Fellowship Guidelines

How to Apply

All applications will be completed online. The online application requires the following documents:

  • Project overview: What are the contexts, aims, methods, and motivations for your research? What materials do you need and why? (4-5 pages, double-spaced)
  • Personal statement: How does your research fit into your professional and personal goals? How did you arrive at this point, and where to you hope it will lead? (1-2 pages, double-spaced)
  • Itemized budget
  • Advisor endorsement (it is the applicant's responsibility to ensure these are completed)
  • Travel plan (if the research requires international travel)

Fall fellowship application deadline is October 1, at 11:59PM. Spring fellowship application deadine is February 1, 11:59PM.

Undergraduate Research Fellowships are offered jointly by the Aresty Research Center, the School of Arts and Sciences, and Douglass Residential College, referred to as "Funding Units" in the guidelines below. If you are awarded an Undergraduate Research Fellowship, funding will come from one of these Funding Units.

You can apply by following this link.

Proposal Evaluation

All proposals are read and reviewed by a group of professors. The reviewers evaluate proposals based on the following criteria:

  • Context and big picture: Strong proposals clearly situate the research project within its field, identify the work that has already been completed, and articulate the importance of the proposed investigation in a way that is intelligible to non-experts.
  • Clarity of research plan: Strong proposals demonstrate that the student has thought through the steps of the research process and the steps, methods, and materials required to complete it. contextualize the proposed research in their field give a very clear description of the project plan and course of research, which is both convincing to experts and comprehensible to non-experts. This includes a coherent statement of hypotheses and methods, and for data-driven projects a justification of sample size.
  • Personal and professional motivation: The review committee pays close attention to each applicant’s personal and professional motivations as expressed in the “Personal Statement.” Strong proposals link past experiences to the proposed research project and offer a thoughtful explanation of how the project will support professional and personal aspirations.
  • Budget justification: Strong proposals clearly justify all elements of the budgets, both in terms of the amount of supplies needed and their role in performing the research.
  • Faculty support: The review committee will seek strong endorsements from faculty mentors both in terms of the ability of the student to perform the research and evidence of support for the project.

I. Scope and Qualifications for Proposals

  1. Projects may range from an idea that the student is beginning to pursue on his/her own, to a joint student-faculty project in which either the student or the faculty member is the principal investigator.
  2. In all cases, the undergraduate must have significant involvement and independence in both formulating the question and conducting the investigation.
  3. Examples of fundable projects may include: the editing and study of texts, literary history and criticism, linguistic analysis, biography; performances, exhibitions, or specific projects in art, music, writing, and theater that are accompanied by a substantial research component; research in the natural and mathematical sciences; anthropological surveys, behavioral studies, or political theory analyses.
  4. Incomplete proposals will not be considered. This includes proposals missing letters of endorsement and proposals that do not adhere to our guidelines.
  5. If the application is for funding to continue a project previously granted funding, applicants must include a paragraph in the "Project Overview" explaining why additional funding is needed.

II. Items That May Be Funded

  1. Expendable supplies and services directly related to the student's proposed research (limited to those items not normally provided by the student’s research department). If your proposed project uses animals, you must justify the number you are proposing to use.
  2. Individually initiated travel to special collections, libraries, archives, research facilities, research sites, and other special resources. Costs that may be covered include transportation (airfare, rail tickets, gasoline, highway tolls, etc.) and lodging.
  3. Books (when unavailable through the Rutgers University libraries or via Inter-Library Loan). The student should attempt to find used copies before buying them in new condition.
  4. Participant/subject costs: Only when access to a participant pool is unavailable, and compensation is a necessary component built into the design of the proposal. The number of participants and individual participant cost must be justified.
  5. Limited photocopying (e.g. surveys to be distributed). Photocopying will not be considered an alternative to note taking and must be specifically justified in the proposal.

III. Items That May NOT Be Funded

  1. Living expenses (e.g. meals, rent, clothing, laundry, Internet service, utilities, etc.).
  2. Tuition at Rutgers University or any other educational institution, domestic or abroad.
  3. Stipends/per diems.
  4. Equipment (e.g. computers, software, lab equipment) that will be used beyond the duration of the specified research project.
  5. Software and software licenses that are accessible to students on campus.

IV. Application and Review Procedures

  1. The application deadline for the fall semester is October 1. For the spring semester, the deadline is February 1.
  2. The student must have a faculty advisor with whom s/he is closely working.
  3. The student must be the author of the project overview, additional information, and budget request; however, the Aresty Center encourages the faculty advisor to help the student develop these materials.
  4. Only one application may be submitted per student. Group projects can be funded, but only one application should be submitted.
  5. The student may request as much funding as the projects requires; the Aresty Center Faculty Review Board will give full consideration to the budget in the context of the other requests the Aresty Center has received and the funding available.
  6. Applications are evaluated by the ARC staff and the Aresty Faculty Review Board. The entire research proposal, including a comprehensive description of the project, a clearly-defined budget, and all information on the application (including GPA) will be considered when determining whether the student will be awarded research funding. Students must be in good academic standing in order to receive funding from the ARC. Competitive applications will be from students with at least a 3.0 average.
  7. The Aresty Center will notify all applicants of the decision concerning their applications via email within 4 to 5 weeks of the application deadline.
  8. In some cases, the student may be asked to submit additional information or a new application should the Board have questions or concerns about the proposal.

V. Disbursement

  1. Undergraduate Research Fellowships will be in the form of checks, made payable directly to the student, except in special cases. Checks are issued in the full amount of the award.
  2. Funds are available approximately 6 weeks from the application deadline. Students will be contacted for pickup and must be picked up in person, except in special cases.
  3. If the student’s supplies are to be purchased by the research department (e.g. science lab supplies), the student should endorse the check and turn it over to the department for administration on his/her behalf.
  4. If the student will administer the award him-/herself, the check may be cashed or deposited into a personal account. The student is responsible for monitoring the balance and making appropriate withdrawals from these funds.
  5. Only those items which were specifically delineated and approved in the student’s budget proposal may be purchased using Undergraduate Research Fellowship funds.
  6. If the student’s necessary expenses deviate from those listed in the budget proposal, s/he must submit a revised budget to the funding unit for approval prior to making the relevant purchase(s).
  7. Receipts must be collected for all expenses paid using Undergraduate Research Fellowship funds. These receipts must be turned in to the funding unit when the project is complete, but no later than May 1.
  8. Any remaining balance of more than $10 must also be returned by the receipts deadline, either via cash or a personal check made payable to “Rutgers, The State University of NJ” with “Aresty Undergraduate Research Fellowship – unused balance” in the check’s memo line.
  9. The types of receipts accepted are as follows:
  • Any itemized receipt from a store (including online stores) is valid.
  • If working within a laboratory or department that will be making purchases on the student’s behalf, a copy of the purchase order will suffice.
  • Receipts for gasoline (if vehicular travel was an approved expense) are not accepted; the university pays for vehicular travel at the rate of $0.56 per mile, which covers both gasoline and general wear to the vehicle. In lieu of a receipt, the student is asked to use a service such as http://maps.google.com or http://www.mapquest.com to calculate the exact distance between the point of origin and destination. The student should then hand in a printout of the directions, showing the calculations for the round trip mileage and total reimbursement amount.
  • Unless issued copy cards as part of the Undergraduate Research Fellowship, if a student uses funding for photocopying services s/he should turn in a piece of paper noting the number of copies made and the cost per copy. The student may also submit receipts for any copy cards purchased.

VI. Conditions

  1. The student may spend Undergraduate Research Fellowship funds only on pre-approved budget items or, if the budget changes, submit a new budget to the Funding Unit for approval prior to expending the funds.
  2. The student will use the funds for his/her project only; should s/he not complete the project or use all funds, s/he may not transfer the funds to another student or faculty member.
  3. The student will submit receipts accounting for the sum total of his/her approved expenses and/or return the balance of the award to the Funding Unit no later than May 1, or risk academic sanction.
  4. The student must submit an abstract by the specified deadline for consideration in the annual Aresty Undergraduate Research Symposium.
  5. If the abstract is accepted, the student must present his/her project at the Symposium, held in April each year. Although this is an obligation connected with an Aresty Undergraduate Research Fellowship, it is also an opportunity for the student to receive due recognition for his/her work.
  6. Any publication resulting from a project supported by an Aresty Undergraduate Research Fellowship shall include an appropriate acknowledgement of assistance from Rutgers University, the Aresty Research Center for Undergraduates, and the Funding Unit. A copy of the publication shall be forwarded to the Aresty Research Center.