Open Positions: Undergraduate Research Assistant Program (URAP)

Hiring for Open Undergraduate Research Assistant Positions!!


Student applications for open Academic Year positions open on November 4th, 2019. The deadline for applications will be Monday November 18th, 2019 at 11:59pm. Faculty members are expected to make decisions by December 1st, 2019, and students will need to turn in their payroll paperwork to the Office of Undergraduate Research before end of Fall quarter.


The Undergraduate Research Assistant Program pairs inexperienced students who do not have prior research experience with faculty who are in need of assistance on their own research projects. In doing so, students who do not have sufficient research experience to design and carry out their own URG project gain first-hand mentored knowledge of research practices in their discipline, while faculty who would not otherwise be able to hire Research Assistants (RAs) get help with their own projects.

All URAPs pay $15 per hour. Since the maximum award for Academic Year URAPs is $2000, this comes to ~133 hours, to be worked between the time the student is entered in the Kronos payroll system and May 29, 2020. Some positions may split the hours between two students (which means you will not be able to earn a full $2000). If you are interested in more than one position, you may separately apply to each one, but it is expected that your cover letter will be tailored to each position. 



Below, you will find:

  1. Application Instructions
  2. Expectations on Cover Letter and Resume Submission
  3. Link to Application Site
  4. List of Open Positions
  5. Detailed Descriptions of all Open Positions

Application Instructions (must do for each URAP position you apply to)

  • After finalizing your resume and tailored cover letter, save the documents as a PDF (see expectations below).
  • Below, click on the green “Apply Here” button and login to the application system using your netID and password
  • On the left hand panel, select “Apply for Open Applications”.
  • Click on the “Office of Undergraduate Research” department to view active positions.
  • Scroll down to find the position you are interested in. They are listed by the short title of the project, and underneath includes the faculty sponsor’s name.
  • Click on the title of the project (in blue) to submit your application.
  • Upload the PDF resume and cover letter. Hit submit.
  • It will take you to a survey, which you HAVE TO COMPLETE OR SUBMISSION IS NOT FINALIZED.
  • The system will automatically generate an email within 15 minutes indicating successful submission. The faculty will also receive an email notifying them of your application.
  • Faculty members hiring will be in touch regarding next steps (interviews, etc) when the application window closes on 5/28/18.


Expectations on Cover Letter and Resume Submission

You are applying for a position that is competitive – take the time to write a strong application. If you have not written a job application before we recommend you review the resources provided by Career Advancement before starting. The following tips should serve as a baseline; Students can receive additional advising on this process from Northwestern Career Advancement (NCA), and they can schedule an appointment through HandShake. There are lots of helpful examples and resources on the NCA website, including a guide to creating a resume in 5 steps and information on cover letters.We strongly encourage you to download the 2018-2020 Career Guide as a comprehensive resource.


  • Please keep both documents to a maximum of 1 page
  • Save documents as PDFs prior to submission
  • Minimum 11 point font


  • Refer to faculty using their correct titles: "Prof" or "Dr", not “Ms” or “Mr”. (And it should go without saying that you should never be using "Miss" or "Mrs" in a professional context unless the person you are addressing has specifically asked you to address them that way.)
  • Introduce yourself so they know who is applying. In the first paragraph, it is a good idea to let the faculty mentor a) who you are, your year, and potential major or field of interest, and b) share how you found out about the job opening (ie did their colleague recommend it to you? Listserv? Course you are talking? Office of Undergraduate Research staff member? Additionally, if you have a residential college affiliation (ie Willard, Shepard, etc) please mention this as well.
  • Tailor your application to the job you are applying for. A potential employer wants to know why you are interested in this specific position, and to get an idea of the skills, qualities, and experiences you would bring to it. They are less interested in generic discussion of your personal history, or experiences that have no bearing on the job they want done. So refer to specific reasons why you are interested in this position, and give reasons (supported with evidence – see below) for why you are the best candidate for this job. You will not likely be a competitive candidate if you cannot articulate why a specific job is a good match for you, and what you hope to get out of it.
  • Provide evidence for your statements. It’s not enough to say “I am passionate about history/genetics/psychology/etc.” Why should the person reviewing your application take your word for it? And how does your claim to be passionate distinguish you from all the other applicants claiming exactly the same thing? Demonstrate your interest through concrete examples of things you have already done. E.g., what coursework have you taken? What independent study? What prior experiences show that you had some interest in this topic before you read the job ad?
  • Your application must be professional. A potential employer is interested in your professional experiences and academic goals, not your hobbies and childhood memories. When you describe your background and interest in the field, remember that this is a job application and not a dating profile.
  • Give your potential employer enough information to make a decision. If you only provide generic information and do not give much detail on yourself, how can a potential employer evaluate your interest in, and suitability for, the job?
  • Copy edit your application before you send it. This should be obvious…you WILL be judged if there are typos or spelling errors. Don’t let silly mistakes hold back your application.


>>>> For a sample cover letter, click here.

>>>> For a sample resume, click here.



Once you have carefully read the description of the RA-ship you want to apply for, follow the instructions and





(scroll down for full descriptions or click on project title)