For Current Scholars

Getting Started

At the start of the research term (and preferably before the term begins), students and their faculty mentors should meet to discuss:

  • Work schedule: days/hours the student is expected to engage in the research
  • Expectations: what the student is expected to accomplish during the term
  • Preparation: required trainings or certifications that the student may need to complete before starting the research
  • Meetings: schedule for the student and faculty mentor and/or other research supervisor to meet
    • This should be at least once a week and all or most of these meetings should be in person
  • Tracking: establish a document or system to track student 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 the student has questions or difficulty with any of the research tasks or in identifying next steps in the project.
    • For students: it is your responsibility to let your faculty mentor and/or other research supervisor know when you have questions or need help with the research.
    • For faculty: it is your responsibility to provide adequate training and guidance as well as clear feedback about any problems or issues. 

Additional information

Start of term confirmation:

  • Prior to the start of each term of research, you will receive an email with a link to an online start of term confirmation form.
  • You are required to submit this form, whether or not you plan to engage in the research in the designated term.
  • In the term 2 confirmation form, you will be asked whether you plan to engage in this term of research for the stipend OR for academic credit.

Academic credit (only an option for the 2nd term of the assistantship):

  • Students may not receive both a stipend and academic credit for the same term of the Presidential Scholar research assistantship.
  • Independent Study credit must be arranged through the faculty research mentor and approved by the relevant academic department or program prior to the start of the term of research.
  • The faculty mentor ultimately makes the decision as to whether independent study credit is appropriate, and this option generally requires a bigger time commitment from the student than the stipend option.
  • Some academic departments and programs 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 academic department or program, students must register for the course as they would for any other class. UGAR is not involved in the course registration process.
  • Students whose faculty mentor is in Geisel or Tuck may not have the option for Independent Study credit unless their major department allows this.

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 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

This is an academic program, and close collaboration between the student and faculty-mentor on the research is required.

Students must be on campus during both terms of the assistantship

  • This requirement will not be waived for any reason.

It is expected that students will be enrolled in classes during both terms of the assistantship and that faculty mentors will be on campus during those terms.

  • Students may submit a petition to waive one or the other of these expectations but there must be a compelling reason to do so.
  • Waivers to engage in the research during a leave term will only be considered for one of these two scenarios:
    • The student does not have two R terms during the junior year.
    • The faculty mentor will not be on campus during the student's R terms. The student and faculty mentor must both be on campus for at least one of the two terms of the research assistantship.
  • The waiver form must be submitted 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 waiver form.

Research Video Competition

Consider submitting a 3 minute 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. Check out the website for information about the competition and deadlines.

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