Penn Undergraduate Research Mentoring Program
Penn Undergraduate Research Mentoring Program
Last year’s PURM Project Listings can be seen here.
Each year Penn supports undergraduate involvement in faculty research through the Penn Undergraduate Research Mentoring Program (PURM), which provides students completing their first or second undergraduate year the opportunity to spend a summer as a research assistant for a Penn faculty member. PURM was created in 2007 to provide first-year undergraduates with a substantial entry-level summer research experience under the guidance and direction of a faculty mentor. Thanks to the generosity of President Amy Gutmann, in summer 2009 PURM was expanded to include second-year undergraduates. Since its inception PURM has funded more than 150 Penn faculty members to provide nearly 200 undergraduates with cutting-edge research experiences.
Student participants receive a $3,000 student stipend funded entirely by PURM. Faculty can choose to participate in one of two ways:
- One student research assistant will be funded entirely by PURM, and the faculty member will receive an additional $2,500 to support their research project, or
- Faculty may engage two PURM students by using their PURM research fund to engage a second student (this requires a small contribution from the faculty member’s own research funds to fully fund the second student).
- This $2,500 research award cannot be taken as faculty salary
NOTE: Faculty whose research affiliation is at CHOP may participate in PURM, but they are not eligible to receive PURM research funding. These faculty may engage one PURM student (with no research funds), or they may contact Dr. Wallace Genser at to arrange co-funding for a second PURM student.
Faculty Research Mentors
Faculty members in any discipline from any of Penn’s twelve schools are encouraged to apply. Faculty may describe up to three research projects on which undergraduates could assist them for ten weeks during the summer. Projects may also include curricular development. Research projects can be carried out on Penn’s campus, on other campuses, or at collections, archives, field sites, or other locations throughout the world. PURM’s goal is to expose students to the reality of academic scholarship early in their undergraduate years, so students should be included as much as feasible in all phases of the project, although they are not required to play a leading or independent role. Project descriptions (250-word maximum per project) should include the project aim, student responsibilities and duties, and required skills. Since projects are selected for funding based in part on significant student interest, project descriptions should also include a brief statement of what a student will gain from participating in the project. Projects submitted by standing faculty will be given priority, and preference will be given to faculty members who have not previously participated in PURM. However, each year the program includes faculty who have previously participated in PURM, so faculty recipients from past years are encouraged to reapply.
Faculty project submissions for 2014 will soon be accepted.
Student Research Assistants
PURM students participate in cutting-edge research in a variety of fields, gain an understanding of the research process, and develop a one-on-one relationship with a Penn faculty member. Past participants have noted that participating in PURM allowed them to experience the triumphs and challenges of advanced research, while honing their analytical skills and providing them with deeper knowledge of research in their field.
Students must be available to work on their PURM project full-time for ten full weeks during the summer. In many cases, PURM research relationships continue during the academic year through informal collaborations, independent study, or departmental or university-funded research grants.
Since students will be engaged full-time during their PURM experience, PURM participants may not be involved in any other paid employment or internship at the University of Pennsylvania during the ten weeks of the PURM experience. (Subject to their PURM Faculty Mentor’s approval, students may be able to enroll in one course per summer half-term, provided it does not interfere with the needs of the project.) The exact dates that students will work on their project will be determined in conjunction with their PURM Faculty Mentor.
All full-time undergraduates from Penn’s four undergraduate schools who are completing their first- or second-year of college are eligible to apply.
2013 PURM Project Listings can be seen here. 2014 listings will be available in early January. Please take note of the project titles so that you do not apply to the wrong project.
Students must apply via the Application Form no later than 4:00pm, February 23, 2014. Students may apply for up to three projects and will be required to indicate their first, second, and third choices.
To maximize your chances of being selected for a PURM interview, apply for projects submitted by 3 different faculty mentors. If you are selected for an interview, you will be considered for any of that faculty member’s projects.
Faculty can submit one to three research projects that would benefit from student research assistance no later than January 28, 2013 via the Faculty project submission form. Applications from student finalists will be sent to PURM faculty, who are strongly encouraged to interview finalists. Because there are always more faculty projects than funding available, not all faculty submitting projects will receive funding through PURM.
- January 28, 2014 – Faculty applications due electronically to CURF
- February 23, 2014, 4:00pm – Student Application Form due electronically to CURF
- March 31, 2014 – All faculty and students will be notified of decisions
Dr. Wallace Genser