Center for Undergraduate Research in Viterbi Engineering (CURVE) Fellowship

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First-Time Researchers


First-Time Researchers are defined as Viterbi undergraduate students who have not received prior formal research experience at USC. This category generally, though not exclusively, applies to first and second year undergraduate students who are looking to gain initial exposure to research at Viterbi.

First-Time Researchers submit an application to be matched with listed research opportunities from participating labs. A limited number of first-time research participants will be selected to receive $1250 per semester for up to 2 semesters funded by the CURVE program. Funding terms are for fall and spring semesters only. First-Time Researchers who are awarded the CURVE fellowship in the fall must demonstrate satisfactory research progress to continue receiving funding in the spring. 

CURVE First-Time Researchers are required to attend monthly community meetings to provide updates about their research progress. FTRs will also engage in professional development topics, such as conducting literature reviews, delivering effective presentations, designing technical posters, and applying to PhD programs. All CURVE fellows must also present their work at the Viterbi Undergraduate Symposium at the end of spring semester.

Application Process for First-Time Researchers

First time researchers can find open research positions listed on the CURVE website. Submitted applications will be reviewed by Principal Investigators and other team members of participating research labs. Applicants may receive follow-up correspondence from faculty for interviews.

First-time researchers who have already identified an unpaid research position will need to complete the Research Project Proposal section of the application instead.

Application Components

  • Demographic Information
  • Statement of Purpose (1 page maximum)
      • Describe your general interests in research. How have your past experiences led to the development of these interests?
      • How do your research interests relate to the labs or projects that you have selected as your top choice(s)?
      • How will participation in CURVE help you achieve your overall academic and/or professional goals?
  • Lab Rankings
    • You may list up to 5 labs of interest, but please note that selected CURVE fellows will only be assigned to one lab for the semester. It is highly recommended that you learn more about each lab and their potential projects before listing them in the application. Briefly explain why you are interested in each lab. You can mention potential projects, relevant experiences, or skills you hope to gain from working in that lab or research area.
  • Resume (1 page maximum)
    • Upload a one-page resume (PDF file) highlighting past experiences relevant to your research interests. This can include jobs, internships, coursework, or extracurricular projects that showcase transferable skills to the research lab environment. 
  • Transcript
    • For current USC students: Please upload your most recent USC transcript (official or unofficial). You are welcome to include transcripts from other institutions if you have taken coursework outside of USC that is relevant to the research project prerequisites. Incoming USC freshmen: Transcript is not required, though you are welcome to upload AP scores if relevant to research project prerequisites.
    • For incoming USC students: You have the option to upload your high school transcript or share AP scores if it is relevant to the research position requirements. 
CURVE Application

Published on July 8th, 2022

Last updated on March 4th, 2024