FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Applying to OURS


Who is eligible?
The OURS program provides support for UO undergraduates to conduct a full time mentored research project during the summer. Applicants will need to have a sponsoring professor who will provide OURS with a recommendation through the instructions listed on the OURS application page.

If you want to participate and have not yet begun a research project or found a host professor helpful information on getting involved in research can be found on the Undergraduate Research in Biology site.

Can seniors/post-bacs apply?
OURS is limited to undergraduates completing their last term no earlier than Fall of 2019.

Can international students (non-US citizens) apply and participate in the OURS Program?
No, interns must be US citizens or permanent residents with green card.

Application Deadline

There is not a hard deadline. We generally begin making selections at the beginning of Spring term. Please note that space is very limited.

Application Statements

How detailed should the Statements be? Is there a word minimum, maximum, or suggested length?
We don't want you to feel burdened with a long complicated application, but we do want to know about you, your goals, studies, talents, motivation, and what you hope to gain from the program. You should clarify your research interests and perhaps list some labs in which you would like to work. The outside interests statement is entirely optional. There is no word limit for any of the statements. Just be as concise as you can without omitting any ideas that might help us in evaluating your application.

You will need to answer the following questions:

  • Describe your academic background, scientific interests, and past research experience (if any). Include significant science courses you have taken and specific laboratory techniques you may have used.
  • Describe the lab in which you are currently affiliated and explain the nature of your involvement and contribution to the research. If available, please provide the name of your lab mentor, if you are working with a grad student, postdoc, or research assistant in addition to your sponsoring professor.
  • Why do you want to participate in a Summer research experience? Explain what you hope to gain from the Summer experience and how it will help you pursue your career and personal goals.
  • (Optional) Describe your outside interests and activities.
  • Letters of Recommendation

    Whom should I ask for letters of recommendation?
    Your host professor will submit their recommendation through the instructions listed on the http://ours.uoregon.edu/applying.php

    Should the recommendation letters be submitted at the same time that the online application is submitted?
    Recommendation letters can be submitted after the online application, but please note that it is an essential part of the application and should be submitted as soon as possible.

    Grades & Transcripts

    Is there a cutoff GPA for selection to OURS?
    No. Although we seriously consider applicants' grades, they often do not reflect one's abilities of prospective scholars; and so, we place heavy emphasis on the professor's candid evaluation.

    Why do you NOT want official transcripts?
    We want to know what classes you've taken and the grades you earned. We ask you to submit a list of your classes and grades electronically in text format, so we can easily add it to our database. We don't want you to waste time or money on official transcripts when you submit your application. If/when you are accepted into the program, we will ask for your official transcripts to verify your application data and to update your grades in our database. We will request a second official transcript during the summer to show whether you are taking courses.


    Can I call to find out if my application is complete, whether I made the short list, or what faculty are reviewing my application?
    Email would be better, but feel free to contact us with any questions.

    Difficulty with online submission

    Some applicants have had problems with the online submission, receiving error messages or not being able to load the page. If you encounter problems, please:

    To make it easier, download the application form, fill it out, save it, and then email it to spur@uoregon.edu as an attachment. Most often, we have found that the problem has been on the applicant's side, generally with the internet browser. If you're so inclined, you might try to clear your cache, discard temporary internet files and temp files, and clear browser history. Then try again to submit.

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    Selection for OURS

    What are you looking for in an OURS applicant?
    In the selection process, we look for people who exhibit creativity, motivation, diligence, native intelligence, integrity, broad interests, involvement in ongoing research at the University of Oregon, and an upbeat outlook, among other things. We try to choose candidates who would benefit most from this intensive program. If you want to participate and have not yet begun a research project or found a host lab, look at the websites of participating labs and approach the host Professor to see if there might be an opportunity for you to join the research group.

    How does the selection process work?
    The application materials, including basic information, areas of research interest, statements, transcripts, and the letter of recommendation from the host professor are compiled as a packet for each applicant. These are evaluated by the OURS committee. The Director then makes offers of admission to the top candidates.

    When will applicants be notified if they are accepted into the program?
    We begin reviewing application files in Spring term with a rolling admission procedure. The final slots are often not filled until late May.

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    OURS Details

    What are the OURS Progam dates?
    The program starts after Spring term final exams and lasts for 10 weeks running from Monday, June 17th through Friday, August 23rd.

    What does the OURS Program offer?
    OURS provides a stipend for full time lab research on a continuing lab project.
    OURS interns may apply for funding to present their research results at a national meeting.

    What is the weekly schedule for the summer?
    The OURS experience is very intensive in research work, and interns may participate with other SPUR interns in social, cultural, and recreational activities. OURS Fellows research 40+ hrs/wk, on a generally flexible schedule determined by the host lab and mentors. OURS research internships are full time, precluding outside coursework or employment. There are Faculty Research Seminar Series presentations, Professional Development Workshop Series presentations, and Research Discussion Group Series meetings. Events from prior years are linked from the SPUR website. We hope to meet with OURS students and other SPUR interns to hear comments and ideas for improving the program.

    Undergraduate Research Symposium
    At summer's end, all SPUR interns present their work at the Undergraduate Research Symposium in both poster and oral scientific presentation format. Some OURS interns each year will travel to national scientific meetings to present their work from the OURS program.

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