Mentorships for Undergraduate Research
in Agriculture, Letters, and Science
To qualify for MURALS, you must be a Junior or Senior, with a GPA of 3.0 and 90 units and meet one of the following criteria:
- be a financial aid recipient;
- be a first generation college student (neither parent achieving a BA or BS);
- be a reentry student; or
- be a previous participant in a "pre-college" outreach program (e.g., MESA, Upward Bound, EAOP, etc.)
MURALS helps students develop a list of potential faculty to work with and the skills helpful when approaching faculty about research opportunities in order to conduct research in an area of interest. Interested faculty are also encouraged to refer promising students to the Program. The research component of the mentorship varies according to the discipline and the faculty mentor. MURALS students have visited archives, conducted oral interviews, engaged in field research, and gained computer and laboratory skills.
The research component of the mentorship varies according to the discipline and the instructor. MURALS students have visited archives, conducted oral interviews, engaged in field research, and gained computer and laboratory skills.
The mentorship may take two forms:
- A collaborative project with the faculty member, as part of the professor's own research or
- An independent student project developed in consultation with the faculty mentor.
What are the Program Expectations?
Students are expected to make a commitment of two quarters to the MURALS Program. The two quarters do not have to be consecutive quarters nor do they have to be with the same faculty mentor. Students are expected to attend seminars and group meetings, as well as complete journal entries that result in clarification of future educational goals each quarter. They also present their own research in the second quarter of participation. Students are also expected to meet with faculty mentors for ½ hour a week (outside of student advising hours) to discuss the progress of their research projects. Upon completing the MURALS Program, students must write an exit paper, including an abstract of their research project, the findings, outcomes and conclusions, as well as a statement explaining how participation in the MURALS Program was beneficial to their research experience and their future educational goals.
What are the Program Benefits?
Students have an opportunity to complete an independent research experience under the ongoing supervision of a faculty member. This experience becomes an asset when the time comes for the graduate school application process in that they not only gain research experience to draw upon, but the faculty mentor may potentially provide a letter of recommendation. Additionally, students gain experience in giving research talks and in developing a writing sample for the application packet. Students in the program receive academic credit and a $500 award for each quarter. Faculty mentors receive a $250 stipend, which is added to their research account for each quarter of participation. Travel funds are also available to MURALS students, as long as they present their research projects at the conferences they plan to attend. These conferences include the Annual UC Davis Undergraduate Research Conference and the Annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research. Students and faculty mentors attend an Annual Spring Banquet honoring their research accomplishments. MURALS students also have access to related Advising Services programs in assistance for graduate or professional school. These services include access to the letter of recommendation services available at 111 South Hall. MURALS students can also choose to attend the Pre-Graduate School Advising Workshops offered each year and request to be added to the Pre-Graduate School Advising listserv. Finally, through participation in the MURALS Program, students ultimately are able to make an informed decision regarding future educational plans.