Research Proposals

Preparing your Research Proposal

If you want to be funded through PRISM for your undergraduate research, it is important that you and your mentor create a proposal that follows our guidelines. Guidelines for FOS or CSIS students might change , and it is required that you adhere to the format described to apply for funding. You can download a Word file of our new general guidelines here:

  1. Research-Proposal-GuidelinesFOSCMB.pdf
  2. Research Proposal GuidelinesCSIS

These guidelines are in line with what you can expect from any agency that funds research projects, so understanding them is a good preparation for graduate school and a career in the sciences.

Research Proposal Templates

Starting fall 2014, PRISM Research Proposals must be submitted using the templates provided below. You must use this template to submit your proposal. You can copy and paste into it, or work in the template directly. The main text in your proposal must be in Arial font, size 12, double-spaced. Please make sure you use correct scientific nomenclature, that you indicate the proper name of a term before presenting acronyms or abbreviations, and that you use proper grammar and spelling. Feel free to use JJay’s Writing Center before submitting.

There are three versions of the template:

Research Proposal Information

If you plan to conduct research this summer with your mentor, you must submit a research proposal to Dr. Sanabria-Valentin or Dr. Raquel Castellanos (for CJA students) on the assigned dates.  This applies to both new and continuing research projects.  We request that you submit only a digital copy of your proposal to Dr. Sanabria-Valentin by e-mail ( for review, and bring a signed (by you and your mentor) printed copy of the coversheet alone during your paper-work signing session the week after. The cover must indicate the number of hours which you and your mentor have agreed to do research.

Please save the proposal using the following convention for the file name:

LastName, FirstName-FALL2015.docx.

Be aware that stipend funds are increasingly limited and following the guidelines will be a major consideration. We might contact you to “fix the proposal,” at which time you will have 48 hours to return the proposal to us with the requested amendments. Non-adherence to the new guidelines will result in loss of funding for the fall period.

Resources on the Web to Help You Write your Proposal

Primers in writing scientific nomenclature: These websites offer tips on the correct way to write scientific terms like species’ names, chemical compounds, and biologically-active macromolecules.

Using RefWorks to create a bibliography: John Jay’s Lloyd Sealy Library provides students with access to the web-based service RefWorks. RefWorks is a bibliographic citation management service that is useful for tracking citations, generating bibliographies & citing sources in papers, etc. RefWorks is provided by the Sealy Library through the student technology fee.

Using GoogleScholar to obtain formatted citations: GoogleScholar now allows you to get a formatted citation for your results in one of the popular documentation styles (APA, Chicago, MLA, and others). First, search for your citation in GoogleScholar ( Under the title and abstract, look for the word Cite. Click on it and choose your documentation style from the list.

On-line resources about communicating science: Below are some great websites with advice for undergraduate students on how to communicate science effectively.


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