The University of Massachusetts Amherst

PhD Mentored Research Residency

The UMass Amherst College of Nursing PhD Program requires a mentored research residency of at least 120 hours. Typically these experiences are conducted in the first or second year of full-time study, though the timing can be highly variable. Ideally, the requirement should be met before a learner defends their dissertation proposal.


The purpose of this required research experience is to provide students with the Opportunity to spend a period of time (120 hours) intensely involved in ongoing research. It is expected that this experience will provide students with a degree of “immersion” in the research process and contribute to their development and socialization as scholars and nurse scientists.

A variety of research experiences are appropriate to meet this requirement. Examples include, but are not limited to: participation in data collection and/or data management activities, instrument development and/or evaluation, secondary analysis of faculty data (past or current), and proposal development where the focus is on the research methods, design, measurement and analysis. Examples of experiences not appropriate are those exclusively involving library searches, manuscript preparation, or data entry. Any of these activities may be combined with those more directly involved in the research process.

It is the responsibility of the Research Mentor to monitor the planning of this experience. The research mentoring plan should include the specifications of how this experience will be met. It is the responsibility of the Faculty Mentor to monitor the experience itself and determine if the requirement has been satisfactorily fulfilled.


Upon completion of the required research experience, students will:

  • Report increased confidence in their ability to carry out research activities.
  • Have acquired hands-on experience in data collection and/or data management and analysis.
  • Articulate common issues encountered in the research experience and identify strategies to solve those problems.
  • Have beginning ability to negotiate issues related to collaborative efforts, such as publication authorship, presentation rights, accountability for
  • Components of the research, etc.


The program will be implemented as follows:

  • Students will work with their advisor to identify a rich research experience. The research experience can be with the student’s advisor or with another faculty member. The identified research mentor does not have to be part of the College of Nursing faculty; the research mentor can be in another UMASS department. It is not necessary that the mentor’s research program is funded; however, it is essential that she/he be actively engaged in ongoing research or major proposal development.
  • In accepting this student into their research, the research mentor takes on the responsibility of the research mentoring experience. As a component of this Mentor Agreement, the student and Mentor should discuss the following expectations and add any additional expectations as needed
  • The Research Mentor and student establish mutually agreed upon objectives (consistent with the overall objectives listed above), develop a written agreement as to the nature of the experience, the projected time schedule, and the expected outcome. The research mentoring plan form is signed by the Research Mentor and Faculty Advisor (if not the Research Mentor) and approved by the PhD Program Director. The Research Mentor provides verification of the satisfactory completion of the experience to the PhD Program Director and the Faculty Advisor (if not the Research Mentor) on the same form when requirements are fulfilled.
  • Permission to work with a research mentor outside the College of Nursing must be requested in writing, with rationale and research plan, accompanied by a letter of support from the student’s academic advisor, and a letter of commitment from the prospective mentor with a copy of his/her resume, and approved by the PhD Academic Matters Committee.
  • Students typically will be involved in work on the Research Mentors research (rather than an independent research effort); it is suggested, however, that “ownership” of the products of the experience (e.g. manuscripts, instruments) be discussed and agreed upon in advance.
  • Students will be expected to spend a total of approximately one hundred twenty (120) hours engaged in the activities delineated in the written agreement (plan). The experience must be satisfactorily completed prior to dissertation proposal defense.


  • Be committed to a high standard of excellence and integrity in all of your work
  • Learn independently when possible and seek guidance when needed
  • Be respectful of the time and efforts of all members of the research team
  • Conduct research honestly and report it accurately
  • Be familiar with and adhere to professional research and ethical guidelines
  • Respect the confidentiality of unpublished research
  • Take responsibility for your career development
  • Prepare and submit articles for publication in conjunction with your mentor
  • Participate actively in the research efforts and goals
  • Work closely with mentor to outline a learning plan


  • Be available for contact and consultation at appropriate intervals
  • Provide advice and guidance in the research process
  • Provide guidance on development of a meaningful research
  • Expose the student to research methodologies that will foster the student’s growth into an independent and capable scholar
  • Provide a work environment that will support the student’s research efforts
  • Provide an understanding of the ethical implications of the research and model ethical behavior
  • Fairly acknowledge student contributions and recognize the student as an apprentice researcher rather than employees.