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Student Opportunities for Academic Research (SOAR)


Dornsife's commitment to supporting undergraduate research with USC faculty

The SOAR program provides funding to undergraduates for participation as a research assistant in a faculty member’s project. The purpose of SOAR is to connect students with faculty members and their research, not to fund independent projects; it allows all students to be mentored one-on-one by USC faculty, and introduces students early in their academic careers to the process of serious scholarly inquiry. SOAR is for research during the fall and spring semesters of the academic year. Funding applications are accepted for the first five weeks of fall (deadline September 23, 2015) and the first four weeks of spring semester (deadline February 6, 2015).

For students interested in summer undergraduate research funding, please visit the SURF page.

To find out about faculty research projects or to post your research interests, view the SOAR Board.



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Student Opportunities for Academic Research (SOAR)

Dornsife students describe how they use their SOAR (Student Opportunities for Academic Research) funds to assist faculty research or to support their own research project.

Video by Mira Zimet

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Declared major in Dornsife College 

  • Full-time enrollment at USC for the entire academic year 

  • One SOAR grant per academic year (either for one semester or spanning both)

  • A recipient of the Provost Fellowship will not be contemporaneously considered for a SOAR grant and vice versa

  • 3.0 cumulative USC GPA or better

  • Each student must have a Dornsife Faculty mentor who meet one of the following criteria:


  1. Tenured or Tenure-Track
  2. Non-Tenure Track with a research profile
  3. Professional School faculty member with a joint appointment in Dornsife College


Funding Guidelines:

  • The amount of the stipend is up to $1000 per academic year towards non-course related research activity.
  • The primary purpose of the stipend is to compensate the student researcher for the time they spend on their SOAR research project. The student may then use their grant earnings toward purchase of necessary equipment and/or materials. SOAR grants cannot directly fund the purchase of equipment or compensate third parties.
  • A detailed budget accounting (of hours the student will work, at a standard rate of $10/hr.) for all SOAR funding must be submitted with the application.
  • The stipend is a single payment credited to the student’s university account. This may initially affect the student’s financial aid award. if this happens, the student must contact the financial aid office to work out the payment of the SOAR award.

  • If the student fails to complete the project successfully or fails to meet research obligations with a professor's project, and a final approval is denied by the student’s faculty mentor, the funds will be withdrawn and $1000 will be applied to the student’s university account.


SOAR recipients are required to submit a one-page research report signed by their faculty mentor before the last day of classes of their grant semester. Failure to do so renders the student ineligible for SURF or SOAR funding for the following year.





Applications submitted past 12 PM on the day of the deadline (stated above) of the semester of the proposed research will not be considered. Please note that the highest priority will be given to the applications of those students who are working on faculty research projects.


For questions, please call the Dornsife Dean's Office at (213) 821-7873 or email