Format for Proposals

USOAR_Proposal_Guidelines_Header

USOAR Proposals

The research proposal focuses you and your work before getting started. It shows the USOAR Selection Committee that you are knowledgeable about your proposed project, what it will entail, its purpose, what you will be doing, etc. It also provides a good base for the information you will later have to put on your poster for Undergraduate Research and Artistry Day. 


Proposal Guidelines

Talk to your faculty sponsor before you prepare your application. Be sure to follow the guidelines below; failure to follow them will disqualify your application. Documents should be saved and emailed to ugresearch@niu.edu using standard file types, such as .doc, .docx and .pdf.  A complete application consists of the following. See the following pages for detailed instructions:

  • Cover sheet
  • Abstract
  • Project description, which includes all sub-sections (limit 3 pages)
  • Impact on academic experience
  • Timeline of activities
  • Itemized budget and budget justification (1 page)
  • Literature cited
  • Unofficial Transcript
  • Scholar/Mentor Contract
  • Letter of recommendation from faculty supervisor

Proposal Formatting

The research proposal focuses you and your work before getting started. It shows the USOAR Selection Committee that you are knowledgeable about your proposed project, what it will entail, its purpose, what you will be doing, etc. It also provides a good base for the information you will later have to put on your poster for Undergraduate Research and Artistry Day.

The USOAR Selection Committee consists of individuals from a variety of academic disciplines, and not necessarily in your field of study, so avoid buzz words, identify acronyms, and write your project description to an education but not necessarily expert audience.

Please use this list to check proposals for formatting.  Only complete, correctly-formatted proposals will be considered.

Cover Page All proposals must be accompanied by the USOAR Proposal Cover Page.  Proposals submitted with a different cover page will not be accepted.  If more than one student is participating in a USOAR project, each student must fill out a separate cover sheet.  Proposals without a cover page will not be considered for funding.
Margins Margins should be 1".
Length The main body of the proposal should be no more than 3 pages.
Font type and size The type font and size for the proposal is Times New Roman, 12 pt. font.
Spacing The proposal should be single-spaced.
Justification All proposal items should be left justified.
Literature citations Literature citations within the text should be properly cited in an acceptable citation style (MLA, APA, Chicago Style, etc.).  Citations should also be appropriately credited in the "Literature Cited" section of your proposal.
Budget Format Students must provide a brief justification for the proposed expenses in their budget.  Students must also provide a line-by-line budget in a table.  You may create a budget in an excel worksheet and copy and paste it into your proposal.  Budgets written only in narrative form will not be accepted.
File Format Your document should be formatted as a Microsoft Word document.  If you have a chemical or mathematical symbol that will not format appropriately in Word, you may submit jpegs of the figurest that contain these elements.

Submitting a USOAR Proposal

Each proposal should be submitted to ugresearch@niu.edu.  Students must indicate which college they are submitting their proposal to.  Students with a double major involving work in two different colleges may only indicate one college on their proposal.

In the event that a joint proposal is being submitted by students with majors in two different colleges, it is expected that they will indicate only one of the colleges on the proposal.  Students who are undecided as to the college of their major will select a primary supervisor, and the proposal will be assigned to the college with which that person is affiliated.  It is generally expected that the primary supervisor will be a member of the regular faculty, but the college of the student’s major may determine that other staff members with appropriate expertise can serve in this role.


Independent Study or Academic Credit

A proposal may relate to an independent study experience which carries academic credit, such as a capstone project, an internship, or a special topics course which involves intensive one-on-one work with a faculty or staff member.  However, a proposal need not involve any academic credit as long as the research or artistry involved will be under the direct supervision of a faculty or staff member.  The following restrictions should be noted: 

  • A proposal to carry out the work in a regularly scheduled academic course, without any component of independent study, will not be supported.
  • A proposal which involves academic credit through a Study Abroad experience will not be supported unless the student provides convincing evidence that he or she will carry out a significant program of independent research or artistry during the Study Abroad experience. 
  • A proposal to attend a professional conference will not be supported unless the student provides convincing evidence that he or she will present a paper or other record of artistic or scholarly achievement at the conference.