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Students working alongside faculty researchers as they explore new ways to understand and improve our ever-changing world.



More than a job

Close student-faculty interaction is at the heart of USOAR, or Undergraduate Student Opportunities in Academic Research. Through USOAR, students obtain paid research experience—working 5-10 hours a week—and the chance to build strong and thoughtful relationships with faculty.

USOAR seeks students with financial need and who come from underrepresented populations, offering them a clear path into college-level research.

Work-study eligible students apply for a research position with a particular faculty member who will oversee their progress throughout the course of the semester or year. Many faculty members offer an ongoing student position that may continue throughout the student’s undergraduate career.

Help students soar

Across the disciplines, our faculty make scholarly contributions and groundbreaking discoveries that are expanding UVA’s research influence worldwide. For our undergraduates, the link between the classroom and UVA’s research enterprise is USOAR, the Undergraduate Student Opportunities in Academic Research program. Through USOAR, students engage in research investigations alongside faculty mentors who are renowned experts in their fields.

From the sciences to the humanities and social sciences, USOAR students are engaged in valuable research experiences. The following are a few examples.

  • Culturing cells, making polymer nanofiber materials, and using time-lapse video microscopy to deepen our understanding of cell migration
  • Collecting and analyzing media to determine changes in public concern about ethical issues, particularly at transnational, international, and global levels
  • Observing college teaching practices, administering surveys, and collecting and coding data—all with the goal of improving college instruction

USOAR supports first-year, second-year, and transfer students who wish to substitute work-study for paid research opportunities with faculty members—an experience that stimulates young researchers and boosts their academic success. USOAR applicants are not required or expected to have prior knowledge of research skills and experiences—just the capacity to do good work and some background in their area of interest.