Arts and Sciences TURC Program

 University of Tulsa TURC Mission Statement

The Mission of the Tulsa Undergraduate Research Challenge (TURC) program at The University of Tulsa is to:

  • support innovative research opportunities for promising undergraduate students under the guidance of faculty mentors;
  • encourage a lifelong commitment to active community service on the part of TURC students;
  • enrich the student experience by supporting outstanding research and community service projects across the entire curriculum; and 
  • enhance the reputation of the University by supporting students who compete for national and international awards and who present their research and service projects at national and international forums.


TURC is based on the relationship between a committed undergraduate and a committed faculty mentor. In some cases the project involves students working as co-investigators with defined faculty research projects, and in other cases the projects are initiated by students with support from a faculty mentor. Generally these projects are of significant depth to span two or more semesters, sometimes extending beyond one or two years. Students are encouraged to apply as early as possible.

TURC projects are designed as extra-curricular and are neither independent study courses nor senior or capstone projects.


Any A&S student is eligible to apply for participation in the TURC program. Applications are competitive and are reviewed by the ARTS and Sciences TURC Admissions Committee which forwards recommendations to a University committee. Applications received during or after the student’s third semester prior to graduation (typically the second semester of junior year) will not be accepted.

TURC Application: Two ways to start.

A student may enter the TURC program as a co-investigator working on a faculty member’s research project or with a mentored independent research project. For those entering as co-investigators it is expected that the student will develop the research skills necessary for the development of a mentored independent research project to form the basis of a future TURC application. The selection of a TURC co-investigator is streamlined and requires a faculty request describing the student’s role and a commitment to mentoring the student’s development as a researcher. The student submits a transcript and a statement of commitment to the project.

In the case of student designed projects application begins with the identification of a project and a Mentor. The mentored development of a thorough project proposal is the critical second step. This proposal, along with a completed application(A&S Student Application Form) and transcript complete the student’s documentation for application. The Mentor adds input to the process by providing a recommendation regarding the student’s project and the student’s promise for effective completion. All application material may be emailed to the A&S TURC Director,

Application Deadlines

Applications will be considered at any time. Any requests for student summer financial support must be submitted by April 15. Summer financial support is limited to students who have participated in TURC for at least one semester prior to application for summer financial support. Applications for summer participation without financial support are acceptable any time through April 15 and do not require prior participation.

Support for TURC participants

TURC provides summer funding in order to give students an opportunity to pursue their research during a time when they do not have to face the demands of a normal academic schedule. Summer support consists of a lump sum stipend dispersed on two dates during the summer (for details of summer stipends contact It is important to understand that this funding is limited, is not automatic for all TURC students and is competitively based on demonstrated progress. Please note as well that summer funding is available only to established TURC students, that is, students who have participated in TURC for at least one full semester and have made substantial progress on their projects. 
TURC Admission Selection Criteria

A.  Proposal quality: clarity, completeness, intellectual or creative significance, realistic time line for completion and an anticipated outcome that can be shared through participation in the annual Student Research Colloquium and presentation at an off-campus site, such as a high school AP class or local, regional, national or international forum/conference.

B. Faculty mentor recommendation.

C. Student’s academic record and background.

D. Application includes a viable plan for meaningful community service.

E. Project is designed to be professionally responsible and compliant with TU policies, including IRB and other policies administered by the Office of Research & Sponsored Programs.

F. Applicants requesting summer funding have complied with requirements to participate in the annual Student Research Colloquium and have provided all required progress reports for prior semesters.

Progress Reports and Application for Continuation as TURC participant

All students must submit a progress report for each semester of participation in the TURC program.

Deadlines for progress reports are as follows:

  • Fall Progress Reports are due by the first Friday in January.
  • Spring Progress Reports are due by the second Friday in April.
  • Summer Progress Reports are due by the last Friday in August.

Each progress report must detail the student’s project goals accomplished and any new or revised project goals. In addition, the student must identify and explain any delays, missed goals or revised activities for the preceding semester. The student must also submit a letter or statement from the recipient(s) of his/her service project, confirming the contributions made by the student during the preceding semester.

Students who wish to continue in the TURC program will state the same in their progress report and must detail their project goals for the next semester, noting how their future goals and time line are related to their original proposed time line.

Mentors will provide an assessment of the student’s progress and appropriateness for continuation of the project.

Summer Participation: Those students seeking summer TURC participation will state the same in their Spring semester progress report.

Successful applicants for summer participation and funding will have complied with requirements to participate in the annual Research Colloquium and have provided all required progress reports.

TURC Participant Obligations

Upon entering the TURC program, students agree to fulfill certain obligations. These include:

A. Submitting required progress reports to the Arts and Sciences TURC Director ( by the required deadlines.

B. Undertaking a meaningful community service project that involves more than a token number of hours or effort. Students are encouraged to speak with their service recipients to identify and articulate goals and steps for achieving such goals through their efforts. Community service activities should go beyond mere volunteerism or the student’s normal activities for their living groups (e.g., fraternity, sorority, residence hall) or religious communities.

C. TURC students are required to participate in the University of Tulsa Student Research Colloquium, which is held annually during the spring semester.  There are many forms of participation, and notices are normally sent to all students by University TURC Associate Director Nona Charleston. Students who wish to learn about opportunities for participation, including serving as a judge or in some other capacity in lieu of a research presentation, must contact by February 10 to make appropriate arrangements.

D. Different academic departments may have special rules or procedures governing TURC projects. Once a student has located a mentor, the mentor should be asked about additional department requirements

Failure to meet these obligations may render the student ineligible for further TURC participation.

Questions? Questions about the program should be directed to the Director of the TURC program in the College of Arts and Sciences, Steve Steib (

Arts & Sciences TURC Admissions Committee

The Arts & Sciences TURC Admissions Committee is chaired by the Director of the A&S TURC Program and includes several faculty members, a student representative, and the University Associate Director of the TURC Program. Faculty members include representatives from A&S departments that have an active interest in TURC. This Committee screens applications from the College of Arts and Sciences and makes recommendations to the University TURC Admissions Committee.