Roles and Supervision
UROP recognizes two distinct roles:
- the faculty UROP supervisor;
- the direct UROP supervisor (can be same as the faculty supervisor, or can be an instructor, postdoc, or graduate student working under the supervision of the faculty UROP supervisor).
Expectations for UROP supervisors can be found here. In particular, UROP supervisors are responsible for:
- Guidance during proposal development. While the student is the primary author of the 1-3 page UROP proposal (guidelines here) the UROP supervisor(s) should take an active role in mentoring the student as he/she develops the research proposal.
- Proposal review and approval. The faculty supervisor should review the final proposal and indicate approval via the UROP faculty portal. MIT certificates are required. Only the faculty supervisor is authorized to approve UROP proposals and submit them for departmental review. For Wellesley students, the faculty supervisor instead signs the Wellesley cover page. The Wellesley cover page must have a fully-vetted research proposal attached when it is signed/submitted.
- Mentoring. The UROP supervisor(s) oversee the research and provide the student with intellectual guidance throughout the project.
- End-of-term evaluation. Students registering for HST UROP for credit may choose between HST.UR, graded pass/fail, and HST.URG, with letter grades. UROP research performed for a grade under HST.URG must be evaluated on the basis of a final deliverable to the UROP supervisor that takes the form of a written report or an oral presentation. UROP supervisors should make their expectations regarding this report clear to students early in the semester. HST will contact faculty UROP supervisors to request the final grade at the end of the semester.
- UROP deadlines are available here. Proposals for UROP direct funding are typically mid-April for summer, early September for fall term, and early February for spring term. Deadlines for academic credit UROPs are considerably later.
- During the summer, UROPs for academic credit are rare because they incur summer tuition charges.
- Faculty (sponsored research) funding is only available to faculty with MIT cost objects. UROPs through HST cannot be charged to off-campus accounts.
- For academic-credit UROPs, students should select an appropriate number of units with guidance from their UROP supervisors. One MIT unit represents one hour of effort per week, averaged across a 15-week term. So a 12-unit UROP during fall or spring term represents ~180 hours of effort. Because IAP is much shorter, a 12-unit UROP during IAP represents effort of at least 40 hours/week during the month of January. Wellesley students should refer to Cross-Registration Guidelines regarding units of academic credit.
Off-Campus Research Involving Human Subjects
Because UROPs are registered MIT students, off-campus research involving human subjects falls under the jurisdiction of MIT’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) in addition to any other institutions' IRB that apply. You can determine if MIT IRB approval is required based on these criteria. If MIT IRB approval is required for off-campus research, instead of a full MIT application, your lab can submit a request through SMART IRB, allowing MIT to cede review to your PI's institution. Once an off-campus cede review has been submitted, reviewed and approved by COUHES, oversight of the IRB becomes the sole responsibility of the off-campus institution with no future action required at MIT.
In rare cases when the cede review process is not an option students should submit to COUHES the limited set of documents described here.
Off-Campus Research Involving Vertebrate Animals
In the case of off-campus research involving vertebrate animals, students must complete the form “Notification of Off-Campus Animal Use by MIT/WI Student(s)” for MIT’s Committee on Animal Care (CAC). This form is available as the fourth item at https://web.mit.edu/comp-med/restrict/cac/forms.htm. MIT certificates are required to access this site. When filling out this form, students should indicate HST as “Student’s MIT/WI Department:” and list jgreenbe [at] mit.edu (Julie Greenberg), in Section 1 as Department Contact/Department Contact E-mail. The student should send the form to Dr. Greenberg, who will sign in Section 4 as the “MIT Department Representative” and then forward the form to MIT’s CAC.