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For Faculty

As undergraduates, students in Rawlings CPRS are expected to participate in research. Typically, this is accomplished through involvement with a faculty mentor, either through on-going faculty research or an independent, faculty-approved project. Hence, faculty mentors are crucial to the success of the Rawlings CPRS program.

All students in the program have access to a Research Support Account (RSA) as long as they are enrolled as full-time undergraduates at Cornell. Students selected as freshmen have up to $8,000; students selected as sophomores/rising juniors have access to up to $5,000. This RSA can be used to fund a full-time summer of research at Cornell or elsewhere, research-related travel, limited research supplies, and wages. Students are encouraged to discuss the use of their RSA with their faculty mentor. Approval for RSA funds must be obtained from the program before purchases are made.

General Information for Faculty

To Nominate Sophomores

If you would like to nominate an exceptionally qualified sophomore with whom you have been doing research or scholarly study for at least one semester, RCPRS issues a Call for Nominations in late February.

Information on nominating students can be found here.


  • Each year approximately 35-40 incoming freshmen are selected as Rawlings Cornell Presidential Research Scholars.
  • Students who are chosen demonstrate superior academic potential and intellectual curiosity.  They may or may not have had previous research experience.
  • Research Scholars are enrolled in all colleges at Cornell and work in the physical, social and life sciences, humanities, engineering, and all other fields.
  • Working closely with one or more Cornell faculty members, research scholars design and plan an individualized program of faculty-directed research.
  • Research Scholars who continue to meet the requirements of the program will remain in RCPRS as long as they are enrolled as full-time undergraduates at Cornell.
  • Students who were not chosen as entering freshmen to be in the RCPRS program may apply in the spring of their sophomore year to be admitted into the program at the beginning of their junior year.  Sophomores who wish to apply must: 1) have at least a 3.5 GPA; 2) have done at least one semester of research at Cornell; 3) be nominated by a faculty member whom the student has done research.

The Research Scholars...

  • Typically work 8-9 hours per week and may receive either academic credit or wages for their research.
  • Maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA.
  • Make progress on their project(s) (based on student reports, annual faculty evaluations and attainment of goals as outlined in their research plan).
  • Spend at least one summer engaged in full-time research, at Cornell or off-campus (with on-campus mentor endorsement).
  • Are evaluated by program staff at the end of each semester.

The Faculty Mentors...

  • Meet with the Research Scholar frequently.
  • Help the Research Scholar develop goals for each semester.
  • Help the Research Scholar think through the most effective use the Research Support Account (see below).
  • Monitor the progress of each Research Scholar and let the RCPRS staff know about any potential problems (formally, by the end of April; informally, at any time).

Program Components

  • Incoming freshmen are required to participate in the RCPRS colloquium. By the end of this semester-long experience students will have, through informational interviews and with the help of college and program staff, determined a faculty member with whom they are interested in working.
  • Starting the second semester of their freshman year, each Research Scholar will, along with his/her faculty mentor, develop goals for that semester.
  • By their junior year, we expect that students will have developed a solid relationship with a faculty mentor and be well-established on a project.  Seniors will present a poster at the RCPRS Senior Expo in the spring.  Many RCPRS seniors complete an honors thesis, which is strongly encouraged by RCPRS.  Students are required to follow the guidelines for honors theses set by their college or department.

Monetary Support

  • Each Rawlings Cornell Presidential Research Scholar has access to up to $8,000 in a Research Support Account (RSA) that can be used to pay for expenses associated with their research.  Research Scholars admitted as juniors receive up to $5,000 toward research expenses.
  • This account can be used (with approval from RCPRS staff) to pay for wages during the academic year, summer research expenses, conferences (if presenting), research-related travel, and supplies (limited to $500 per semester).
  • For Research Scholars receiving work-study, RSA funds will be used to pay the portion of wages not covered by federal funds.
  • Students eligible for financial aid receive up to $4,000 per year in loan reduction.
  • Freshmen need assistance in navigating the diverse world of research at Cornell.
  • Sophomore year, students become more fully involved in their research project.
  • Juniors are expected to be well into research, having established a solid relationship with their faculty mentor.
  • Seniors are encouraged to prepare an honors thesis and are expected to present a poster of their research at the Rawlings CPRS Senior Expo in April.

Please contact Rawlings Cornell Presidential Research Scholars staff for more information:

Phone: (607) 255-8595