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Liberal Arts Undergraduate Research Support

Revised 1/3/18


1. 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://enrichment.la.psu.edu/student/Welcome. Faculty applicants may submit relevant materials via email to Susan Johnson (saj12@psu.edu). 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.

2. 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 Discover Grant but are not selected may subsequently apply for support from the Liberal Arts Research Fund here: https://enrichment.la.psu.edu/student/Welcome. 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/


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/.

If the request is approved, the costs will be equally split among the student's college of enrollment dean's office, the Office of Undergraduate Education, the sponsoring academic department and, if applicable, the Schreyer Honors College. The contribution from the Office of Undergraduate Education is capped at $400 per student. Students must be a conference presenter to be eligible for Undergraduate Education funding and the presentation must be related to the student's academic program.

Please submit only one application for each presentation. If there are multiple undergraduate presenters for a project, please complete only one application (under the name of one of the student presenters) and add the names of co-presenters in the area designated on the application for additional participants.

The application for travel funds is available here.

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