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Undergraduate Research Mentoring Agreement (URMA)

In undergraduate research (UR), when students succeed, mentors also succeed. Facilitate that success by preventing the most common misunderstandings in individual, mentored research: define milestones, responsibilities, and expected outcomes. Assess all types of UR objectively. Accomplish these goals by using the Undergraduate Research Mentoring Agreement (URMA)!

Where can I get the URMA?

You can get a copy of the URMA by submitting your name and email address to this survey.  Please email us your completed covered sheets for our records.

We also want to know how you use the URMA! We love to have feedback on the form – additions, suggestions, comments, or appreciation. Please email those as well.

What is the URMA?

This document is a tool to set clear expectations for both an undergraduate student and their faculty mentor as a guide for the student's research experience. It is analogous to a course syllabus or independent study contract.


The URMA is a template to record conversations and decisions regarding student needs and expectations, mentor expectations, research milestones, and expected student outcomes.

It can be used for any type of undergraduate research (for credit, for pay, or volunteer) in any context (e.g., studio, archives, laboratory, field work, community engagement). The mentored student can be working on a project of his or her own design or on a contribution to the faculty mentor's research.

The URMA should be completed after an initial agreement to work together has been reached, but prior to or as close to the beginning of the research term as possible. The template is most effective when both mentor and student work collaboratively to fill out the sections. Both the student and mentor can refer to it throughout the term of the agreement, or collaborate to revise it as needed for adjustments.

Furthermore, one intent of this agreement is to form the basis for assessment of progress and evaluation of outcomes, either formally or informally. In addition to setting expectations, the agreement can be used:

  • To Assess the student’s progress and assign a grade for the Mentored Research Experience or other research course;

  • For Reflection by the student on what they have learned;

  • For Developing specific talking points for a resume or interview;

  • For Structuring the components, coordination, & continuity of a long-term or multi-student research project.

At a minimum, both the student and mentor should retain completed copies. Some funded research opportunities may require that this agreement by filed with an administrative office. In that case, be sure to retain copies for referral during the term.

The Office of Undergraduate Research also should receive a copy of the cover page for all agreements.

The URMA includes sections for:

  • Background information: Contains questions to be completed before the conversation; the student writes about their strengths, anticipated challenges, and mentoring and experience expectations.
  • General Expectations:  Describe expectations or requirements for communications, interdependence, resources, training, etc.
  • Research Milestones: Identify several tasks that the student should aim to accomplish as they carry out this project, including a tentative schedule.  Be sure to include any product(s) that the student is expected to complete by the end of the research term, such as a paper, creative work, or presentation.
  • Student Outcomes: Identify and project growth for outcomes (skills, knowledge, professional development, etc.) that should be developed through the process of completing this project.

This page was last updated on:
Monday, July 17, 2017 - 15:45