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The Student Proposal will consist of 6 short answer questions. Students should be prepared to address five questions about their proposal (described below) and one related to the SPIRE research community. Students should also be prepared to upload a current unofficial UMD transcript. 

Evaluation Criteria

The following criteria will be used to assess each Student Proposal. A strong proposal will address all criteria clearly and concisely. Please review the following closely and ensure your application addresses each criterion.

Academic Merit & Significance:
How does your proposed project address questions or problems in the context of your proposal’s field(s) of study and your mentor’s research? (1,250 characters or less) 


For this question, the student should outline the basic reasons and goals for undertaking their project. They should introduce their topic, explain why it is important, and briefly state what key questions they aim to address through their proposed work. They should address what they hope to accomplish or learn as a result of their research and describe the impact of their project. 


An excellent response will describe how the proposed project addresses substantive questions or problems in the context of its field(s) of study and mentor's research* (*when applicable).

Academic & Supplemental Relevant Preparation:
Please describe how you are prepared for your proposed project. (1,250 characters or less) 


The student should describe how their prior or current studies, research experiences, internships, jobs, extracurricular activities, study abroad, or other forms of learning support their ability to carry out their project. The student should be specific about the language skills, quantitative skills, or other abilities they possess that will enable them to carry out their project.


An excellent response will provide evidence that the student is strongly prepared by academic and/or other supplemental relevant experience to carry out their proposed project.


Clarity, Adequacy, & Feasibility of Research Plan:
Please describe your research plan. (3,000 characters or less) 


In this question, the student should detail how they propose to carry out their project. The student should address the following questions: 

  • What are the study/research questions or hypotheses that will guide you? 

  • What background reading or other preparation will you undertake before the beginning of the project? 

  • What steps do you envision will be necessary to carry out your project? 

  • Where will your research occur primarily?  If not on campus, please provide a clear justification for the alternative location (see FAQs for more information).

  • What is the expected product of your research – a paper, performance, presentation, etc.?

Note that feasibility is a very important criterion in the selection process. 

An excellent response will provide a research plan that is clear and well-detailed, with proposed methods and timelines that are appropriate for the project. 

Student Initiative & Responsibility:
Please provide an overview outlining your role as the student researcher in your proposed project. (1,250 characters or less) 


In this question, the student should describe their anticipated role in the principal activities of their research project, including their role in data collection, analysis, and interpretation.  


An excellent response will demonstrate student creativity, initiative, and understanding of the proposed project's design. It will be clear that the student will be responsible for principal activities, including any necessary data analysis and interpretation. 

​Impact of Project on Student Development:
How does your proposed project align with or advance your academic or professional trajectory? (1,250 characters or less) 


The student should address how their proposed project contributes to their academic and/or professional trajectory. The student may provide details regarding how their proposal may become part of a larger project (Honors thesis, continuing research, publication, presentation, or performance) in the following semester or academic year. 


An excellent response will explain the proposed project's relevance to the student's academic and career aims.


SPIRE Research Community Statement

What would you seek to gain from community and engagement with SPIRE Peers? (1,250 characters or less) 


During the summer, OUR aims to facilitate a community of researchers among students conducting research on UMD’s campus. SPIRE students will attend periodic weekly seminars, workshops, and/or networking opportunities to develop research skills and meet other undergraduate researchers. OUR aims to make these weekly meetings productive and engaging while addressing the needs of SPIRE students. 

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