Research Support

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Here are some opportunities for Research Funding for Undergraduate Students. Please note that this list is not all-inclusive, but offers some suggestions for students to pursue.

Liberal Arts Enrichment Funding

An important goal of the College of the Liberal Arts is to involve undergraduates in appropriate enrichment activities. Accordingly, the College, as well as a variety of Academic Departments, has modest funds available to assist students participating in activities such as internships, education abroad, or undergraduate research. Liberal Arts majors seeking financial support for such enrichment activities are encouraged to read the information on this site and apply to the Liberal Arts Enrichment Funds Application System. See http://www.la.psu.edu/current-students/cen/funding/apply/enrichment-funds-application for more information.

Rock Ethics Institute Thesis and Research Awards

The Rock Ethics Institute is pleased to announce the Rock Ethics Institute Thesis and Research Awards offered in conjunction with the Paterno Fellows Program. These awards are for undergraduate students in the Paterno Fellows Program who are working on ethics-related topics and research either within or in preparation for their honors theses.

The Rock Ethics Institute Award will provide a range of financial support (from $500 to $2,000) for thesis research and related activities. Awardees will be asked to present their research at an Institute event. Awardees will also be asked to contribute a blog post or to participate in a podcast on their research for the Everyday Ethics page Awardees will be informed of all Rock Ethics Institute events, and will be invited to participate in any events that are of interest to them or which would benefit their research.

For more information and the application process, visit the Rock Ethics Institute Thesis and Research Award website.

Liberal Arts Undergraduate Research Fund and the President’s Fund for Undergraduate Research

Liberal Arts students or faculty may apply for funds to facilitate or enhance a student’s research project or enable a student to work on a meaningful faculty-led research project during the academic year or summer. These funds may also be used to support an undergraduate research experience at one of the College’s research centers. Funds may be used to purchase supplies and materials (including books and specialized software), to reimburse travel to research sites, and/or to provide wage payroll support to student researchers, among other things. Projects should culminate in a written report of the student’s work (evaluated by the faculty mentor) and a presentation at the Penn State Undergraduate Exhibition. Students may also receive 494-credit for their work. Applications initiated by students must include a letter of endorsement from the faculty mentor. Faculty mentors will be invited to serve as judges at the Undergraduate Exhibition.

Applications may be submitted at any time and will be reviewed within a 2-3 week period. Student applicants must use this link to apply for funds: https://studentportal.la.psu.edu/enrichment/student/. Faculty applicants may submit relevant materials via email to Susan Johnson (). Be sure to (1) specify clearly what the research question is and how it will be answered; (2) indicate what activities the student will engage in in order to answer the question; (3) provide details on how the total budget was computed; and (3) for student-initiated applications, include a letter of endorsement from a faculty mentor.

Erickson Summer Discovery Grants

The Erickson Discovery Grant Program supports undergraduate student engagement in original research, scholarship, and creative work under the direct supervision of a faculty mentor. Approximately 50 Erickson Discovery Grants, each in the amount of $3,500, are available through the Office of Undergraduate Education. The Erickson Discovery Grants are for student-initiated projects that provide experience in all facets of the research, scholarship, or creative processes. This includes conceptualization of a question or focus, proposal writing, identification and implementation of methods, and communication of results (reporting, exhibition, or performance). Projects should be primarily the student's own work; although the project may be related to the supervising faculty member's research or scholarly interests, it should not simply provide assistance to faculty work. The grants may be used to cover living expenses and project costs (supplies, materials, books, specialized software, travel for the purpose of data collection, etc.). Funds will be deposited into student accounts and therefore may have an impact on student aid or be applied to outstanding charges.

Liberal Arts students who apply for a Discovery Grant but are not selected may subsequently apply for support from the Liberal Arts Research Fund here: https://studentportal.la.psu.edu/enrichment/student/.

Note: These applications MUST be submitted in accordance with the guidelines described in item #1 above, including the specification of a research question, a description of the specific research activities the student will engage in, an itemized budget, and a letter of endorsement from a faculty mentor.

Applications are accepted by the Office of Undergraduate Education from early December thru mid February: https://undergradresearch.psu.edu/summer_discovery/

Undergraduate Research Conference Travel

Penn State undergraduates who are presenting the results of their research or creative work at national or regional professional conferences may request financial support to defray the costs of attendance at the conference. The student must be a conference presenter and the presentation must be related to the student's academic program.

Applications are due at least 30 days prior to the travel date: https://undergradresearch.psu.edu/travel/. The application form must be printed, completed, and submitted to the student’s academic department along with a letter of endorsement from the faculty mentor. The department then forwards the form to the College’s Associate Dean for Research, who will forward it to the Office of Undergraduate Education or the Schreyer Honors College, after which it goes to the Office of Undergraduate Education for final approval.

Schreyer Funding for Honors Research

1. Schreyer Honors Thesis Research Grant. The Schreyer Honors College makes every effort, within the limits of available funds, to defray a portion of Scholars’ thesis research expenses. Since funds are limited, the quality of your proposal is paramount. Proposals will be evaluated based upon the overall quality of the proposed project, the clarity of the proposal and budget, and the importance of financial support to the success of the thesis. Incomplete proposals will not be reviewed. Scholars are eligible for only one thesis grant award during their undergraduate degree program. Additional funds may be requested through the Liberal Arts Undergraduate Research Fund (see above).
2. Schreyer International Thesis Research Grant. The International Thesis Research Grant is a competitive grant program for Scholars proposing long-term research abroad toward the honors thesis. Made possible by a generous gift from Dr. Howard Kulin, it offers the possibility of support in the $2,000-$4,000 range for selected projects. These grants provide funding over and above transportation expenses for students who undertake substantial full-time thesis research while abroad.
3. Schreyer Summer Research/Internship Grants. Research grants are available from the honors college to support scholarly work during the summer. These grants can support either short-term or long-term research efforts and can range from $300 to $5,000, depending on the project and length of the research project. Applications are due to Schreyer on September 1 for the fall semester, November 1 for the spring semester, and April 1 for the summer semester, To apply for funds visit: https://www.shc.psu.edu/srs/grants/about.cfm

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