Frequently Asked Questions

Do URFs have to commit to participate in the program for the whole year?

Yes. The URF program will take place over the entirety of the academic year, so selected URFs must commit to participating in the program in both semesters of the year for which they’re selected.

What if I’m abroad, or not in residence for the fall or spring semesters next year?

Then you should not apply for the URF program next year, though we invite you to apply in a future year when you will be in residence for the entire academic year.

However: if you’re uncertain about your plans for fall study abroad (especially now, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 situation), we invite you to apply for the program anyways. We will be coordinating our timeline with Notre Dame’s timeline on making such decisions as best we can, so our hope is that candidates with offers from our program will know whether their fall study abroad program is going forward before they have to make a decision about whether to accept that offer.

Do I need a faculty member to write a letter of recommendation to complete my application?

No. We do need you to ask a faculty member to be willing to recommend you, and for you to provide their name and email address on the application before you submit it. But we will reach out to these faculty members to receive recommendations on your behalf, should that become necessary in the selection process.

Please note: on some of our advertising materials, we mistakenly said that you would need a faculty member to write a letter of recommendation to complete your application. This is not the case. 

Do I need to write a “letter of interest” to complete my application?

No. All you need to do to complete your application is to fill out the form here.

Please note: on some of our advertising materials, we mistakenly said that you would need to write a “letter of interest” to complete your application. This is not the case. 

How much of a weekly time commitment is the URF program?

URFs will attend a mandatory one-hour weekly seminar with the URF-coordinator. They will also be expected to work up to 9 more hours per week. These hours will be spent: doing research assistantship projects and tasks with assigned PhD and faculty fellows and / or attending NDIAS academic programs and events. URFs will also be invited to the Institute’s social events, but, with only a couple exceptions, attendance at these will be totally optional.

What will I be doing as a research assistant for a PhD or faculty fellow?

Working as a research assistant for one of our PhD or faculty fellows is a highlight of the program. In the weekly seminar, you will be prepared to perform the following kinds of projects and tasks in your research assistantship:

  • critically analyzing and evaluating research conclusions and methods;
  • providing statistical analysis of research data;
  • identifying and retrieving research materials;
  • conducting initial readings of primary and secondary sources;
  • developing bibliographies and literature reviews;
  • drafting notes and annotations;
  • proofreading, copying, and editing.

Obviously the particulars of the research assistantships will depend on the needs and background of the fellows you’ll be matched with, and NDIAS staff will work with both you and your fellows to make sure that you have any relevant training and experience you need to successfully complete this work.