12 hours per week during the term as well as on a satisfactory evaluation by the faculty mentor.  Students are not required to complete time-sheets.  Payments for international students (non-resident aliens) are subject to a 14% tax.  Note that checks are not ordered until both the Scholar and the faculty mentor have submitted the online confirmation forms.  Once the check has been ordered, it takes 2 weeks for it to be issued by the Accounts Payable office.  This time frame is non-negotiable – there is no way to speed up the process.

Can I receive academic credit for my work as a Scholar?

No.  If you would like to get academic credit for your research, then you should consult with your faculty research mentor about independent study credit instead of participating in the Scholars program.  Students receiving independent study credit for their research are not eligible to participate in the Scholars program during the term in which they are receiving credit.

How do I start the assistantship?

In the first week of the first term of your assistantship, get in touch with your faculty mentor to set up an initial meeting.  In that initial meeting, you should address the following:  (1) work schedule:  what days/hours does your faculty mentor expect you to work; (2) expectations:  what does your faculty mentor expect you to accomplish during the term; (3) meetings:  how often will you and your faculty mentor meet (preferably not less than once a week, and setting up a regular time is best); and (4) troubleshooting:  what should you do or who you should contact if you have difficulty with any of the tasks you have been assigned.  Note that it is your responsibility to let your faculty mentor know when you need help with tasks. 

Can I switch faculty mentors/projects after I've been accepted to the Sophomore Science Scholars and/or Junior Research Scholars Program?

Generally speaking, no. When you apply and are accepted to these programs, you are entering into a contract with the faculty mentor to work together on a specific project. Both you and the faculty mentor have made a commitment to each other to do this research. Exceptions are made only for extenuating circumstances (e.g. the faculty mentor leaves the College).

What if I encounter problems during my fellowship?

If you encounter any problems with the workload or expectations during your fellowship, you should first speak to your faculty mentor.  In many cases, difficulties result from a mismatch in expectations, a misunderstanding about the level of competency a student has in a particular area, or simply miscommunication.  Often, the student and faculty mentor are able to resolve any difficulties by meeting to discuss the issues and to brainstorm solutions.  If this approach is not effective, please contact the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Research.

Last Updated: 8/1/16