Emerging Scholars FAQS

About Emerging Scholars

Each Emerging Scholar will have different tasks. When you apply, be sure to look at the tasks listed in each job description. Example tasks for different jobs may include: administering surveys, entering data, reading and summarizing articles, conducting experiments, and analyzing media like photos, videos, or social media content.

The positives: As an Emerging Scholar, you’ll be exposed to research in a department you might major in. And you’ll start to build relationships in your department with professors, graduate students, and research staff. This hands-on experience is great when you’re trying to decide on a career or major. Our jobs are usually pretty flexible if you have tests coming up and need to switch or reduce hours for a week. You’ll also have support from our staff and peer mentors as you learn how to be a college student. 

The tradeoffs: As an Emerging Scholar, you will be expected to show initiative, troubleshoot, and (after being trained) sometimes work independently while contributing to a project. There will not be down time that is sometimes available during other jobs for doing homework. Some Emerging Scholars have said that having a job like this feels like they are enrolled in an extra class, because you will be thinking a lot while you work.

No, if you’re not interested in Emerging Scholars, there are many other jobs on campus and students with Federal Work-Study awards are often given preference in the application process. You can learn more about part-time jobs here. There is a part-time job fair in August and links to on-campus and off-campus jobs here.

Students cannot apply to receive an Undergraduate Research Award (UGRA) for the same semester that they are being paid as an Emerging Scholar. However, Emerging Scholars might consider applying for an UGRA for the summer, since the Emerging Scholars Program does not provide funding then.

About Federal Work-Study

The KU Financial Aid office has more information on their webpage.

Generally, Federal Work-Study is a federally subsidized program designed to promote part-time employment of financially eligible students to help avoid excessive debt while in school.

Other financial aid is typically awarded and applied to your student account balance at the start of the semester. However, your Federal Work-Study award must be earned through hourly employment. As you work on-campus, you are paid an hourly wage from your Federal Work-Study award. If you do not find an on-campus job and ask them to utilize your Federal Work-Study award, you will not receive any of your Federal Work-Study award.

If you would like to add Federal Work-Study to your financial aid package, please email Zachary Puckett with the KU Financial Aid Office at zpuckett@ku.edu to find out if you are eligible. If eligible, you will need to fill out a form to request a Federal Work-Study award.

If you're not sure whether you've accepted an FWS award, you can check your financial aid in Enroll & Pay. If you would like to add Federal Work-Study to your financial aid package, please email Zachary Puckett at zpuckett@ku.edu to determine if you are eligible.

Application Process

Our online application opens mid-May each year (see main Emerging Scholars page for specific date.

The priority application deadline is June 1st.

The final deadline for applications is July 1st.

Yes, please apply as soon as you can, making sure to get your application in prior to the final deadline of July 1st. We expect to admit students throughout the summer, with final decisions going out by July 31st.

We receive more applications to join Emerging Scholars than we have space to accommodate. If you are placed on the waitlist, that means that you are a strong candidate for the program, but we are not sure we have a spot for you. We will make all final decisions on Emerging Scholars membership by July 31st.

We will make some offers of acceptance as an Emerging Scholar earlier in the summer, but all students will receive an answer about their application by July 31st. This gives you plenty of time to find another job on campus if needed.

There are many other jobs on campus and students with Federal Work-Study awards are often given preference in the application process. You can learn more about part-time on-campus and off-campus jobs here. throughout the summer. There is a part-time job fair in August. 

For any job at KU, you will need to bring a few key documents to verify you’re eligible to work and to set up direct deposit of your paycheck. You might start tracking these documents down now so that you have them ready to bring with you to campus in August. You will need:

  • Valid state, federal or local government-issued photo ID
  • Original Social Security card OR valid passport with photocopy of Social Security card
  • Voided check OR Bank name, routing number, and account number


No! You just need to be eager to learn and willing to work hard. Your supervisor will teach you everything you need to know. They have designed your job to be doable for someone new to research.

No, we want to know more about you than numbers. Your responses to the application questions will have the most influence on your application, so take your time with them. We recommend writing your responses somewhere else (like in a Word document), editing them, and then submitting them through our form.

If you're not sure whether you've accepted a FWS award, you can check via Enroll & Pay. Once you log in, navigate to the Student Center. There you will find a Finances section. You can click the "View Financial Aid" link to see whether your financial aid package includes a Federal Work-Study award.

No, the Kansas Work-Study program is a different program that supports work off campus. You can learn more about this program at this website.

Mentor Questions

Prospective Emerging Scholars will select the job descriptions that they are most interested in as part of their application process and write short essays explaining why they are interested in those positions.  Center for Undergraduate Research staff will look at these responses in order to place students in positions that they are most interested in.  We will email mentors over the summer to let you know if a student has been preliminarily placed in your position.  As part of the orientation in August, mentors will have a chance to meet with their prospective student to make sure that it is a good fit.

There is no cost to the mentor for the student's wage. Your Emerging Scholar's wage would be covered through their Federal Work-Study award and the Center for Undergraduate Research.

No, mentors do not need to do anything to approve time for their students to get paid.  The Center for Undergraduate Research will approve all Emerging Scholars students' hours and make sure they get paid.

If you have a question that is not answered here, please email us at cur@ku.edu.