URAP offers faculty, visiting scholars, and staff curators an excellent opportunity for mentoring and collaborating with Berkeley undergraduates in research. In the realm of the digital humanities, hands-on learning allows both students and faculty to adapt and hone skills that may be outside of the traditional purview of the classroom.

The Program

URAP projects applications open for student applications at the beginning of each semester. After mentors and students agree upon a learning contract for the semester, undergraduates may earn 1 unit of academic credit for every 3 hours of weekly research work (limited to 4 units per term).

Apprentice responsibilities on past projects have included activities such as:

  •  literature review, bibliographical research
  • archival research
  • programming, web design
  • data entry
  • interviewing
  • transcription
  • translation
  • database construction
  • qualitative coding
  • quantitative analysis

To facilitate the matching process, projects are gathered at a central bulletin board on the URAP website. Students applications are fielded through the online URAP portal.



Project mentors may include faculty, visiting lecturers, visiting scholars, and staff curators. In the past, students have worked at projects such as the Emma Goldman Papers, the Regional Oral History Office, and the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life.

Graduate Students

On projects working with a team of several undergraduates, many mentors have found it useful to enlist a graduate student project supervisor. Graduate students may benefit from collaborating with faculty and apprentices on work closely related to their own research. Furthermore, graduate student supervisors may gain valuable experience in project management and team building. As mentors in the research environment, graduate students also develop their teaching practice outside of the classroom.

Please note: graduate students interested in mentoring undergrads and receiving assistance with their own research projects are strongly encouraged to apply to the summer Student Mentoring and Research Teams (SMART) program, which includes training in mentorship and research stipends for both graduate mentors and undergraduate apprentices.


Undergraduates have the opportunity to bridge the instruction / research divide and work closely with faculty on research projects. Students will have the opportunity to engage in skills-based learning and develop competencies that will be useful whether both in or out of the academy.


Mentor Application: Applications are accepted until the first day of the academic semester (a week before instruction begins)
Prospective mentors are strongly encouraged to get in touch with Stefanie Ebeling, the URAP program coordinator, to determine whether URAP is appropriate for them.  A brief application, including a 100 - 300 word description of the project, must be submitted to participate.  Mentors are encouraged to apply for the program as early as possible to ensure the best exposure to the applicant pool for their project.  Most mentors sponsor a single project, but you may list up to four.  Examples of current URAP project descriptions can be found here.

Student Application: Applications are accepted during a two-week interval following the first day of the academic semester 
Students will be able to submit applications through the URAP portal. Students should refer to the undergraduate URAP site for more information.

Interviews and Selection: Interviews occur during the three weeks following the student application deadline 
Mentors will schedule interviews with students and select apprentices for the semester using the URAP portal. Please remember to notify all applicants (including those who were not accepted) of their status in a timely manner.

Conclusion & Feedback: URAP reports by apprentices are due by the end of final examinations at the close of the semester, URAP grades are due the following week
Mentors are advised to be sensitive to heavier student workloads during reading/review/recitation week and final exam week and plan to conclude research and collect final evaluations during this window of time. Apprentices must submit their End of Term Report by the end of final exam week.

Advice for URAP Mentors

Establish Clear Expectations

Provide a detailed description of student activities in the learning contract. If you will be requiring a final evaluation or project from the student, make these expectations clear at the beginning of the semester. Evaluations may vary by project. Whether you expect students to submit a presentation, paper, or other assessment, establish clear due dates and criteria.

Examples of learning contracts for an apprentice responsible for 2 units / 6 hours per week:

At the beginning of the semester, apprentice will attend one training session at D-Lab on qualitative coding software and read several scholarly articles on our topic. These articles will be provided by the mentor. After being introduced to the topic, the apprentice will collect 1 - 2 interviews per week (3 hours max). Remaining time (alternating by week) might be spent on either:
1 - 2 hours of transcription OR
1 hour of qualitative coding, 1 hour meeting with mentor
Interviews will cease during the final week of the project (RRR week) and apprentice will finish any remaining transcription or coding. Our last meeting will be on December 10th, to summarize and discuss the results of our research.

Apprentice will be responsible for managing the social media presence of a digital scholarly resource.  During the first week of the project, the student will attend an orientation on institutional social media best practices and become acquainted with the project’s collections.  Apprentice will select three collection items per week and write descriptive copy for Facebook and Twitter audiences.  Student will meet with mentor and the project team every other week.  At project team meetings, student will submit a social media editorial calendar for project team to approve and report on website traffic and social media analytics.  Remaining weekly time (approx. 3 hours) will be spent on data entry for the collection.

More sample learning contracts can be found here.

Be realistic

Faculty should plan to set aside more time at the beginning of the semester to train and mentor new apprentices. For many apprentices, URAP will be their first experience in a research environment. Be open and available to questions that will inevitably arise. Expect that student workloads and obligations will increase during midterms and the exam period or when term papers are due. Both students and mentors are encouraged to participate in the program for at least two semesters.

Schedule regular meetings

Establish a regular, in-person meeting time with your apprentices. The focus of the URAP program is connecting students to faculty and engaging them in the work of a research university. Aside from using this meeting to discuss project logistics, take time to discuss how the apprentice’s work fits into the larger research process.

Technical Resources

Need help with technical implementations for your research? Need to create a project website? Looking for tools to parse data or annotate sources? Email dh-consult@berkeley.edu to get in touch with a digital humanities consultant.

Training for graduate student supervisors and undergraduate research apprentices can also be arranged through several campus units, such as:
- D - Lab
- Geospatial Innovation Facility (GIF)
- Library Data Lab

Resource Type
Last updated: Dec 9, 2015