Mentorships for Undergraduate Research in Agriculture, Letters and Science (MURALS)

image of mural painters

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for MURALS, you must be a Junior or Senior, with a GPA of 3.0, 90 units and be eligible for need-based financial aid, and meet one of the following criteria:

  • be a need-based financial aid recipient AND
  • be a first generation college student (neither parent achieving a BA or BS);
  • be a reentry student; or
  • be a previous participant in a "pre-college" outreach program (e.g., MESA, Upward Bound, EAOP, etc.)

How the Program Works

MURALS helps students identify a list of potential faculty to work with and the skills helpful when approaching faculty about research opportunities in order to conduct research in an area of interest.  Interested faculty are also encouraged to refer promising students to the program.

The research component of the mentorship varies according to the discipline and the instructor. MURALS students have visited archives, conducted oral interviews, engaged in field research, and gained computer and laboratory skills.

The mentorship may take two forms:

  • A collaborative project with the faculty member, as part of the professor's own research or
  • An independent student project developed in consultation with the faculty mentor.

Program Expectations

Students are expected to make a commitment of two quarters to the MURALS Program, Fall and Winter, or Winter and Spring. Students are expected to attend seminars and group meetings, as well as complete journal entries that result in clarification of future educational goals each quarter.  They also present their own research in the second quarter of participation.  Students are also expected to meet with faculty mentors for ½ hour a week (outside of student advising hours) to discuss the progress of their research projects.

Upon completing the MURALS Program, students must write an exit paper, including an abstract of their research project, the findings, outcomes and conclusions, as well as a statement explaining how participation in the MURALS Program was beneficial to their research experience and their future educational goals.

Program Benefits

Students have an opportunity to complete an independent research experience under the ongoing supervision of a faculty member. This experience becomes an asset when the time comes for the graduate school application process in that students not only gain research experience to draw upon, but the faculty mentor may provide a letter of recommendation. Additionally, students gain experience in giving research talks and in developing a writing sample for the application packet.

Students in the program receive academic credit and a $500 award for each quarter. Faculty mentors receive a $300 stipend, which is added to their research account for each quarter of participation. Travel funds are also available to MURALS students, as long as they present their research projects at the conferences they plan to attend. These funds are determined on a case by case basis. Students and faculty mentors attend an Annual Spring Banquet honoring their research accomplishments.

MURALS students also have access to related Advising Services programs, including the Pre-Graduate School Advising Workshops offered each year and access to the Pre-Graduate School Advising listserv. Finally, through participation in the MURALS Program, students ultimately are able to make an informed decision regarding future educational plans.