Undergraduate Summer Scholars
Undergraduate Summer Scholars
 Undergraduate Summer Scholars
Undergraduate Summer Scholars
Undergraduate Summer Scholars
 Undergraduate Summer Scholars

I. USS Program Overview

The USS program's primary goals center on student-centered learning through mentored research. This 9-week summer program aligns with Miami's focus on offering “active, engaged educational experiences for our undergraduates”. Students are responsible for finding an eligible mentor, co-creating the independent research project, and submitting a completed USS application to the administrative unit/department of the mentor. (See Section II ELIGIBILITY).

A. Changes to the 2021 USS Program

The application deadline has been moved to February 26, 2021. Students will be notified by the first week of April, about their selection to the program.
  • Project funds have been reduced. Each successful student applicant will have access to $200.
  • Due to budget constraints, there will be no professional development funds for mentors.
  • To promote access and inclusion, TCPL faculty or staff with academic unit affiliations can serve as mentors, as long as they meet departmental guidelines.
  • A series of professional development workshops are being planned for undergraduate researchers and their mentors.
  • In your application, include a statement about how the proposed research, scholarship, or creative activity, or how your participation in the USS program, addresses Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
  • In an effort to promote undergraduate research projects within the constraints of the COVID pandemic, students and mentors are encouraged to utilize existing datasets for USS projects.

April 29, 2021 enrollment options have changed.  

  • USS 2021 Students may NOW choose any of the following options:
    • Register for ZERO credit hours- It will still show on your transcript, and you will still get all the benefits of the award.

    • Register for 3 hours of Directed Research [320] or Research Capstone [419.R]

    • Register for 6 hours of credit or /no *credit 340U.

    • Other arrangements with your department. 
      *Some departments do not have course 340U set up to allow enrollment for zero credit hours. The department chair will determine which course is available for students who elect to enroll for zero credit hours. 
      See also Student Roles and Responsibilities section IV, part C. Course Registration.

B. Program Administration by Eligible Administrative Units

The Office of Research and Innovation [ORI] sponsors the USS program through the Office of Research for Undergraduates (ORU). A total of 100 USS awards will be made for Summer 2021. Administrative Units are responsible for collecting applications, approving the research projects for the required 6 hours of academic credit, sending application packets to the ORU, selecting student/mentor(s) projects for allocated awards, assuring the educational value of the student experience and monitoring the student/mentor(s) collaboration. The USS mentor MUST submit a final grade by the end of summer term. Incomplete grades are not permitted.

C. Program Requirements: Enrollment in 340U for Independent Study Credit

The USS program requires summer enrollment in 6 hours of extended independent study credit under the designated course number 340U. For departments that permit* students to enroll in senior research capstone independent study credit in conjunction with the USS project, the USS student must register for a minimum of 3 hours under 340U and combine that with the appropriate number of hours under the capstone independent study for a combined total of 6 hours. The senior research independent study capstone course must be in the same department as the USS research project. The USS program covers tuition-only costs for 6 credit hours, while the student pays for related general fees of approximately $70.00 per credit hour. The “tuition-only” waiver applies to undergraduate summer scholar research conducted through Miami's Oxford, Hamilton, or Middletown campuses. Study abroad coursework cannot be part of the USS project and will NOT be waived.

D. Award Notification and Required Course Registration Deadlines

USS awards are granted by the administrative unit through which the student submits an application. 
  • On March 12, 2021, the ORU Coordinator will notify each administrative unit of the number of USS allocation(s). The unit will then, accordingly select student/mentor pairs from the applicant pool. 
  • By March 26, 2021, administrative units will:
    • notify ALL applicants as to whether they have been selected for a USS award or not 
    • provide names of the selected student/mentor teams to the ORU Undergraduate Research Coordinator (via Formstack Link).
  • On April 12, 2021, the ORU Coordinator will send an official USS award letter to selected student/mentor teams. 

II. Eligibility

A. Administrative Unit Eligibility

Miami Administrative Units (departments, program, and centers) on the Oxford campus and the College of Liberal Arts and Applied Science campuses are eligible for participation in the USS Program. By choosing to participate, these units agree to undertake the administrative burden required of them by the USS program. Students may create a USS project with any eligible mentor in any department or eligible program. Mentors may submit the USS application through their primary academic department or through an eligible program if the faculty member is an affiliate of that program. However, if selected for a USS award, USS student participants MUST enroll in 6 credit hours of independent study under the designated USS course 340U under the department or program through which the application was submitted. 

B. Mentor Eligibility

The USS program is open to all Miami tenured and tenure track faculty, and to TCPL staff members who have academic unit affiliations, and who have standing to supervise a student in an independent study research project for academic credit under USS designated course number 340U

Each student/mentor(s) team should complete an application (as described under Section III. Applications Procedures) and submit the application the administrative unit director. To participate in the USS program, mentor(s) must be willing and able to supervise and mentor the undergraduate researcher.

C. Student Eligibility

Students may only receive one USS award during their time at Miami and the award must be used for the summer in which it is awarded. The application is open to any Miami undergraduate student who:

  • is in good standing (minimum 2.0 G.P.A., not on probation, etc.)
  • will have completed his/her sophomore year (defined as having a minimum of 60 credit hours) or junior year prior to the beginning of Summer Session
  • will enroll for at least one semester at Miami University as an undergraduate student after the completion of the USS project
  • agrees to decline all other tuition waivers from other Miami University sources during the summer the student conducts the USS independent research project.
  • agrees to full-time participation* in the USS program (*as defined by the administrative unit).
  • who, during the selected 9-week period of USS participation agrees: NOT to enroll, without WRITTEN permission of the USS mentor and the ORU program coordinator in other courses NOR accept any fellowships, internships, volunteer positions, or employment that would interfere with the student's full-time educational commitment. (See Student Roles and Responsibilities section IV, part C for details.)

III. Student/Mentor Application Procedures

A. Student/Mentor Application Due Date Friday, February 26, 2021

Each individual student/mentor(s) team should JOINTLY prepare the application. Follow instructions on the USS application form. The student will submit the completed application to the USS mentor’s administrative unit, by 5:00pm 2/26/2021. Students can submit only one application. A single mentor can be listed as a prospective mentor on two applications. Other than these restrictions, there is no limit on how many applications may be submitted by administrative units.

B. Administrative Unit APPLICATION PACKET Due Date Friday, March, 5 2021 by 5:00pm

Between Feb 26 and Mar 5,  2021, administrative units will review each USS application to ensure eligibility of the:
  • undergraduate student
  • faculty/staff mentor(s)
  • USS research project

C. Online Upload of each student/mentor application by the administrative unit

On March 5, 2021 before midnight, the administrative unit director or delegated staff member should use the online submission Formstack Submission to enter required data and upload a pdf file of each USS application. The ORU Coordinator will e-mail the online link to the participating unit directors. Contact with questions about this process.

D. Administrative Unit Internal Review and Participant Selection Responsibility

Administrative units will make final decisions concerning the delegation of awards in a manner consistent with USS guidelines. The number of awards allocated to each unit may affect the type of internal review and selection procedure. Therefore, we suggest units postpone their internal ranking or other selection procedure for submitted applications until after the ORU announces the number of awards allocated.

Participating units will have two weeks after notification from ORU to:
  • make final selections
  • notify ALL applicants (selected and NOT selected) of the unit’s decision
  • verify that selected students (who accept) will abide by the award conditions
  • provide the name of each selected student/mentor(s) teams by March 26, 2021 to the Undergraduate Research Coordinator.

IV. Roles and Responsibilities

A. Administrative Units Roles and Responsibilities

All participants are responsible to adhere to Miami University policies (covering COVID-19).

General Oversight and Administration of USS awards

While the Office of Research for Undergraduates (ORU) facilitates the USS program, the participating unit handles the administration and is responsible for:

  • collecting applications
  • assuring mentor and student eligibility for the program
  • approving specific student research projects submitting each eligible student/mentor application to ORU by the deadline (via Formstack link)
  • assigning allocated awards and notifying awardees and non-selected applicants
  • notifying the ORU Coordinator of selected student/mentor(s) names via Formstack link
  • working with the Registrar to reconcile any differences between the USS program and course and credit requirements
  • assuring the educational value of the student experience, and
  • monitoring the student/mentor collaboration
All participants are responsible to adhere to Miami University policies (covering COVID-19). Responsibility for a successful program will rest with the student scholar, his/her mentor(s) and the primary mentor's unit.

B. Mentor Roles and Responsibilities

Project Participation Required During Specified Period

Mentors who agree to participate will collaborate with specific students in developing and submitting applications for the USS program and are expected to be available to the student during the selected 9-week period of mentorship and will be responsible for facilitating a meaningful and appropriate student experience.

Grade Assignment Incomplete grades are not permitted
The Mentor will also determine, in consultation with the student participant and with approval of the unit administrator, whether student participation in this program will be evaluated with a letter grade or on the basis of credit/no credit. Note: some units may only allow participation in this USS program on a credit/no credit basis.

Required Time to conduct the research May 17 Aug 7, 2021
USS participants MUST complete the 9-week research project during the 12 weeks of summer session. The USS Mentor MUST submit a final grade by the end of summer term. With permission from the mentor, students may split participation dates.

Compliance with University and Federal Research Regulations & Miami Travel Policy
The mentor must assure that all required regulatory committee approvals: Institutional Review Board (IRB) - human subjects; Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) - vertebrate animals; radioisotopes or recombinant DNA] are obtained prior to the start of the student project.

The USS Mentor MUST ensure Compliance with Miami Independent Travel Policy administered by the Office of Lifelong Learning. Any Miami Student traveling outside the State of Ohio for academic studies or service opportunities MUST use the Miami University Independent Travel Tool to register your travel1 plans online.

Oversight of Student Project Allowance (for supplies, services, and travel) 
Each USS selected student will receive a $200 allowance for supplies, services and travel to be used in direct support of the students project. The mentor will supervise spending from this administrative units designated banner index using standard University ordering and accounting procedures. The USS program policy prohibits students from purchasing any personal items (i.e., electronic items) with these funds. All charges must be made against this allowance prior to February 1, 2022. This allowance account will be cleared and closed by the University Accounting Office on February 1, 2022. The mentor is responsible for any charges made to that account above the allotment.

C. Student Roles and Responsibilities

Finding Your Own Mentor The USS program focuses on individual student/mentor relationships for Miami University sophomores and juniors. A student is responsible for finding their own mentor and co-creating the research project. Students may only receive one USS award during their time at Miami and the award must be used for the summer in which it is awarded. The program provides an opportunity for full-time, intensive interaction between a student and his/her mentor.

Communication from the ORU Coordinator to student awardees and their mentors will be done electronically. 

Inclusion of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement in the USS Application
Student/mentor team will include a statement about how the proposed research, scholarship, or creative activity, or your participation in a USS project, addresses Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. 

Plans for USS 2021 Mentoring/Supervision and Student Responsibilities - Public Agreement
Mentors and students are requested to include their ideas about sharing project outcomes & the USS research experience (on page 3 of the USS application Form). These ideas will be used to structure workshops that will be held in late spring, summer and early fall. During the workshops, students will prepare materials to disseminate the experiences and outcomes of their projects.

Workshop Participation Required: "Communicating research to non-technical/public audiences." 
Students will commit to attending at least two workshops. In 2019, staff from Admissions, Alumni engagement and Career Services provided perspectives on the importance of communicating research to non-technical/public audiences. 

Summer Term Project Participation Required
The supervising mentor in consultation with the student and department chair/program director will determine the specific 9 weeks of a student's participation during the dates of the summer session (May 17 - August 7, 2021). Participation time can be divided into two different periods, however both times must be within the summer session.

Summer Term Employment Limits
The USS program will allow Miami students to accept employment at Miami or elsewhere during the selected 9 weeks of their USS participation, provided the student and mentor agree on a plan to ensure that the employment will not interfere with the student’s full-time program participation. However, participating students are strictly prohibited from incorporating any internships or volunteer positions into their USS research project.

Summer Term Other Course Enrollment Limits - Student must obtain Written Permission
Due to the nature, duration and intensity of the program, students accepting USS awards MUST seek WRITTEN PERMISSION from both their individual USS Mentor AND from Mrs. Martha Weber, ORU Undergraduate Research Coordinator, to register for any additional coursework during the summer term. If permission is granted, the USS student is required to dedicate full-time effort [as determined by the department] for a minimum of 9 weeks to the USS research project and is then responsible for all other costs associated with taking additional summer credit hours.

Student Research Presentation Opportunities
Although not required as part of the USS program, students may produce a product (paper, oral presentation, poster, artwork, portfolio, model, etc.) that summarizes outcomes of their USS projects. In these cases, the student and mentor should agree on the purpose and form of this product at the beginning of the student's participation. Students will be given the opportunity to present a poster about the results of their research at the annual spring Undergraduate Research Forum. 

Student Submission of Brief Project Report to ORU Coordinator
The Individual student will submit a brief report outlining the accomplishments of my project, plans of communication of the outcomes to public/non-technical audience, and outcomes for diversity, equity and inclusion.

V. Financial Matters

A. USS Fellowship Award Payment to Student

Early May 2021, the Office of the Bursar will: 

  • make a single fellowship payment of $2,600 to the USS participant through the student's bursar account.
  • use the USS fellowship funds against any charges on the student's bursar bill
  • deposit any remaining funds into a bank account of the students choosing (via Banner Web)

The USS fellowship stipend amount may be subject to required Student Financial Aid considerations as explained under paragraph [C. Student Costs.] As required by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) the Office of the Bursar and the Office of the Registrar handle student records.
USS awardees are encouraged to contact the Bursars office staff at 529-8744 with any questions about the E-bill or bursar account and the Office of the Registrar for course registration questions.

B. Tuition-Only Waiver 

The USS tuition-only waiver applies just to Miami courses in Oxford and College of Liberal Arts and Applied Science (at Hamilton or Middletown campuses). Study abroad coursework will NOT be waived and cannot be included as part of the USS program.

April 29, 2021 USS 2021 Students may NOW choose any of the following options:

  • Register for ZERO credit hours- It will still show on your transcript, and you will still get all the benefits of the award.

  • Register for 3 hours of Directed Research [320] or Research Capstone [419.R]

  • Register for 6 hours of credit/no credit 340.U

  • Other arrangements with your department.

The USS tuition waiver covers ONLY the instructional fees and tuition for hours the student enrolls in from these updated options.

Or, a combined total of 6 hours for departments that permit students to enroll in senior research capstone independent study in conjunction with the USS project. In this instance, the USS student must register for a minimum of 3 hours under 340U and combine that with the appropriate number of hours under the capstone independent study.

In each instance, the USS program covers the cost of tuition-only for the required 6 credit hours in which the student enrolls. The student pays for related general fees of approximately $65.00 per credit hour. In addition, the student pays for any tuition and fees for all course credits exceeding 6 hours taken during the summer terms. (Section IV Student Responsibilities 6. Limits on Other Course Enrollment).

C. Student Costs

Financial Aid Considerations
Miami University policy prohibits students from receiving a tuition waiver from more than one source during the same term. Students are responsible for contacting Miami's Office of Student Financial Aid to review the affect the USS program participation will have on their financial aid eligibility.
Miami is required to report the USS fellowship amount and the tuition scholarship (described above) to the Internal Revenue Service on Form 1098T.

All financial assistance that students are eligible to receive must be taken into consideration when calculating need-based financial aid. Consequently, as soon as the Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSF) is notified that a student has received these USS program amounts, the OSF is required to recalculate the students eligibility for aid.

General Fee Payment Requirement
The student is responsible to pay general fee charges (around $70 per hour) for the required 6 credit hours associated with the USS research project. The Office of the Bursar will deduct the total charge (of approximately $420) from the single fellowship payment of $2,600.

Enrollment Fees Charged by Departments, Programs or Divisions Are Not Covered
Students are responsible to pay any additional department, eligible program or divisional fees per credit hour for the USS course 340U enrollment and/or for enrollment in a senior capstone course (only if permitted by the department of the USS mentor working with the USS student). Refer to (Student Roles and Responsibilities section IV, part C, Course Registration Requirements) for details.

Housing and Meal Costs Are Student's Responsibility
Students are solely responsible for making arrangements for and paying for their own housing and meals during USS participation. Students are recommended to decide with their mentors whether the student needs to stay in the Oxford area while participating in the USS Program.

Tax Considerations
Miami is required to report the USS student fellowship award ($2,600) on the students 1098T for tax considerations. Income taxes will not be withheld from USS student fellowship award unless the student is an international student whose country does not have a reciprocal tax agreement with the United States. Depending on how the fellowship award money is used by the student, portions of the fellowship payment may be considered taxable income by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). For additional information on Scholarship and Fellowship Grants, refer to IRS Tax Topic 421, and Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education.

USS 2021 Important Dates

Day Date Time Span Action
Mon January 26, 2021 Revised Undergraduate Summer Scholars (USS) Program
Each student/mentor(s) team arranges appropriate collaborations to design the research endeavor. Together they complete the cover page and answer the prompts on Page 2 and Page 3 of the USS application form which the student is responsible to submit by the deadline.
Fri Feb 26, 2021 The individual student submits the USS application to the mentor's administrative unit director by 5:00pm
1 week Administrative Units review individual USS applications 
Fri Mar 5, 2021 Administrative Units MUST use the online Formstack link to submit each eligible application to the ORU. Contact Martha Weber, Undergraduate Research Coordinator for details about the online submission process.
Fri Mar 12, 2021 1 week ORU Coordinator notifies Administrative Units as to the number of allocations their unit has to distribute.
Mar 12- 26, 2021 2 weeks Administrative Unit Directors 1) rank applications and select which applicants will be offered USS.  Unit Directors then have 2 weeks to notify each student/mentor(s) team about the status of their application. Unit Directors MUST require student/mentor(s) team selected for the award to: 1) confirm award acceptance and 2) provide both a project start and a project end date [within the summer session time period May 17 - August 7, 2021].
Fri Mar 26, 2021 Administrative Unit Directors MUST use an online Formstack link to upload a pdf file (indicating which student/mentor(s) teams are selected for the USS award). Upload Link will be provided by the ORU Coordinator.
Fri Apr 12, 2021 ORU coordinator, email an award letter to each selected student/mentor(s) team.
Fri Apr 23, 2021 2 weeks Student Award Acceptance & Course Registration Required 
ORU Coordinator will notify students about 1) the Formstack Link to accept the USS award and  2) instructions to enroll in the required six credit hours under designated course 340U to conduct the mentored independent research project.
Mon Apr 26, 2021 ORU Coordinator verifies (with Miami Office of the Registrar) all students are registered for the required 6 credits under 340U
May 17, 2021 - Aug 7, 2021 12 weeks Required Time Period to conduct the research project. With permission from the mentor, students may arrange to split the 9 weeks into two time periods during summer session. 
Early May 2021 Miami Bursar Office will process USS fellowship award to the student
Jun 10 Workshop#1 Communicating Research to non-technical/public audiences
July 8 Workshop#2 Communicating Research to non-technical/public audiences
Aug 5 Workshop #3 Communicating Research to non-technical/public audiences
Fri Aug 7, 2021 Incomplete grades are NOT permitted. Mentor MUST provide a final grade by the end of the summer session.
Sep 9 Workshop #4  Communicating Research to non-technical/public audiences
Oct 2021 ORU evaluation of USS activities
Feb 1, 2022 USS student allowance funds MUST be spent by 2/1/2022
* Students will commit attend 2 of the 4 workshops.