For Current Scholars

Getting Started

Prior to the start of your assistantship, set up an initial meeting with your faculty mentor to discuss:

  • Work schedule: days/hours your faculty mentor expects you to work
  • Expectations: what your faculty mentor expects you to accomplish during the term
  • Preparation: required trainings or certifications that you need to complete before starting the research
  • Meetings: schedule for you and your faculty mentor and/or other research supervisor to meet (preferably at least once a week at a regular time)
  • Tracking: establish a document or system to track the time spent on the research and the tasks accomplished
    • This is particularly important for international students as these hours may be considered work by the U.S. government
  • Troubleshooting: what to do if you have questions or difficulty with any of the tasks you have been assigned. Note that it is your responsibility to let your faculty mentor and/or other research supervisor know when you need help with tasks. 


Students may not receive both a stipend and academic credit for the same term of the Presidential Scholar research assistantship.


  • The $1000 stipend is paid as a lump sum at the end of each term and is contingent on confirmation of satisfactory work by both the student and the faculty mentor.
  • Scholars are not required to complete timesheets. However, it is recommended that students keep track of the time they spend on the project so that they can demonstrate they met the requirements for the program (100 hours over the course of the term).
  • Students who do not meet the requirements of the program will not receive a stipend for that term. Partial stipends are not an option.
  • Stipend payments for international students (non-resident aliens) are subject to a 14 percent tax.
  • Direct deposit is currently not offered for student payments (i.e., stipends, fellowships, reimbursements, awards).
  • Checks are ordered once a week and only after both the Scholar and the faculty mentor have submitted the online confirmation forms.
    • Once the check has been ordered, it takes two weeks for it to be issued by the Accounts Payable office; it may take longer for international students. This time frame is non-negotiable – there is no way to speed up the process.
    • The end-of-term confirmation form asks students whether they would like their check sent to their Hinman Box or their legal mailing address as listed in Banner Student.
  • If you don't receive your stipend check, contact UGAR. In some cases, the confirmation form may not have been received. In other cases, there is simply a delay while Accounts Payable processes the request. It is possible, too, that the check has been sent to the wrong address or lost in the mail, so please do check with us if you have not received your check by the beginning of the following term.
  • Students may not receive additional funding or wages for the same hours required of the research assistantship. That is, faculty cannot pay students for research unless students are working on the project more than 7-12 hours per week.

Academic credit (only available in the 2nd term of the assistantship):

  • Independent Study credit must be arranged through the faculty research mentor and approved by that professor's department prior to the start of the academic term.
  • The faculty mentor ultimately makes the decision as to whether independent study credit is appropriate, and this option generally requires a larger time commitment from the student than the stipend option.
  • Some departments have specific requirements and pre-requisites for approval of research for credit, and students must satisfy these requirements in order to be eligible for independent study credit. 
  • If the independent study is approved by the department, students must register for the course through the Registrar's office. UGAR is not involved in the course registration process.

Transcript Designation

Transcripts of students who successfully complete both terms of the assistantship will carry the notation James O. Freedman Presidential Scholar Research Assistant.

Students who satisfactorily complete the assistantship and successfully complete the honors program in their major department/program will be designated James O. Freedman Presidential Scholars at Commencement and on their transcripts. The Presidential Scholar research assistantship and the honors program are not required to be in the same subject or department.

Senior Honors Thesis Fund

Available to undergraduates who have successfully completed two terms of a James O. Freedman Presidential Scholar assistantship and who have departmental approval to do a senior honors thesis. Your thesis topic does not have to be in the same department as or related to your Presidential Scholar research.

Students who complete the requirements of the Presidential Scholar program may apply for up to $300 in additional funding for expenses related to honors thesis research (travel, supplies, etc.).

NOTE: These funds are for students conducting honors thesis work who do not need a full thesis grant.

Senior Honor Thesis Funding Application

Waiver Information

  • It is expected that the assistantship will be conducted during term(s) in which the student is enrolled in classes and both the student and faculty mentor are on campus.
    • This is an academic program, and close collaboration between the student and faculty-mentor on the research is expected.
  • In some cases, this policy may be waived but ONLY if there is a compelling reason to do so (e.g. student and faculty mentor are both on the same off-campus program).
    • Waivers will not generally be granted for students who will be on a leave term if they will not be on campus and/or will be engaged in other activities such as jobs or internships that require significant time commitments.
  • Students who want to pursue this option must submit a petition BEFORE the start of the research term. Both the faculty mentor and UGAR must approve the waiver.
  • It is frequently the case that students do not complete assistantships conducted during off terms and end up discontinuing the program. Those that are successful have a clear plan established before the start of the term and maintain regular contact with their faculty mentors.                                                  

Click here to access the petition form.

Research Video Competition

Consider submitting a video about your research for a chance to win cash prizes! Short videos are a great way for you to share your research with the broader Dartmouth community. The MAD (Made At Dartmouth) Research Video Competition is jointly sponsored by UGAR and the Jones Media Center (JMC) in Baker-Berry Library. Submissions are limited to a maximum of three minutes. Submission deadline

The Jones Media Center can help you with your video by providing loaner equipment as well as tips and advice about shooting footage and editing your video.