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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.  

Have questions? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions section below.

Application Materials and Instructions

Submit all application materials by email to Kevin Conley, associate dean for Undergraduate Studies, Department of Sports Medicine and Nutrition (4033 Forbes Tower), before the February 15 deadline.

1. McMurtry Family Undergraduate Research Award Application Form

2. Project Proposal
The project proposal is the key element of your application.The proposal must include the following sections:

  • General introduction that provides a context for your project in language accessible to a diverse audience
  • Research question and purpose of your project
  • Background information (literature review)
  • Specific goals/hypotheses that your project aims to address
  • Outline of the method(s) you will use to carry out your project
  • Assessment of the feasibility of completing your project within the given time period
  • If your project is part of a larger group effort, you should identify clearly 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 should be no more than five (5) pages typed (double spaced, in 12 pt. Calibri style font, with 1-inch margins), have a title, numbered pages, and include your name on the top of every page.

3. Resume/CV

4. 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, your declared major(s)/minor(s)/certificate(s), and your current GPA.

5. Letter of Recommendation from your Research Mentor
Applicants must secure a strong letter of recommendation from a faculty research mentor in which he or she may 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 recommendation should address:

  • In what context and for how long have you known this student?
  • Have you discussed the proposed project with the student?
  • In your assessment, is the student prepared to carry out the proposed project?
  • Can you provide the student with the resources needed to carry out the project?
  • Will you be able to find the time to mentor the student during 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 Pitt faculty member. Students are encouraged to request this letter from their 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 a bachelor’s degree program at the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences with a minimum of a 3.0 GPA, and be available to complete full-time research activities over the summer. 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 on-line application and submit:

  • A copy of their CV/resume;
  • An essay/original and coherent project proposal;
  • A letter of recommendation from their research mentor;
  • A copy of their 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 find out whether I have been accepted?

The application deadline is Friday, February 15, 2019. Committee members comprised of SHRS faculty will review the applications and select students based on their academic record, accomplishments, proposal, and their letter of recommendation. Applicants will be notified of their status by Friday, March 1, 2019. For those applicants who will proceed to Stage 2, interviews will be scheduled during the second week of March. The final decision will be made by March 18, 2019. 

How are students matched with research mentors and research projects?

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 in SHRS.

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

A maximum of two recipients may receive up to $2,500 for the summer to ensure that they can devote themselves full-time to their projects. Funds may be used toward living expenses as well as research related expenses. 

Whom should I contact if I have additional questions?

Your academic advisor.