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Step 10: Finding Funding for Research: Scholarships and Grants for Undergraduate Research

Start planning as early as possible for grants and scholarships. Keep in mind that deadlines often occur in the fall semester for scholarships in the following year, and sometimes the Tufts deadlines are earlier than the nationally/internationally set deadlines. Figuring out your research plan early on will help you better prepare when the time comes for scholarships and grants.

In addition to the IRN, many resources exist at Tufts and beyond for funding opportunities:

Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Education
The Dean of Undergraduate Education administers numerous national and international scholarships and fellowships, including Fulbright, Marshall, Rhodes, and Truman.

IR Research Scholars Program
Established in 2001, the scholarship program supports original, high-quality undergraduate international research. Awarded jointly to selected IR juniors who plan to undertake a senior honors thesis or other capstone research experience and their faculty mentors, the scholarship financially supports a minimum of eight weeks of summer research on an international topic. The program's objectives are to promote intensive faculty-student mentoring and to advance the development of strong international research skills critical to professional and academic goals in an increasingly interdependent world.

Borghesani Memorial Prize
Honoring the memory of Anne E. Borghesani, J'89, the award enables recipient(s) to undertake a self-designed project or plan of study in any field involving international issues. The prize is designed to encourage personal growth and independence, while increasing one's understanding of all peoples and encouraging a commitment to the world community.

Tufts Summer Scholars Program
The Tufts Summer Scholars Program is a University-wide initiative that offers research apprenticeships with faculty/clinical mentors to motivated Tufts undergraduates. The Program gives students a chance to see and participate in what is happening on the front lines of discovery and scholarship at Tufts today. Every Tufts school, department and research center provides opportunities for interested students to get their hands on the source of learning. By exploring the challenge of creating new knowledge, we bring learning to life.



  • Do your homework to familiarize yourself with the scholarships early on. Each scholarship program often has its own criteria for candidate selection, in addition to scholastic achievement.
  • Conduct informational interviews. Speak with people on campus who can offer you advice on the scholarships.
  • Understand the history of the scholarship.
  • Contact the Dean's office for updated deadlines and procedures since Tufts has its own deadlines, which typically fall before the national deadlines.

Once you find a potential funding opportunity, the question becomes: How do I apply successfully?

No matter what type of application, the receiving party will want to know:

  1. What is your research question?
  2. What specifically do you want to investigate?
    1. You need a specific research question to propose.
  3. Have you done the coursework and preparation for this project?
    1. Carefully plan your coursework. For example, a senior thesis is based on building blocks and previous experience and preparation.
  4. Have you evaluated the scholarly literature on your research question?
    1. Can you briefly mention the major works that address your research question?
    2. Can you compile a short list of references identifying these major works?
  5. How do you plan to conduct this research project? What methodology do you propose to employ?
    1. Exactly how are you going to study this research question"
    2. Examples: collect statistics, conduct interviews, do a cost-benefit analysis, etc.

Sound familiar? Writing a scholarship proposal is very similar to a research prospectus. Keep in mind that specific scholarships and awards may have additional requirements and solicit different information so do your research on the application procedures and seek out assistance from the contact people administering the scholarships.

The Academic Resource Center (ARC) at Tufts offers support services and resources for student writing including senior honors theses.

Tips Get a mentor's input and feedback on the application before you turn it in. Ask your advisor or go to the Academic Resource Center to read over your proposal application and offer suggestions for improvement. Make sure you give the person enough time to read through your proposal and offer feedback. If you ask someone a few days before the application is due to read over it, not only will they not have enough time to fulfill your request, you will not have enough time to incorporate the recommended improvements.

Other resources:

Research Milestones

Things to do this academic year.

Planner Checklist

Track your research progress.

Research Notepad

Keep track of research jottings.