Skip to main content
Sign In

University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus

Office of Undergraduate Experiences

Research. Create. Innovate.

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program

The CU Denver Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) is a competitive program designed to financially support research projects for CU Denver undergraduate students.  Undergraduate research is an opportunity to extend learning outside the traditional classroom, laboratory, or studio; to utilize creativity and curiosity in the development of new knowledge, art, or innovation; to become more self-confident and independent; and to gain experience in presenting results to peers and mentors.

What do we mean by research?

UROP supports student projects under the broadest possible definition of “research.”  All undergraduate students, independent of college or school, are eligible for UROP research funds.  Examples of UROP projects include:

·         * creative projects – art, film, history, literature, etc. in the arts, humanities, or architecture

·         * field projects – field-based projects in anthropology, architecture, or business

·         * demographic studies – new uses of existing data in social sciences, public policy, or public health

·         * laboratory projects – lab-based projects in behavioral sciences, bio/physical sciences, or engineering

·         * entrepreneurial projects – organization of new projects in business or policy areas

·         * health projects – clinical or translational research in behavioral or bio/physical sciences.

What binds these broad definitions of research together is the creation of new knowledge. Other projects eligible for UROP funding include senior design projects, senior capstone, honors thesis, and faculty-sponsored research, as long as these projects have a research component.


Project Eligibility                    

While UROP is designed to support a wide range of student- or faculty-initiated projects, not all potential projects are eligible for the UROP funding.  Examples of undergraduate projects NOT eligible for UROP funding include:

·        * project that is dependent upon another project for data, results, or collaboration

·        * project that is dependent on other sources of funding not secured by the time of the application

·       *  funding requested only to enhance the student’s talents without actually including a research or creative project

·        *  project whose location or function is deemed unsafe by CU or federal officials.

Students with questions about project eligibility should consult with their faculty mentor and contact Neda Barrett at the Office of Undergraduate Experiences, 303-315-2133, sufficiently in advance of the application deadline.


Student Eligibility                

Each student seeking UROP grant support must meet each of the following eligibility requirements at the time of the UROP application deadline:

·        * undergraduate CU Denver (Denver or Anschutz) student admitted to a baccalaureate degree program, and

·        * minimum of 12  semester hours of completed CU course work with a minimum CU GPA of 2.5, and

·         * UROP project consistent with student’s declared major and/or minor, and

·         * projected graduation not sooner than December of the year of the UROP grant award.

Students seeking UROP funding through the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CCTSI) program (see below) must meet ONE of these additional requirements:

·         * ethnic minority underrepresented in the sciences, defined as Latino, African American, Native American, or Pacific Islander, or

·       *  high school graduate from a rural community, or

·        * first-generation (neither parent/guardian has a baccalaureate degree) college student.


Faculty Eligibility

One of the important collaborations for undergraduate research is the mentoring from a faculty member experienced in discipline-specific research or creative methodology.  Whether the UROP project is student or faculty initiated, it is important that a UROP student work closely with the faculty mentor to define realistic goals and a timeframe for the project, support the student preparation of the UROP application, lead efforts to satisfy university requirements for working with human subjects or animals, meet regularly with UROP student(s) to supervise results, oversee budget expenditures, and support the student preparation of the final report.

Faculty desiring to mentor students for a UROP project must meet the following criteria:

·        * regular or adjunct faculty appointment from the Denver Campus or Anschutz Medical Campus, or an affiliation with a research facility not either the Denver or Anschutz Medical Campuses (e.g., VA, National Jewish, etc.)

·        * CU Denver lecturer or instructor needs permission of the department chair or program director.



UROP grants are designed to cover expenses, travel, and stipends for the successful completion of the research or creative activities project.  UROP funding must support the goals of the UROP project, but funding is flexible and may include supplies, equipment and instrumentation, travel to/from the research project, travel to present project results at a professional conference, or a student stipend as payment for work directly upon the project.  All equipment and unused supplies remains the property of the University upon completion of the UROP project. Stipends occur in two installments rather than a single payment, after confirmation from the faculty mentor that the student has spent sufficient time on her/his project.Please note that projects that only ask for stipends are usually more scrutinized in the review process. The University requires students receiving a stipend to become employees, which in turn requires a Social Security card, valid driver’s license, successful criminal background check, and electronic bank deposit information.  A stipend is reported to the Internal Revenue Service as income and is subject to federal and state income taxes


UROP currently limits awards to a maximum budget defined in the categories below:

·         $1200 – single student acting as the Principal Investigator (PI)

      $2400 – dual student project with one student as PI and the other as co-Principal Investigator (co-PI)

·         $3600 – three or more students participating in a group project with one PI and 2, or more, co-PIs.

The UROP Principal Investigator will work with the Office of Undergraduate Experiences (or the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute Office at the Anschutz Medical Campus) to expend the research funds consistent with the approved budget.  UROP funding coincides with the University fiscal year, 1 July through 30 June; thus, students awarded a UROP grant in the summer will not have access to funds until early July.  Approved project expenditures prior to July must be covered by non-UROP funds and are eligible for reimbursement once UROP funds become available in July.              

UROP does place some restrictions on expenditures, and here is an outline of budget items NOT allowed that will disqualify a UROP application:

·         - budget request totaling more than the maximum allowed under UROP policies

·         - travel for previously completed research projects

·         - courses or training not available at CU Denver

·         - stipend that does not directly support the UROP project objectives.

Thanks to support from the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CCTSI) grant at the Anschutz Medical Campus, additional UROP funds are available for students engaged in clinical or translational research.  UROP-CCTSI awardees must also agree to participate in the CCTSI Summer Undergraduate Minority Mentoring in Translational Sciences (SUMMIT) program that provides research and leadership support through a research fair and summer “Leaders Lunch” seminar series.



The UROP application window is from mid-January until the application deadline, which is typically the first week in March.  The electronic UROP application can be found on the left side bar of this page. A complete application, including the faculty mentor’s section, is due at the deadline by electronic submission.  Review of the UROP application by the faculty mentor prior to submission is required, and students are encouraged to work with the CU Denver Writing Center for a well organization and written application.  Support from the faculty mentor is vital; however, the UROP application must be written by the student.

Guidelines below are provided to assist the student preparation of the UROP application.  Students are encouraged to pay particular attention to the introduction, project description, and budget sections of the application.  The student Principal Investigator (PI) must verify on the application that s/he has reviewed these guidelines.

- Introduction
The introduction section should be broad in scope and written for the reviewer without content expertise.  It must include references to previous work that serves as the foundation for the proposed project.  Previous work cited must be noted and document with references in the bibliography section.  After reading the introduction, a reviewer should have an overview of the project and a foundation for details that are provided in the project description section.


- Objectives
The project objectives, or goals, must be clearly identified.  The objectives of the UROP project should allow the reviewer to answer these questions
 * What is the hypothesis to be examined or the creativity to be attained? 
What is the new knowledge being created? 
* How can a successful project be defined?

- Project Description
A detail-oriented, content-specific project section is the heart of the UROP application.  The level of detail required must be sufficient for a reviewer with content expertise to evaluate the student’s understanding of the project.  Any reliance upon previous work must be footnoted or end-noted.  Preliminary results should be included and referenced.  Pictures, graphs, and tables are encouraged to keep this section to the 1000-word limit.
For projects with multiple student investigators, the role and responsibility of each student, PI, and co-PI, must be identified.


- Project Timeline 
The Timeline section is an estimate of time/date to meet estimated project milestones.  Coordination with the faculty mentor is expected to provide realistic timelines on an approximate monthly or semester basis. 


- Bibliography 
The references cited in the introduction and project description sections must have a complete citation in the bibliography section.  Any professional format is acceptable.  An emphasis on quality academic references is expected.


- Budget
A detailed, objective-aligned budget is important to the UROP application and receives careful analysis in the review process. 

* Instrumentation and supplies must have accurate costs, not broad estimates.

Travel funds to a professional conference must be related to this UROP project, must identify expected student participation/presentation, and  must include accurate costs, not broad estimates.
Travel funds to/from an external project site must use IRS mileage rates and must exclude mileage for commuting to/from campus
A stipend must provide clear support for the project objectives, not just pay to the student.The stipend must include expected project hours and the hourly rate of pay. If applying for stipend, the student must clearly state why a stipend is necessary to complete the work, how many hours they anticipate spending on the project, and how they calculate their hourly rate.
Any non-UROP funds used for the project must be identified and verified with an accompanying letter of support from the program/department providing the funds.
  Any previous, or current, federal, state, CU Denver, UROP or CCTSI support must be acknowledged.

We do not accept changes to the budget after the project has been approved for funding.

- Results Presentation
Each UROP awardee is required to present the project results at the CU Denver Research and Creative Activities Symposium (RaCAS) the following spring.  If not all of the work of a UROP project is completed by the time of RaCAS, results to date are acceptable.  Additional oral presentations, poster sessions, or published papers expected from the UROP project are important to include in the UROP application in order to evaluate the student’s learning potential.Read about the 17th Annual Research and Creative Activities Symposium here.


- Faculty Support 
Faculty mentoring is very important for undergraduate research participation and success, and a separate section written by the faculty member is required.  Details of how the faculty member will mentor the UROP project are required.  Additionally, faculty are expected to verify their lead role in working with the Institutional Review Board (human subjects), Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (animal subjects), and/or the Office of Risk Management (minor subjects, travel, hazardous materials, etc.).

The faculty mentor must verify on the application that s/he has reviewed the UROP application prior to submission and has provided an overview of his/her support in developing the UROP application.


- Review Criteria                 
The UROP application and review are designed to provide the flexibility needed to meet diverse educational needs of undergraduate students from the Denver and Anschutz Medical campuses.  Thus, each UROP application is independently reviewed by multiple CU Denver faculty and staff.  It is important to note that faculty and staff who review UROP applications may, or may not, have content expertise for the UROP project.  Selection criteria include:

         project – project foundation in the introduction, realistic objectives and timeframe, anddetailed project description, all in an organized, well written application;

         bibliography – quality academic references that support the introduction and project description sections;

         budget – detailed budget request required to support project objectives;

         faculty mentoring – extent of collaboration and mentoring from faculty member;

         learning – evaluation of potential student learning from project and presentations/publications;

         academic record – major/minor, course work, and academic credentials to support project.

The deadline to apply for the 2015-16 UROP award is March 6, 2015, 5:00 pm. Please see application guidelines 2015-16 UROP Application-1.docx2015-16 UROP Application-1.docx




Office of Undergraduate Experiences

Phone: 303-315-2133 • Fax: 303-315-5829

Street Address: 1380 Lawrence Street, Ste 300

Denver, CO 80204

University of Colorado Denver

© The Regents of the University of Colorado, a body corporate. All rights reserved.

All trademarks are registered property of the University. Used by permission only.