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). 

All UROP supervisors should review the expectations and guidelines 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.

General Information

  • 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.
  • Direct funded UROPs have firm hourly limits, based on the funding designated on the UROP application. Students and UROP supervisors must report the number of hours worked on a weekly basis and are responsible for remaining within the budget amount awarded for the term.
  • 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.
  • During the summer, UROPs for academic credit are tuition free up to a maximum of 18 units. Credit in excess of 18 units incurs summer tuition charges. 

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. When a UROP student is engaged in off-campus research under the supervision of a faculty member without a primary MIT appointment, the first step is to determine if MIT is engaged in the research, based on the  definition here and Engaged in Research: Scenarios here. If the answer is no (for example, in the case of de-identified data), then the UROP supervisor should simply confirm that the student's involvement is in compliance with all local IRB policies. If the answer is yes (for example the student has direct interactions with human subjects), then project information must be submitted to the MIT COUHES office as follows:

  • For projects that meet these qualifications for exempt review, the student should use COUHES Connect to submit an Exempt Evaluation, listing themselves as PI on the exempt form, with their academic advisor as the faculty sponsor.
  • If the research is not exempt, the other institution should be asked to enter into a Single IRB agreement as the Reviewing Institution, with MIT as the Relying Institution, using the Reliance Request Form – MIT to Rely
  • If the Single IRB reliance process is not an option, the student 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 MIT certificates are required to access this site. (For research performed at MGH: MIT's CAC requires that this form be accompanied by a copy of the most recent approval letter, but not a copy of the protocol itself.) 

When filling out this form, students should indicate HST as “Student’s MIT/WI Department:” and list jgreenbe [at] (Laurie Ward )in Section 1 as Department Contact/Department Contact E-mail. The student should send the form to Laurie, who will sign in Section 4 as the “MIT Department Representative” and then forward the form to MIT’s CAC.