Please refer to the chart below for links and details. For more about student participation, funding, and other ways the OUR can help support student research, see the New Faculty Guidebook.

Undergraduate students may work with faculty members as part of a(n)

  • Unpaid internship
  • Independent study course for academic credit
  • Paid research assistant position

The following chart provides an outline for faculty to identify which student classification best fits their needs and the operations of the department, as well as the needs of students. Students may transition from one classification to another over time; however, students may not receive pay and course credit simultaneously per university policy. Faculty may post open positions on our new AURA system (paid, unpaid, or for credit); however, paid positions must be listed through JobLink as well.

Research Classifications

Student Classification

Faculty Responsibility 
and Guidelines

Limitations and Considerations

Research for pay ("Research Assistant")

This classification requires:

  • Supervision
  • Provision of a specific job description through JobLink and regular performance evaluations
  • Agreement upon a schedule and terms of employment
  • Students may work no more than 20 hours per week during the academic year. Students may work for 40 hours per week during the summer months.

Research for course credit
("Independent Study")

This classification requires:

  • Student completion of an online Independent Study Form; information and instructions on the College Center for Advising Services' Independent Study page.
  • Supervision by a full-time member of the teaching faculty
  • Co-creation of a project description, learning outcomes, and assessment criteria
  • Provision of a course grade

Research as an unpaid intern

This classification requires:

  • Unpaid internships must have a defined beginning and end, but may be re-registered through SMD or River Campus every six months.
  • Unpaid, uncredited experiences are permitted, but must be primarily for the educational benefit of the student.

Looking for some help finding an undergraduate research assistant?

Advertise with us! Post a position on the Office of Undergraduate Research AURA system. Access to Undergraduate Research Activities (AURA) is a platform that connects undergraduate students to research opportunities at the University of Rochester across all disciplines. Using AURA, undergraduates can find research positions that match their interests, and research mentors (professors, principal investigators, research team leaders, graduate students, postdocs and lab technicians) can identify students that are best qualified for their research projects. Please note: paid research positions must still be posted on JobLink, and for-credit research must be registered as an independent study course.

Onboarding Protocol

Click here to download our quick-guide to onboarding a student for participation in research.

Laws about Unpaid, Not-for-Credit Student Researchers 

The laws that govern volunteering permit full-time, currently enrolled students or a student who is between programs (as long as no more than six months has elapsed between the end of one program and the start of the next) to accept an unpaid, un-credited research position if the experience is primarily for the educational benefit of the student. The position may be conducted as an in-person experience, remotely, or virtually. A faculty member who is unclear about whether a plan for a research experience meets the standards outlined below should consult the Office of the Dean of Arts, Sciences and Engineering.