Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Advanced Undergraduate Research Activity (AURA)

Advanced Undergraduate Research Activity (AURA) is a spring and summer program to promote advanced research and creative activities among UT undergraduate students. All current undergraduate students enrolled at UT are eligible to apply. AURAs will be awarded to support students who will work to advance their research or creative project under the mentorship of a UTK or UTIA faculty mentor.

Funding Schedule 

  • Spring Semester – First Day of Spring Semester to Last Day of Spring Semester  
  • Summer – Mid-May to Mid-August 

*The exact schedule should be independently arranged between the student and faculty mentor.

Funding Amount 

  • $1500 + $250 research expenses (ex. data, supplies, travel)

*Please note that all student funding will be disbursed through Financial Aid.

Application Schedule 

  • Spring semester:  November 1 – 30 
  • Summer term: March 1 – April 1

Award notifications are made 2 – 3 weeks after submissions close. 

Faculty Mentor 

The faculty mentor’s role is paramount, as they will guide the choice of a project and the practice of professional research approaches and methods. The faculty mentor of an AURA recipient will receive a $250 allocation for materials needed to support the AURA recipient. This advanced research experience can be applied to an international research project as long as a faculty mentor at UT is involved.

The application for Spring 2024 AURA opens November 1st and closes November 30th.

Submit your application and proposal here!

The submission deadline is Friday, December 1, at noon.


For Application 

  • Students must first obtain a faculty mentor to support their efforts. This support includes: choosing a research topic, completing the proposal form, and completing the proposed project.
  • A stipend will pay students to support their Advanced Undergraduate Research Activity (AURA).
  • Projects may be a student’s undergraduate thesis, a part of the faculty mentor’s research program, another research project, or an ongoing project previously initiated. The key is that each student is involved in scholarly work independent of a classroom setting. Such work may be research, or it may be a creative activity involving the arts.
  • Students may receive an AURA for research conducted during a course.

For Funding Term 

  • Students funded through Spring AURA must participate in the Spring Undergraduate Research Seminar Series.
  • Students funded through Summer AURA must participate in the Summer Research Scholars Seminar and attend at least two of the colloquiums.
  • Students funded by this program agree to present their results at the annual fall research celebration, Discovery Day. If graduating in the same spring you receive the AURA funding you must present your research at EUReCA or an equivalent venue.
  • Students funded by this program agree to meet with the Office of Undergraduate Research & Fellowships at least once during the award period to discuss their current research and future research plans. 

How to Apply

The application can be completed in sections and saved for future additions and edits prior to submission. The application deadline for a Spring AURA award is November 30, 2023. The deadline for a Summer AURA award is April 1, 2024. Awardees will be notified once applications have been reviewed.

The application includes a general information form and a two-page research proposal. If you are seeking to work with a partner or group, please see the writing guide for special instructions. You must upload your proposal to the application form as a Word document or PDF. The application will be forwarded to the faculty mentor for approval upon submission.

If troubles arise with the application process, please try the following actions:

  • Try to open the site in a new single browser window (Chrome, Firefox, or Safari).
  • Clear browser cache.
  • Try an on-campus computer or alternative computer. The UT VPN might help.
  • Let us know if issues continue to arise with the application after trying the above troubleshooting via email at

To aid the proposal process, we offer the following writing guide.


AURA Awardees will be selected based on merit. Particular attention will be given to supporting various disciplines across the UT campus, with preference to students who have not previously received an AURA award. The applicants and their selected mentors should read the following criteria to prepare their applications. Traditionally, awardees have received a 3 or 4 in each category. Please review the Guidelines for writing your research proposal.

Proposal Narrative (0-4 points)

Describe your advanced undergraduate research activity (scholarly or creative work). In the description, include the purpose, significance, methods, timeline, and the benchmarks you plan to use to measure your success. Also, please include any resource needs you may have. An additional $250 stipend is offered for an AURA awardee’s research expenses such as data, lab material, or travel.  

  • The proposal should be well written, well defined, and convincing.
  • The proposal should be complete with all parts clearly explained.
  • The project should be manageable and appropriate for the time frame.
  • The needed resources for the activity should be accessible and well planned.

Research Implications (0-4 points)

Describe the research implications of the activity for your discipline. Describe your dissemination intentions such as applications to national scholarships, organizations, and/or fellowships.

  • Be sure that the qualifications, preparation, and experience you have as an undergraduate student are adequate for carrying out the project.
  • Describe your intentions to apply to national scholarships, organizations, and/or fellowships.

Faculty Mentor(s) Impact (0-4 points)

Describe the faculty mentor’s involvement in the proposed project, why it matters to you, how it fits into your own academic journey, why you are passionate about it; describe your qualifications, preparation, and experiences for completing the project. 

  • Describe the relationship between your project and the faculty mentor’s own research, scholarly, or creative work or areas of expertise.
  • Describe the mentor’s past or present experience supervising you in coursework, research, or independent work.
  • Describe how the mentor has prepared you to undertake the project in the time period allowed.

Funding Details

  • Students awarded an AURA will receive and complete an AURA Acceptance form that outlines the details of the program and funding.
  • Upon receipt of the AURA Acceptance form, the department contact will be notified for payment administered by stipend through Financial Aid.
  • Departments will not be reimbursed for work done outside of the program dates.