HRI Fellowships

Students who complete the Humanities Research Intensive course become eligible to apply for special HRI Fellowships to support research experiences during the ensuing academic year. You can use these Fellowships to support collaborative work as a research assistant to a faculty member or lab, or to fund an independent project of your own design. We offer two levels of support: 

  • Small Fellowships ($1,500) support part-time research experiences during an academic quarter or over the summer. The level of engagement should be roughly equivalent to 2–3 units of academic work. 
  • Full-Time Fellowships ($7,500–$9,000) support 10-week, full-time research projects during the summer. The fellowship amount depends on your financial need. We can offer a limited number of these in summer 2023.

Please through the following policies carefully and contact jschweg [at] (Jeff Schwegman) if you want to meet to talk through your research proposal.

Application Deadlines

Collaborative research experiences and independent project proposals have different application processes, as described in the sections below, but they both share the same deadlines. To be considered for an HRI Fellowship, email your materials to jschweg [at] (Jeff Schwegman) by one of the following dates:

  • Fall Quarter Projects: Sunday, October 8, 2023, 11:59 pm.
  • Winter Quarter Projects: Sunday, January 21, 2024, 11:59 pm.
  • Spring Quarter Projects: Sunday, April 14, 2024, 11:59 pm.
  • Summer Quarter Projects (Full-Time): Sunday, April 14, 2024, 11:59 pm.
  • Summer Quarter Projects (Part-Time): Sunday, June 30, 2024, 11:59 pm.

We will let you know if your proposal has been selected by the following Wednesday. 

Note: In order to give fair consideration to everyone who applies, we will wait until after these deadlines to evaluate all of the proposals we have received for the quarter. We can’t notify you in advance if you apply early. 


Collaborative Research Experiences

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. 


To apply for a collaborative research experience, you should write directly to the faculty member or lab and identify yourself as an HRI Fellow eligible for potential fellowship support. Some programs and labs, like CESTA, have their own highly structured internal application processes, and you should participate in these. By contrast, most opportunities to work as a research assistant for an individual faculty member develop informally, and you should simply ask the person. If the professor or lab agrees to work with you, email jschweg [at] (Jeff Schwegman) by the application deadline for the relevant quarter, copying the professor. In your email, answer the following questions:

  • Have you applied for any other Experiential Learning Opportunities (research grants, internships, public service projects) from another university program during this same quarter? (See “Eligibility” below for when this is allowed). 
  • Will you be enrolled during the quarter you plan to dedicate to this project? (We can’t fund students during a leave of absence).

Note that some labs may also have their own internal application deadlines that conflict with ours. For instance, a lab might choose its winter quarter research assistants during fall quarter, whereas HRI does not make funding decisions about winter until the beginning of winter quarter. If a conflict of this sort arises, contact jschweg [at] (Jeff Schwegman), who can help work out a compromise solution.

List of Faculty-Led Research Projects in the Humanities 

Below is a list of several faculty-led research projects in the humanities that typically involve undergraduates:

You might also discover other opportunities on your own. For instance, you could 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. We will gladly fund these experiences as well.


Independent Research Projects

You can also apply for an HRI Fellowship to fund an original research project of your own. 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).


To apply for an independent research project, email a short project proposal (around 1200 words) to jschweg [at] (Jeff Schwegman) by the relevant deadline.

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? 
  • Have you applied for any other Experiential Learning Opportunities (research grants, internships, public service projects) from another university program during this same quarter? (See “Eligibility” below for when this is allowed). 
  • Will you be enrolled during the quarter you plan to dedicate to this project? (We can’t fund students during a leave of absence).

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.

Human Subjects 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 advance planning. Talk to your faculty mentor about whether your proposal is realistic, given these time constraints.

Travel Restrictions

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. For this reason—and because HRI is meant to be an introductory research program—we will not fund any projects that involve international travel, except under the following circumstances:

  • If you are an international student and are planning to return to your home country over the summer, we may allow you to design a project using resources in your home town. You must consult in advance with jschweg [at] (Jeff Schwegman).
  • If you will be studying abroad through the Bing Overseas Studies Program during an academic quarter, you may use your HRI grant to conduct research within the city where you BOSP program is located (e.g. Oxford, Santiago, Cape Town, etc.). 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 are using your HRI grant to work as a research assistant for a faculty member or lab, and the professor’s project involves international travel, consult with Jeff Schwegman. We might approve this if we determine that the faculty member is following university policies.

You may travel 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.


When am I Eligible to Apply for an HRI Fellowship? 

You can apply during the next five academic terms that follow your completion of the course. For instance, if you took HRI over spring break 2023, you can apply for spring 2023, summer 2023, fall 2023, winter 2024, and/or spring 2024. 

In addition, if you were a freshman at the time you took the course, and if you did not receive an HRI fellowship during the summer after your freshman year, you can also apply during the summer after your sophomore year. For instance, if you took HRI as a freshman during spring break 2023, you could apply either for summer 2023 or for summer 2024. This option is not available to students who took HRI 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 Undergraduate Research.  

Can I apply for more than one HRI Fellowship?

Yes. You can apply for as many small grants as you like, although you can only receive one full-time summer grant. Because funding is limited, however, we will prioritize applicants who have not received a previous grant.

Can I apply while on a leave of absence?

No. You must be enrolled as a full-time student.

If I receive a full-time HRI Fellowship for the summer, can I also participate in other summer programs?

Maybe. The university sets strict limits on how many other summer opportunities you can participate in if you have a full-time research grant, internship, or public service opportunity (Stanford calls these “Experiential Learning Opportunities,” or ELOs, for short). In particular:

  • You may only accept one full-time, Stanford-funded ELO per summer. If you have already accepted a full-time opportunity from another campus office such as VPUE or the Haas Center, you cannot apply for one of our full-time fellowships, and vice versa. Any violation of this rule will be treated as a serious breach of the honor code. 
  • You may work at a part-time job, or take on a second, part-time ELO, but you cannot work more than a combined 10 hours outside your HRI project.
  • You may not register for more than 5 units of summer coursework.
  • You may enroll in Sophomore College, the Arts Intensive, or a BOSP Short-Term Summer Program. However, because these courses also require a full-time commitment, you cannot work on your HRI project simultaneously. Instead, you must plan to devote 10 full weeks to your HRI project outside the start and end dates of these programs. 

If I receive a part-time HRI Fellowship, can I participate in other programs?

  • During an academic quarter, you should generally accept only a single part-time ELO, although exceptions are possible. 
  • During the summer, you may be able to pair a part-time HRI Fellowship with a full-time ELO offered by another campus office (e.g. VPUE, Haas, etc.). However, some programs specifically forbid this, so you must obtain permission from the other office.
  • If you don’t have a full-time summer ELO, you can probably accept multiple part-time opportunities, but you should still confirm this in advance with each program.
Other Fellowship Policies
  • Faculty mentors do not need to be academic council members (lecturers and untenured faculty are fine).
  • You do not need to collect or submit receipts for independent projects.
  • You may not receive academic credit for research supported by these fellowships. 
  • Fellowships will be paid directly to you as a single lump sum stipend, through the Financial Aid Office, before the start of the term in question. 
  • HRI Fellowship funds are subject to U.S. and state income tax laws, and payment of this fellowship may be tax reportable. You assume responsibility for reporting fellowship payments to the proper taxing authorities, as well as liability for any tax payments that may be due.