Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award (OURA)

This award recognizes undergraduate students for outstanding research contributions with research advisors at or outside Mason.

Award details:

  • There will be two awards given per year, one for a senior, and one for juniors or sophomores
  • Award amount $100
  • Awards will be announced at the end of semester


  • Must be full-time students who are either sophomores, juniors, or seniors
  • Must have completed at least one semester of research prior to application

Application Procedure:

  • Applicants must complete a two page research summary listing relevant research accomplishments
  • Research advisor must submit a recommendation letter

Proposal Review Procedure:

Applications will be reviewed with consideration of:

  • Quality of research summary
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Accomplishments and level of contribution of undergraduate in research project


Guidelines for Recommendation Letters:

The purpose of the OURA award is to recognize outstanding research conducted by an undergraduate and should hence focus on the direct experience the research advisor has had with the student while the research project was undertaken. The letter of recommendation should state specifically, the contributions made my the nominee in the research project, highlighting the initiative and creativity of the student. If the nominee is a co-author on a paper or presented their work at a conference, the recommender should state what role the nominee played in the publication or preparation of a poster or oral presentation.

Guidelines for Students:

Like the recommendation letters, the research statement should focus on the nominee’s research contributions. Students should list any publications (accepted and submitted) with full citations (i.e., full author list exactly as given in the publication, title, journal, year, etc.). For each publication, the nominee should list his/her contribution to the paper.

The research statement prepared by the student should focus on the research, clearly stating the problem addressed and providing specific details of what the nominee contributed. Remember that the award committee will consist of faculty who are not made up of specialists in the nominee’s field, so it is appropriate to explain the research in a broader context. The more detail that can be provided on the nominee’s part of the project as well as impact and novelty of the nominee’s contribution, the better the award committee can understand what the nominee did.

  • Questions and inquiries about the awards should be directed to ssatyapa@gmu.edu.
  • The deadline for nominations is Thursday April 21th , 2016.
  • Winners will be notified prior to the last day of finals.

To apply, please send your name, advisor’s name, and research statement to physicsaward@www.physics.gmu.edu. Be sure to talk to your advisor to get him or her to submit a recommendation letter to the same email on your behalf.