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Summer Research Opportunities Program for Undergraduates

The Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) was first established in 1986 by the Graduate Deans of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC). The goal of SROP is to introduce domestic underrepresented sophomores and juniors to academic research experiences. Student participants work one-on-one with a faculty mentor giving them an opportunity to experience research and the graduate student experience. The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) launched its SROP in 1986, with a total of six minority undergraduate students. After twenty-eight years of hosting this program, UIC has had over one thousand student participants.

The success of SROP has been truly phenomenal. The retention, graduation, and post-baccalaureate rates of SROP students are substantially higher than those of the general student population. More than two-thirds of the SROP alumni have gone on to graduate and professional schools -- four times the national average for all baccalaureates in the U.S.

UIC's numbers are equally impressive. At last count, 97% of those students who participated in its program have continued their studies or have earned a BA/BS degree, 47% are working toward or have completed a graduate degree, and 21.2% are working toward or have completed a professional degree. Our diverse student body, Research Extensive standing and location in the heart of downtown Chicago provide for an exceptional summer research experience.

In the Fall semester, the Graduate College invites undergraduates to apply for participation in SROP. The student may apply to the program already having a research project in mind and a committed faculty mentor or simply by having a research area of interest. In cases where a student has an experienced interest but no mentor, the SROP staff will try to facilitate a match. The SROP Staff and faculty advisory committee are responsible for the selection process, the allocation of funding, and the evaluation of the program. Faculty or students interested in participating in the program should contact program Director, Allen Bryson at (312) 413-2558 or ajbryson@uic.edu.

Program Structure

In addition to working one-on-one with a faculty member, scholars participate in the following programmatic components:

  • Campus-based educational enrichment activities designed to broaden the students' view of graduate education and research;
  • Workshops that inform students about graduate admissions procedures, financial aid opportunities, and test-taking skills;
  • Seminars conducted by faculty and graduate students that expose students to a wide range of fields of study and research instruction.
  • Informal social gatherings that provide a relaxed setting for students and faculty to exchange ideas and share experiences;
  • The Illinois Summer Research Symposium conference where scholars have the opportunity to introduce their research and meet with other students who are interested in academic careers. Sponsred by the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.
  • University of Illinois at Chicago sponsored final symposium for the formal presentation of scholars' research projects.

Please note:  Due to the 30-40 hour per week obligation to research activities, students who participate in SROP should view this program as a "full-time" experience. Holding additional internships, outside employment, or taking courses of any kind during SROP is strictly prohibited.

FAQ About SROP

Who is eligible to participate in SROP?
Traditionally sophomores and juniors from historically underrepresented ethnic minority groups who have a 3.75 (A=5.0) / 2.75 (A=4.0) or higher grade point average are invited to apply.

What are the benefits of the program?
Students receive an award of up to $4,000 to work with talented faculty at a Research I institution with state-of-the-art facilities. That experience includes instruction in research development which prepares students for the demands of graduate study. They also learn how to apply for admissions and financial support for graduate school. In addition, SROP students are offered opportunities to present their research projects twice during the summer calendar.

What about housing/board and travel?
The program covers the cost of travel (up to $350) and housing for students who do not live in Chicago or the surrounding suburbs.

What are the dates of the program?
The SROP is a ten-week program that begins May 29, 2014 and concludes August 1, 2014.

How do I apply to the program?
The application deadline is February 7, 2014. There is no application fee. To receive an application, please click this link.   For questions regarding the application contact Allen J. Bryson, the SROP Director via phone at (312) 413-2558 or Daisy Little at (312) 413-0430 or via email at sropuic@gmail.com.

Samples of SROP Student Research Abstracts