Summer Undergraduate Research Assistants Program


IPR is committed to involving Northwestern undergraduates in its research enterprise. To this end, IPR has run its Summer Undergraduate Research Assistants (SURA) Program since 1998. The program gives students first-hand experience in the conceptualization and conduct of policy-relevant social science research.

The SURA program starts off with a course in statistical computing, and students spend the rest of the time working on real-time research projects with IPR faculty.

It is hoped that some RAs will continue to work for faculty during the following academic year and/or write honors theses that incorporate policy-relevant topics and research.

Program Details

  • Eligibility: Northwestern freshmen, sophomores, and juniors.
  • Program dates: Runs for 10 weeks, typically starting the third week in June. (The program is flexible at the discretion of the faculty sponsor and students can negotiate starting dates, any time off, and ending dates.)
  • Compensation: $10.40 per hour, typically working 35 hours per week for 10 weeks. All students must submit electronic timesheets and are paid for the number of hours they work each week.
  • Training: An informal course in statistical computing provides instructions on how to use web-based social science data archives and data services. The course will also provide a basic introduction to STATA and SPSS statistical packages.

Application Process

  • Apply directly to IPR faculty fellows and associates working in your particular field of interest. If you cannot find a suitable faculty member, e-mail your application to Cynthia Kendall to be included on a list for IPR faculty seeking undergraduate researchers.
  • Provide a Northwestern transcript as well as a cover letter and resume that describe your education, work experience, and computer skills.
  • The deadline for 2014 applications is now closed.  Please check back later for details on applying as a undergraduate researcher in the summer of 2015.

Selection criteria: Selection will be based on the student's record, the faculty member's proposed research, and the nature of work the student will do. Proposals to use undergraduates in field research, survey design and administration, or statistical analysis will receive equal consideration.

Learn More

Find about more about the actual experiences of IPR summer undergraduate RAs, including how their experiences have shaped how they think about social science research and their education and career plans.