Undergraduate Research

Get Involved and Change the World

One of the benefits of attending Sewanee is the direct access you have to professors and the research and scholarship in which they engage in order to answer previously unanswered questions or view the world in a new way. At Sewanee, we have funding to support you as you complete a summer research fellowship or a research internship at another institution. You may also get course credit as you work with a professor on a research or scholarly project. Involvement in research, scholarship, or creative activity as an undergraduate will

  • Enhance your career preparation
  • Build your confidence
  • Help you gain essential technical and non-technical skills
  • Prepare you for your chosen graduate or pre-professional program

But most importantly, it will make your experience at Sewanee deeper and fuller. You can be a part of changing the world.

Take the First Step

To get started, explore this website and then talk to a professor about participating in a research project. If you are not sure about which professor's projects are the best fit for you, you may browse this list of faculty publications or contact the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship

Finally, if you wish to know about undergraduate research from the perspective of another institution, visit Northeastern University's Web Guide to Undergraduate Research (WebGURU) or visit the Council on Undergraduate Research website, which posts a link to the latest National Conference on Undergraduate Research, where students like you present papers to a national audience.

Sewanee has an institutional membership to the Council on Undergraduate Research. This means that anyone at the university (faculty, staff, or  students) may join this organization free of charge. Benefits of CUR membership include a subscription to Scholarship and Practice of Undergraduate Research, the biweekly CUR E-Newsletter, and various opportunities and discounts. If you are interested, when you visit the CUR website, go to the Join CUR tab, click on Individual Membership, and when you select The University of the South from the affiliation pull-down menu, the membership fee will be entered as $0.00.

Funding and Supporting Student Research at Sewanee

Collaborative research and scholarship is a fundamental activity for students and faculty at this institution. Students who will be traveling to conferences to present their research or scholarship may request funds here. Once approved, requests for reimbursement may be submitted here. Questions may be sent to the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship.

Sewanee considers funding for unpaid internships, fellowships, and assistantships for students to be a top priority. If a Sewanee student is offered an unpaid research assistantship, they can apply for funding from Sewanee. To see the extensive list of past summer research assistantships (now called fellowships) that were funded by Sewanee, scroll down the list and look for the heading "Research Assistantships" for each year.

  • How to find and fund a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) with Sewanee faculty

In addition, students can apply for funding through fellowships to do social science research during the summer through the Biehl International Research Fellowship. This research fellowship for students interested in conducting an independent social science research project outside of the United States that provides a challenging or broadening immersive experience, whether through language, culture, or environment. Only Sewanee students who are pursuing a major or minor in a social science are eligible to apply. Students design their own research topic; projects should facilitate substantial contact with the society to be studied and should be focused in one area, or a few closely-related locales, rather than several sites. Upon their return in the Advent Semester, each recipient will be required to write a research paper under faculty supervision and to present a public talk on his or her study.

Another research fellowship for Sewanee students only is the Gessell Fellowship in Social Ethics. It offers funds to enable an independent research project in social theory or social ethics. The project may be an academic research paper or field experience. Projects with a local focus are particularly encouraged. The award recipient will complete the project during the course of the academic year, and will submit a final paper and give a public presentation on their research topic to the Sewanee community in April. Awards alternate yearly between students from the College (odd years) and the School of Theology (even years.)

External Academic Fellowships

While many of these programs come with support funding, the Dean of the College's office coordinates the application process for a number of prestigious external fellowships for students at every level of their academic career. Such funding can be used for research with faculty at Sewanee or beyond, or even for an independent project of your own design. To learn more about these opportunities go here.

Beyond Sewanee

  • ACA- The Ledford Scholarship offers financial assistance for summer research in the fields of laboratory and field work, interviews, analyzing special collections, participant observation and other. For more information click here.
  • NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)--These opportunities exist in almost all NSF supported fields at universities around the country to find out more about these opportunities go here.
  • DADD RISE program--Travel to a German University or Institute and get paid to do research for the summer; more information here.
  • DOE programs--There are several programs sponsored by the DOE including the SULI (Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship) and the DOE Scholars Program.
  • DHS programs--Department of Homeland Security offers summer research internships at labs across the country.

Resources for Students Pursuing Advanced Degrees

The Council on Undergraduate Research recently hosted a webinar on applying for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. A transcript of the webinar with Powerpoint slides can be found here (email Rob Bachman for the passcode) and answers to additional questions asked during the webinar can be found here. You may also find Dr. Robin Walker’s (the webinar speaker) website, GRFP Essay Insights or the LinkedIn group dedicated to the GRFP useful.

Another resource of potential interest is the blog GradHacker on InsideHigherEd.com. This blog deals with graduate school life and career planning generally and recently ran a series of articles about applying for fellowships and such.