Office for Undergraduate Research and Artistry

Mentored Research and Artistry Distinction

Who Can Apply

Any current undergraduate student in good academic standing with Colorado State University.

Note: Current CSU students have one full academic year from date of graduation to provide proof that the requirements were completed. All requirements must be completed as an undergraduate student.


The goal of the Mentored Research and Artistry Distinction (MRAD) is to promote and deepen undergraduate inquiry and creativity at CSU, while recognizing student excellence in undergraduate research, artistry, and other creative work. The experience and designation allow students to distinguish themselves as undergraduate scholars and artists in their disciplines. The program recognizes that exemplary student scholarship encompasses a depth of knowledge in the discipline, strong skills of inquiry, an understanding of ethics, responsiveness to arts and culture (artistry) and strong skills in communication. The MRAD is adaptable to any field in which a student wishes to conduct creative scholarship (research and artistry).


Students who graduate with this distinction will have: 

  • Participated in a mentored experience in addition to their normal degree coursework that allows them to engage in authentic research or artistic work.  
  • Made meaningful, unique contributions to their field or discipline that they have shared with an audience (public or discipline-based).  
  • Learned about and engaged in multiple aspects of the research or creative enterprise, from inception to dissemination.   
  • Gained transferable skills and be better prepared to enter graduate programs and the work force.  

The opportunity is open to all undergraduate students in good academic standing who: 

  • Have completed at least two full semesters in a mentored research or artistry experience, OR
  • Are interested in participating in a mentored research or artistry experience and have at least three full semesters remaining before graduation.

MRAD is designed to be a holistic experience.  Students will engage in multiple aspects of what it means to create new knowledge and art in their discipline. They will engage in professional development and have more opportunities to engage in conversation, including with their peers, about what it means to be a scholar or artist. MRAD provides students and their mentors/advisors with a roadmap of best practices in undergraduate research and creative artistry.  Each requirement is designed to benefit the student and their development. The criteria for completion are rigorous, and attainable.   

While earning the distinction is the goal, students pursuing the transcript notation will benefit from the support of OURA staff, the community of MRAD Scholars, and the guidance that the program requirements provide.  Transcript notation also gives future degree programs and employers a more complete picture of a student’s background and interests.


Successful completion will be noted on the students’ final transcripts.  They also earn the right to wear the Mentored Research and Artistry Distinction’s silver cords with their graduation regalia and to list this distinction among their academic achievements. 


To be awarded the distinction, the following seven (7) requirements must be satisfied. 

  1. At least two semesters of mentored research or artistry documented by a letter of support from the mentor (knowledge + skills) 
  2. Service to research/artistry on campus or engagement with community (networking + service) 
  3. Active participation in a service organization or a registered student organization relevant to their discipline (networking + knowledge + service) 
  4. Participation in at least 5 OURA Undergrad Workshops (students can replace this with a discipline-based research/methods course, or with participation in a research skill building program [e.g., TILT OURA Lab or MURALS FYS Academy]) (knowledge + skills + confidence). 
  5. Publicly Present/Perform (communication + confidence) 
  6. Final Report/Reflection (self-reflection + communication) 
  7. Submission to a peer-reviewed or juried publication;  submission to a conference/art exhibit; adjudicated submission; or submission to another selective conference, exhibition or public performance (communication).* 

* This requirement can be fulfilled up to 12 months after the student graduates from CSU. 

Tracking of Requirements

We use Canvas to track progress towards achieving the Mentored Research and Artistry Distinction.

After you indicate interest you will be invited to join the Canvas course “Success-TILT-MRAD-OURA“.  You will be entered into one or two tracks: Research or Artistry.

As you complete each requirement, you will submit proof of completion as an assignment. Please see each assignment description on Canvas for more details about what is counted as proof of completion. You only need to complete the assignments for your track (research or artistry).