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STAR Scholars

The STAR (Students Tackling Advanced Research) Scholars Program is an opportunity for highly motivated first-year students to engage in an early faculty-mentored undergraduate research, scholarship, or creative experience during the summer after their freshman year. This highly competitive co-curricular educational program seeks to identify and encourage students to take a hands-on approach to their education through undergraduate research.

Students who participate in the STAR Scholars Program complete 350 hours of faculty-mentored research, scholarship, or creative activity, and their summer experience culminates with a poster presentation at the annual STAR Scholars Summer Showcase. To enable participation, STAR Scholars receive a stipend and free on-campus housing for the 10-week program.

Apply for STAR Scholars

Prospective students can apply to STAR during the admissions process to the University. Current first-year and transfer students can apply through the mid-year application process.

The mid-year application for current students is currently closed.

20 Years of STAR

The 2021-22 academic year marked the 20th year of the STAR Scholars Program. Over 2,000 Drexel students have completed the STAR Scholars Program since it began, and these students and alumni identify the program as having been transformative and impactful.

Read testimonials from STAR alumni

STAR Scholars FAQs

These questions are specific to the on-campus STAR Scholars Program. For information regarding the iSTAR Scholars Program, please view the iSTAR Scholars page here.

Eligibility for & Applying to STAR

How can students apply for the STAR Scholars Program?

Students can apply for the STAR Scholars Program when applying to Drexel University or during our mid-year application process. Read more about applying here

Can students from any major apply for the STAR Scholars Program?

Yes. We make a concerted effort to include students from many or all disciplines from across the university. We include students from across the university in proportion to the number of applications we receive from each discipline; as a result, there is often stiffer competition among students from particular disciplines than others. 

Are only students in the Honors Program eligible to apply for the STAR Scholars Program?

No. The STAR Scholars Program, or any other program offered by Undergraduate Research & Enrichment Programs, is not restricted to students in the Honors Program. 

I am an international student. Am I able to participate in STAR?

Yes. We have many international students who participate in STAR each year. Since STAR is considered on-campus employment, it will not affect your CPT/OPT. 

How many STAR Scholars are accepted per year?

The total number of STAR Scholars varies from year to year, but is generally between 120 and 130 students. The program began with a funded cohort of 30 students during the summer of 2003. 

Participation in STAR

How are STAR Scholars matched to faculty mentors?

STAR Scholars are not matched to faculty mentors; rather, they choose their own faculty mentor. We advise STAR Scholars on which faculty mentors are conducting research in the areas in which they have expressed an interest, and we encourage STAR Scholars to take the initiative in finding their own faculty mentor by networking with their current professors, “researching their research” by looking up faculty research projects online, and perusing the ForagerOne platform to see the types of research positions that are already posted. 

How long is the STAR Scholars Summer Experience?

The STAR Scholars Program runs for the full ten (10) weeks of the Drexel University Summer Term between students’ freshman and sophomore year. 

How many hours per week are STAR Scholars expected to work?

STAR Scholars are expected to work approximately 35 hours/week for the entirety of the summer term, for a total of 350 hours of faculty-mentored research, scholarship, or creative activity. 

How much pay do STAR Scholars receive?

Each STAR Scholar is provided a stipend equal to $10/hour for 35 hours/week over the course of a 10-week period. Thus, each STAR Scholar is expected to earn a total of $3,500 in taxable income over the course of the summer term. In addition, campus housing is provided at no cost to all STAR Scholars for the summer term.

What specific deliverables are expected of STAR Scholars?

Each STAR Scholar is responsible for creating a poster, which they are then expected to present at the annual STAR Scholars Summer Showcase. STAR Scholars are also required to write and submit an abstract of their research to be published in the STAR Scholars Summer Showcase program.

Are STAR Scholars eligible to take courses during the STAR Summer Term?

Yes. STAR Scholars are eligible to take one class during the STAR Summer Term with the approval of their Mentor. Each student who chooses to take a course over the summer bears responsibility for tuition for this course, as payment for summer courses is NOT included in the stipend for STAR Scholars.  

What is expected of STAR Mentors?

STAR Mentors are expected to define appropriate research activities within the chosen discipline, provide academic and career guidance to their STAR Scholars, and monitor the research being conducted under their tutelage. We expect Mentors to provide a research/creative environment that is conducive to learning, as well as feedback to students as their research/creative activity progresses. Our expectations of our STAR Mentors are explained in full detail in the STAR Scholar/Mentor Contract.

Research outside of STAR

Can I do research if I don’t participate in STAR?

Absolutely. STAR is not the only way to participate in research at Drexel. You can volunteer, use federal work/study funds for paid opportunities, and participate in research for credit. Check out our resources for finding research for more information.

How can students in the STAR Scholars Program continue to participate in undergraduate research after the program ends?

Many of our STAR Scholars continue their research by choosing a research co-op; participating in research as a volunteer, for academic credit, or for work/study; and/or by presenting their work at general undergraduate conferences or discipline-specific conferences. Students who choose to commit to undergraduate research throughout their time at Drexel would be great fits for the SuperNova Undergraduate Research Fellows programwhich is designed to help you document, reflect on, and be recognized for your sustained engagement in undergraduate research.