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Humanities Research Intensive Fellowships


Students who complete the Humanities Research Intensive course become eligible to apply for one or more HRI Fellowships to support research experiences during the ensuring academic year. For instance, if you took the course over spring break 2020, you can apply for summer 2020, fall 2020, winter 2021, and/or spring 2021. You may apply for up to four grants, depending on availability of funds.

In addition, if you were a freshman at the time you took the spring break course, and if you did not receive an HRI fellowship during the summer after your freshman year, you can also apply for one during the summer after your sophomore year. For instance, if you took the course as a freshman during spring break 2020, you could apply either for summer 2020 or for summer 2021. This option is not available to students who took the spring break course during their sophomore year. Instead, they should explore sources of funding designed for more advanced students, such as the Chappell-Lougee Scholarship or Major Grants offered by UAR. 

Contact the HRI Fellowship Advisor if you have questions about any of these policies or wish to schedule a meeting to talk through your research proposal.

Fellowship Types

Collaborative Research Fellowships

One of the best ways to get started in research—particularly if you are not certain where to begin—is to collaborate with a professor or lab on a pre-defined, faculty-led project. These guided research experiences are a bit like apprenticeships: by contributing to a faculty project, you will learn directly from an expert how they frame research questions; identify, analyze and interpret sources; and communicate results to the public. In the process, you will almost certainly come up with ideas and questions of your own, as well as form valuable relationships with faculty, which can help you launch a future independent project of your own. 

We offer two levels of fellowship support for collaborative research projects:

  • Summer Fellowships ($8,000) provide a 10-week stipend to support full-time, immersive research with a faculty member or lab during the summer.
  • Small Fellowships ($1,500) support part-time research experiences with a faculty member or lab, either during an academic quarter or over the summer. The level of engagement should be roughly equivalent to 2–3 units of academic work. 

Applications and Deadlines

If you want to participate in a collaborative research experience, you should apply directly to the faculty member or lab and identify yourself as an HRI Fellow eligible for fellowship support. If the faculty member accepts you, ask him or her to contact the HRI Fellowship Advisor, and we will award you your fellowship. Different projects have different application requirements and deadlines, so contact the faculty member for details. However, if you wish to participate during the summer, keep in mind that the first-round application for summer campus housing is usually due at the beginning of May.

List of Faculty-Led Research Projects in the Humanities (2019–2020)

Below is a list of several faculty-led research projects in the humanities in 2019–2020 that seek to involve undergraduates. All of these projects have agreed to give special consideration to HRI Fellows, so this list is an excellent place to start. For more information, including when and how to apply, review the 

•    Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA)
•    Stanford Humanities Center
•    Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project
•    Ethics in Society Podcast
•    Philosophy Talk
•    Bill Lane Center for the American West
It is also possible that you might discover other opportunities on your own. For instance, you might develop a good rapport with one of your introductory seminar professors and ask if he or she might be willing to collaborate with you. Certain departments may also have projects primarily reserved for their majors or for students who have taken appropriate introductory courses. If so, ask your professor to contact us, and we will gladly fund these experiences as well.

Independent Research Fellowships

If you have a clear idea for a research project of your own, you can apply for an HRI Independent Research Fellowship. In this case, you will devise your own research question, locate your own sources, and work independently to develop a final product of your own design, such as a research paper, website, exhibition catalogue, or work of creative art. You must find a faculty member who is willing to advise you on this project, to check in with you on a regular basis, and to evaluate your final product. You and your advisor should decide in advance how you will communicate and what form this final product should take. You should also apply to present your findings, either at an HRI Research Symposium if we are able to organize one, or at the Stanford Undergraduate Research and Public Service Symposium (SURPS).

We offer two levels of fellowship support for independent research projects:

  • Summer Fellowships ($8,000) provide a 10-week stipend to support full-time, immersive research during the summer.
  • Small Fellowships ($1,500) support part-time research on an independent project, either during an academic quarter or over the summer. The level of engagement should be roughly equivalent to 2–3 units of academic work. 


To apply for an Independent Research Fellowship, email a short project description (around 1200 words) to the HRI Fellowship Advisor by the relevant deadline:

  • Summer 2019 Application Deadline: Friday, 4/19/19
  • Fall 2019 Application Deadline: Sunday, 9/15/19
  • Winter 2020 Application Deadline: Sunday, 11/10/19
  • Spring 2020 Application Deadline: Sunday, 2/23/19

Your proposal must address the following points:

  • What question or questions do you hope to investigate?
  • List 3–5 sources (primary or secondary) that you’ve read on this topic and describe how they have informed your project.
  • What primary sources (archives, collections, books, etc.) do you hope to find and investigate?
  • Who is your faculty mentor for this project and how do you envision interacting with him/her over the course of the summer or term? What is your schedule for checking in, and when will you deliver your final product to your mentor?
  • What kind of final product do you expect to create?
  • How might this work inform your future academic plans? 

You do not need to submit a faculty letter of recommendation for these fellowships, but we will follow up with your chosen mentor to get a brief assessment of the feasibility of your project.

International and Domestic Travel

Planning a research trip, both domestically and abroad, takes considerable time and effort. For instance, which archives, libraries, or collections will you use? How will you gain permission to access them? Are there any local scholars who can assist you if you run into difficulties? Where will you stay, and how will you travel to your research venue? Are there any local risks you should be aware of? These logistical issues become considerably more complex when navigating a foreign country. And unfortunately, the turnaround between the end of spring break and our summer fellowship application deadline is a mere three weeks. For this reason, and because this program is intended to support students just getting started in research, you may only use an HRI Independent Research Fellowship to travel abroad in very limited cases:  

  • You may not use an HRI Independent Research Fellowship to travel abroad over the summer. (Exception: If you are an international student and are proposing to return to your home country to conduct research over the summer, we may consider your request on a case-by-case basis). You may travel during the summer to a domestic location within the United States (such as the library of Congress in D.C., for instance), but in this case, we may follow up your application with a request for further details before granting your fellowship request. We expect, however, that most HRI Fellows who pursue independent research over the summer will choose to stay on campus or to return to their home towns. 
  • During an academic quarter, you may only use an HRI Independent Research Fellowship to conduct research in a foreign country if you will already be staying in that country as part of a Bing Overseas Studies Program. However, you must complete your HRI-supported research within the official starting and ending dates of your BOSP program (you may not arrive early to the country or stay on afterwards). You must also abide by any travel rules and requirements stipulated by your BOSP program. 

If you do have a carefully developed plan for a summer independent research project involving international travel, consider applying for one of the UAR fellowships intended for more advanced students, such as the Chappell-Lougee Scholarship or Major Grants.

Human Subjects Research Requirements

If your research proposal involves gathering data from living human beings—including but not limited to procedures such as interviews, ethnographic observations, or reviews of existing records—you may be required to seek approval from an Institutional Review Board (IRB), a federally mandated panel charged with overseeing the protection of human participants in research. Not all projects involving human subjects require IRB approval: for instance, many oral histories do not. Nevertheless, you must work through this list of steps to determine what kind of approval, if any, you will need. We cannot fund your project until you have completed these necessary steps! Note that applying to an IRB can be time-consuming and requires careful planning: if your project requires IRB approval, there will probably not be sufficient time between the end of spring break and the deadline for HRI Summer Independent Research Fellowships to complete all the steps and receive approval. Talk to your faculty mentor about whether your proposal is realistic, given these time constraints. 

Other Fellowship Policies 

General Policies

  • Fellowships will be paid directly to the student as a single lump sum stipend, through the Financial Aid Office, before the start of the term in question. In particular, we will ensure that students receive their summer fellowships in time to pay their summer housing bills in mid-June.
  • Students may not receive academic credit for research supported by these fellowships. 
  • Students must be enrolled in undergraduate studies all quarters for which they receive support. If they receive support over the summer, they must be enrolled in undergraduate studies for both the preceding spring quarter and the following fall quarter.
  • HRI Fellowship funds are subject to U.S. and state income tax laws, and payment of this fellowship may be tax reportable. Students assume responsibility for reporting fellowship payments to the proper taxing authorities, as well as liability for any tax payments that may be due.

Summer Fellowship Policies

  • Students who receive an $8,000 summer fellowship may not register for more than 5 units of summer coursework or accept a job that requires more than 10 hours of work per week.
  • Students are expected to commit 10 full weeks of their summer to their fellowship project. They may, however, participate in a September Studies program such as Sophomore College or the Arts Intensive if they have completed their 10 weeks of research before this program begins. In certain cases—pending approval from their faculty mentor or lab—they may also be allowed to participate in another short program that falls in the middle of the summer (such as a BOSP Overseas Seminar), provided they are able to make up the 10 full weeks of research on either side. You cannot work on your research project and attend one of these programs simultaneously.
  • Students are responsible for finding their own summer housing. Keep in mind that the first-round summer housing deadline is in early May. If you are applying to participate in a faculty-led research project, be sure to tell the professor that you need a response before this date.

Independent Research Fellowship Policies

  • Faculty mentors do not need to be academic council members (lecturers and untenured faculty are fine).
  • Students do not need to collect or submit receipts for independent projects.