Research Assistantship

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ALERT: CUSE has changed its funding policies for Fall 2020 due
to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Some of the awards listed below may
not be available at this time, while other opportunites may be possible.
It is vital that you read the NEW POLICIES  before beginning a grant



*All students applying to CUSE grants MUST do the following before submitting an application:*

  1. Review the CUSE funding policies and contact us with any questions.
  2. Review the information provided on CUSE grant deadlines
  3. Review the CUSE budget crafting policies and guidelines.
  4. Review the international travel and registration guidelines if your work is taking you outside of the United States. 
  5. Review the requirements for human subjects research and the IRB to see if your project requires the certification. 
  6. Review the CUSE post-grant requirements to familiarize yourself with your responsibilities when you return.
  7. Attend one of of the CUSE grant writing workshops in person or online (coming soon).

All students are expected to have reviewed the information and taken the necessary steps relevant to their project before continuing to the application steps below. Once you have completed steps 1-7, proceed to the instructions below for compiling your application.

Unpaid Research Assistantships

A student engages in a guided assistantship, externship, or practicum experience under the supervision of an approved mentor who interacts with the student on a frequent basis to discuss the student’s progress, experiences, and reflection on the activity. The student develops a working knowledge of the disciplinary literature relevant to the activity, maintains written documentation appropriate to his/her discipline, and submits a final project document that integrates the assistantship experience with his/her academic training. Assistantships can take place in a laboratory, a think-tank, or through individual work with a faculty mentor.

Grant Application Requirements:

Students should indicate if there is a formal application process (separate from the Common Application) for the unpaid research assistantship for which they seek funding. Students will be required to submit a copy of the acceptance letter confirming the internship to CUSE.

  1. A Cover Page and Abstract.
    • Complete the CUSE Grant Cover Page form and provide a 100-200 word abstract describing the proposed project or activity. The abstract should introduce your project/activity and highlight your major goals. For assistance writing an abstract, see this guide to abstracts and this abstract example.
  2. A Proposal (4-5 double-spaced pages) that includes:
    1. A description of the organization offering the internship or research assistantship. 
    2. A discussion of the research question or topic you are considering that may be informed by the assistantship experience.
    3. A detailed description of the activities you expect to undertake within that time frame, with start and end dates. 
    4. A description of the learning goals for the research assistantship.
    5. A discussion of how the assistantship experience relates to your academic work, particularly as it relates to your goals for research, scholarship, or creative endeavors (e.g. how the assistantship lays the groundwork for a senior thesis, capstone, or other project), and your overall trajectory post-graduation.  The most persuasive proposals clearly indicate how this particular event contributes to your long-term trajectory by preparing you for the job market of your chosen career, introducing you to key scholars in your field, or providing an essential learning experience for your research with explicit, specific language.
    6. Any additional information or items relevant to your proposal.
  3. A Letter of Recommendation from a supervising Notre Dame faculty member.
    • After you have submitted your proposal using the Student Grant Network (URApply), the faculty member should receive an email with instructions for uploading their letter. Faculty will not be able to submit their letter until after the proposal has been submitted. Grant proposals will not be reviewed until we receive a faculty recommendation letter.
  4. An itemized Budget using the approved CUSE student budget form
    • CUSE budget guidelines can be found here. The budget must be itemized and show all your calculations for figuring out each cost and a source to justify those calculations.  It is the student's responsibility to develop a budget that is complete and accurate. Students must submit their budget on URApply with the student budget form. Any changes to a budget after the project is awarded, such as transfers between line items, must be pre-approved by CUSE. 
  5. A completed domestic travel waiver if traveling within the United States. Students traveling internationally must register their travel with Notre Dame International.
    • *If you are traveling to a country with a level 1-2 travel advisory, please DO NOT complete the travel registry until you have received notification that you have received an award from CUSE (disregard the automated email that URApply sends requesting one). 
  6. Human subjects / IRB approval, if applicable.
    • Students engaging in research involving human subjects must complete research ethics training and submit a protocol to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for approval. Students who require IRB approval to conduct research must submit a copy of the approval from Notre Dame Research. Follow the link for more information on IRB and the training and submission process
Funding Limits:
  • Academic Year: $2000
  • Summer $3000

Click here to access the Research Assistantship Worksheet to help you craft a strong proposal.