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URAP at Illinois

What is URAP?

The Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (URAP) at Illinois, a partnership between the Office of Undergraduate Research and the Graduate College, connects undergraduates who are new to research with experienced graduate students and postdocs who mentor and guide them through the research process.

What do URAP Mentors do?

Through participation in the program, URAP mentors gain hands-on experience mentoring undergraduate researchers, develop a robust mentoring philosophy, and learn how to inspire and direct new researchers. Mentors define a semester-long research experience, which mentees undertake in the Spring semester. Undergraduates participating in the program are typically very new to research, and URAP Mentors should not expect significant research output. Instead, URAP Mentors introduce mentees to the research process while developing and strengthening their own mentoring skills.

During the 2024-25 academic year, Graduate Mentors commit to:

  • Attending a virtual orientation in August 2024
  • Participating in a seminar series focused on developing mentoring skills in late Fall 2024
  • Mentoring 1 undergraduate student working approximately 6 hours per week in Spring 2025
  • Participating in regular meetings with program facilitators and other mentors in Spring 2025

URAP is a valuable professional development opportunity. Experience mentoring others and guiding their work is crucial for success in many common career paths for graduate students and postdocs, including faculty careers, industry research, higher education administration, nonprofit leadership, and others. During the program, URAP Mentors will gain skills in this area and learn how to connect those skills to their own career goals.

URAP Mentors receive the Graduate College Mentoring Certificate upon submission of reflections at the end of the program.

Graduate students and postdocs from all fields are encouraged to apply.

How do I become a URAP Mentor?

The Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program invites applications from graduate students and postdocs interested in serving as URAP mentors during the 2024-25 academic year.

Successful applicants typically have demonstrated research experience, have made significant progress on their degrees, and are able to commit sufficient time to the program (particularly in the Spring when demands are heaviest).

To apply, fill out the URAP Mentor application form and submit all supporting materials by 11:59 PM Central on June 20.

URAP Mentor Application Form

Application materials:

  • A current CV
  • Statement 1: Why are you interested in serving as a URAP mentor? What are your goals for participation in the program? [350 words max]
  • Statement 2: Describe your research and discuss the potential for the involvement of an undergraduate research apprentice in it. What will an undergraduate learn by participating in your research? What could a student expect in terms of their primary responsibilities? Please write this statement with an audience of first- and second-year undergraduates in mind and avoid highly technical language. Also keep in mind that URAP mentees participate in research activities but do not undertake entire research projects from conception to completion. Because URAP mentees are new to research, we ask that you not expect or require them to have particular technical skills or experiences. [350 words max]
  • Statement 3: Describe a time when you helped someone learn something. [250 words max]
  • This brief recommendation form filled out by your advisor or Director of Graduate Studies by the deadline

Information Session Recording

We held an information session for prospective URAP Mentors last year, during which participants learned more about the program and heard from previous mentors about their experiences.


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