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The School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences welcomes undergraduate students who are interested in conducting meaningful research that addresses a social or disability problem in the health, assistive technology and rehabilitation fields to apply for the McMurtry Family Undergraduate Research Award. For more information, please view our FAQs.

Read about the 2020 Recipient of the McMurtry Family Undergraduate Research Award!

Application Materials and Instructions

1. McMurtry Family Undergraduate Research Award Application Form

Submit application to Kevin Conley, associate dean for Undergraduate Studies, Department of Sports Medicine and Nutrition (4033 Forbes Tower), before the March 2 deadline.

2. Project Proposal

The project proposal is the key element of the application.The proposal must include the following sections:

  • General introduction that provides a context for the project in language accessible to a diverse audience
  • Research question and purpose of the project
  • Brief background information (literature review)
  • Specific aims/hypotheses that the project aims to address
  • Outline of the method(s) that will be used to carry out the project
  • Timeline for completing the project
  • If the project is part of a larger group effort, clearly identify the aspect(s) of the project for which you will be responsible.

Note: Please use common language accessible to the non-scientific community.

Formatting requirements: The proposal must be no more than five (5) pages in length typed (double spaced, in 12 pt. Calibri style font, with 1-inch margins), have a title, numbered pages and show your name on the top of every page.

3. Current CV/Resume

4. Up-to-Date Academic Transcript
This need not be an official transcript issued by the Registrar’s Office, but please make sure it is up-to-date and shows your name, declared major(s)/minor(s)/certificate(s), and current GPA.

5. Letter of Support From Faculty Research Mentor

Applicants must secure a letter of support from a faculty research mentor who comment on the applicant’s qualities and personal characteristics that will contribute to a successful research project, or towards completion of a research project already in progress. The letter of support should address:

  • In what context and for how long the mentor has known this student?
  • Have the mentor and student applicant discussed the proposed project?
  • Is the student prepared to carry out the proposed project?
  • Can the mentor provide the student with the resources needed to carry out the project?
  • What degree of independence will the student have in carrying out the project? Moreover, to what extent was the student involved in developing the idea for the project?

The mentor must be a SHRS faculty member. Students are encouraged to request the letter of support from the mentor well in advance of the application deadline.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who is eligible to apply to the McMurtry Family Undergraduate Research Award?

Applicants must be enrolled in an undergraduate degree program at the University of Pittsburgh with a minimum of a 3.0 GPA, and be available to complete full-time research activities with an SHRS faculty researcher over the summer, between the junior and senior year. It is expected that the student will prepare an abstract and poster at an internal University of Pittsburgh research event, or at a regional or national conference.

What is needed to apply and when will the application be available?

There are 2 stages of the application process. 

Stage 1: All applicants must complete the application which can be found here along with the following:

  • A current CV/resume
  • An original and coherent project proposal
  • A letter of support from a faculty research mentor
  • An up-to-date academic transcript

Stage 2: If selected by the committee, applicants will be invited for an interview.

When is the deadline to apply? When will I know if I have been accepted?

The application deadline is Monday, March 2, 2020. Committee members comprised of SHRS faculty will review the applications and select students based on the strength of the research proposal, letter of support from faculty research mentor, and academic record and accomplishments. Applicants will be notified of their status by Friday, March 16, 2020. For those applicants who will proceed to Stage 2, interviews will be scheduled during the week of March 16 or March 23. The recipient will be selected by March 30, 2020. 

How are students matched with a faculty mentor and research project?

Students are expected to discuss their interest in applying for the McMurtry Family Undergraduate Research Award with their academic advisor. Students must identify a research mentor, discuss a research plan, and project in depth prior to submitting an application.   

When can research be conducted?

It is expected that research will be conducted during the summer while enrolled as a student at the University of Pittsburgh.

Is there a financial component to the McMurtry Family Undergraduate Research Award?

The recipient will receive $5,000 for the summer to assure that s/he can devote themselves full-time to their project. Funds may be used toward living expenses and research related travel. 

Whom should I contact if I have additional questions?

Your academic advisor.