1. What are my chances of being chosen as a Scholar?
The program attracts applications from highly prepared and motivated students, and is competitive. In recent years between approximately 40 students have applied annually, with 25-30 awards offered.
2. Is this open to all disciplines?
The program is designed for all students, regardless of major. Students from all colleges have been selected for MSS awards.
3. How do I find a faculty mentor?
There is no formal process for finding a mentor. Most students find mentors by a) speaking with professors they have studied with, b) speaking with professors they are engaged in research with, or c) identifying faculty in their major or minor department who share their interests, and approaching these with ideas for an MSS proposal. Your current teachers, or your undergraduate major or minor advisors, can often be helpful in pointing you to potential mentors.
4. What makes a successful application?
All aspects of the application are considered very carefully, but the two-page proposal, and your qualifications to carry out the proposed project, are most important. You should explain what you plan to do and how your research will contribute to your field of study.
5. I'm planning to graduate in December. May I still apply?
Yes. As long as you will be enrolled at Maryland (or an approved study abroad program) in the fall semester after your MSS award, you may apply.
6. I'm technically a senior at the end of the spring (in terms of credits), but I'm not planning to graduate until the following winter or spring. May I still apply?
Yes, you may still apply, as long as you will be enrolled at Maryland (or an approved study abroad program) in the fall semester after your MSS award.
7. I received (and accepted) an MSS award last summer (or the summer before), am I eligible to apply for a second MSS award?
You are eligible to apply, but the selection committee may choose to give priority to students who are applying for their first MSS award.
8. I'm going to be studying abroad in this spring semester. How do I apply?
The MSS application is online, and does not require you to be in College Park when you apply. Contact the Maryland Center for Undergraduate Research at email@example.com or 301-314-6786 if you have any questions.
9. I need to earn money over the summer to pay for college expenses, can I have a part-time job while carrying out my MSS research project?
The MSS award is intended to help you accomplish your research objectives, and research should be your primary activity while receiving MSS support. However, if you need to work to save money for college expenses, please indicate your employment plans in your application proposal, including the number of hours/week you expect to need to work.
10. I received another summer research award, can I use it along with the MSS award? OR: I will be paid while working in the lab where I will be conducting my summer research project, is that a problem?
The aim of the MSS award is to enable students to carry out summer research projects that would otherwise be unaffordable for them. For this reason, you may not use both the MSS and another summer research award if you have two award offers you should speak with the Director of the Maryland Center for Undergraduate Research to decide which award is more advantageous for you to keep. Similarly, if you will be paid hourly wages, or receive a stipend or salary for the same work you are proposing to carry out with MSS support, then you are not eligible to receive the award.
11. When will I find out?
Decisions are announced in early March.
12. Do student who travel abroad typically work with someone in the country in which they are researching?
It is helpful and strongly preferred that students proposing research abroad identify someone in the host country who can advise them informally. A local mentor/sponsor can provide useful advice but can also be invaluable in helping to secure access to archives, libraries, etc., or to make introductions to other persons relevant to the student’s research project. If you have identified a mentor in the country where you plan to do research, you need to provide a letter or email from that person supporting your project and agreeing to provide informal advice.
13. If students are conducting researching about a foreign country or region, and their research can be accomplished in the US without difficulty, can they still propose to travel abroad?
A student requesting supplementary travel funds needs to show a clear need to travel to another country to carry out the proposed work. If all the necessary resources are available here, then traveling abroad would not be justified.
14. Can students work with someone at Maryland who is not a professor? For example, could a student work with the Director of the Center for Social Value Creation at the business school?
If an appropriate expert happens not to have a faculty position, but has a position of comparable expertise/responsibility at the University, that is acceptable.
15. Can students work primarily with a professor at another University if no one at Maryland specializes in their topic?
Students need to find one person at Maryland who has sufficient knowledge of their abilities to write a letter of support, but it is acceptable if a student can secure a principal mentoring relationship with an appropriately qualified expert elsewhere.
16. What, if anything, should students tell their sponsors to include in the letters of support?
Mentors should comment on the following points:
-Merit of the proposed project
-Appropriateness of the mentor for the project
-Feasibility of the proposed project
-Qualification of the candidate
-Description of the mentoring to be provided - how frequent, of what kind, etc.
17. How is the MSS award money paid? Do I need to include a proposed budget or file for reimbursement?
The award is made in one payment around the end of spring semester. Please bear in mind that MSS awards are taxable as income, you should plan accordingly. Depending on how individual payments are issued, your payment may have tax withheld.
18. How do I submit my transcripts?
Please submit your unofficial University of Maryland transcript by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. There are two ways to do this: Go to www.testudo.umd.edu. Click on "Unofficial Transcript." You'll be prompted to enter your UMD login and password. Print out the transcript, scan it as a PDF file, and email it.
In most web browsers you can create a PDF of the page by going to Print and in the print menu, change your destination printer to "Print to PDF" or "Adobe PDF." A PDF page will be generated which you can save to your computer and then attach to an email.
Send any official transcripts for any colleges/universities you attended prior to UMD to the following mailing address:
Maryland Center for Undergraduate Research
2100 Marie Mount Hall
University of Maryland, College Park
College Park, MD 20742