HRI 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 2021, you can apply for summer 2021, fall 2021, winter 2022, and/or spring 2022. 

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 during the summer after your sophomore year. For instance, if you took the course as a freshman during spring break 2021, you could apply either for summer 2021 or for summer 2022. 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 Undergraduate Research.  

Because funding is limited in 2020–2021, we will need to be more selective about awarding grants than we have in the past. Our top priority is to ensure that as many students as possible have at least one research opportunity. Therefore, while you are welcome to apply for multiple HRI fellowships over the course of the year, we will prioritize applicants who have not received a previous grant. 

Contact Jeff Schwegman if you have questions about any of these policies or wish to schedule a meeting to talk through your research proposal.

Application Deadlines

To be considered for an HRI grant, email your proposal to Jeff Schwegman by one of the following deadlines:

  • For fall quarter projects: Friday, September 18, 2020, 11:59 pm.
  • For winter quarter projects: Friday, January 15, 2021, 11:59 pm.
  • For spring quarter projects: Friday, April 2, 2021, 11:59 pm.
  • For summer quarter projects: Friday, June 25, 2021, 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. 

Fellowship Types


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. 

In 2020–2021 we will offer small fellowships of $1,500 to 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 write or apply 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 Jeff Schwegman  by the application deadline for the quarter you wish to work (see above), and copy the professor or lab administrator. Please also answer the following questions in your email:

  • Will you be enrolled, either full-time or on a flex term, during the quarter you plan to dedicate to this project? (We can’t fund students during a leave of absence).
  • Have you accepted, or are you applying for, any other University fellowships this fall to support research, internships, or service projects? (See the “Other Fellowship Policies” section below on when this is allowed).

Note that some labs may also have their own internal application deadlines that conflict from 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 Jeff Schwegmanwho 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:

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. We will gladly fund these experiences as well.


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).

In 2020–2021, we will offer small fellowships of $1,500 to 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 Jeff Schwegman by the application deadline (see above). 

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? Because of COVID-19, we cannot support projects that involve travel of any kind. Can you complete your intended research exclusively through sources available online?
  • 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 or received grants from any other University program during this same quarter? (See details below for when this is allowed).
  • Will you be enrolled, either full-time or on a flex term, 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.

COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

Because of the ongoing risk of COVID-19, we will not support research projects that require travel of any kind. This includes not only domestic and international travel, but also all travel that is local in nature (e.g., driving to a nearby library or museum in the town where you are staying, commuting from off campus to an on-campus facility, etc.). You must be capable of completing your research project using exclusively online resources (or books and other materials that you purchase from an online vendor). Talk to your faculty mentor for ideas about online collections you could use to achieve your research goals.

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

Other Fellowship Policies 

General Policies

  • Students are not eligible to receive an HRI grant while taking a leave of absence. They may, however, receive a grant during their so-called “flex term” in 2020–2021. 
  • Sometimes students apply for more than one University research, internship, or community service grant during the same academic term. You must list all of these other grant programs to which you have applied in your HRI Fellowship application. Depending on the circumstances, we may or may not allow you to accept multiple grants:
    • If you are enrolled during the quarter as a full-time student, you can only accept one part-time grant opportunity.
    • If you are on your “flex term” and another program has offered you a major grant to devote yourself full time to their project, you may be eligible to receive one of our small, part-time HRI grants in addition, but only if the other program permits it. (Some programs stipulate in their contracts that you cannot accept any other part-time opportunities). 
    • If you are on your “flex term” and one or more other programs have offered you a small grant for part-time work, you will probably be eligible for an HRI grant in addition.
  • Students may not receive academic credit for research supported by these fellowships. 
  • 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. 
  • 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.

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.