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Graduate Summer Research Fellowship

Graduate students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences may apply for a summer stipend to support their scholarly efforts. Awards are made on a competitive basis in the amount of $3,000 for master's students and $4,000 for doctoral students for work in June, July and August.


Students in good academic standing in either a master’s or doctoral program in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are eligible. BS/MS or BA/MA students who clearly will be in the graduate portion of their degree program during the summer of support are eligible. The project should be directly related to the applicant’s completion of degree requirements (e.g., thesis or dissertation work, Independent Study or Directed Research, a capstone requirement in the program, etc.) or serve as a necessary component for their scholarly/professional trajectory. A student may receive this form of support only once. You are not eligible to apply for a fellowship in the summer following graduation.

Villanova University students cannot receive support to conduct research in countries under a Travel Warning from the U.S. Department of State. In the event that a country is placed on a travel warning after funding has been awarded, students must communicate with the Office of Graduate Studies to cancel travel arrangements and return any funds that have been awarded.

Evaluation Criteria for Doctoral Students

  • Clarity and persuasiveness of the proposal. A successful proposal presents a clear research agenda and explains the significance of the project as a contribution to the discipline(s) or professional community. Interdisciplinary projects and projects that push the limits of the discipline(s) are as welcome as those that fit existing paradigms. Projects that relate to alt-ac career development will also be considered.  
  • Feasibility within the timeframe of an eight-week summer grant. A successful proposal includes a plan for the work (e.g. a schedule or other way of explaining what will be done) and identifies appropriate venues for presenting the work to scholarly audiences. 
  • Intentions to share the results in a publication or another form. In general, a proposal geared toward publication is stronger than a proposal geared toward a conference presentation. Proposals associated with dissertation completion will also be considered.   
  • Contribution of the research project to the applicant’s broader academic interests and trajectory.  
  • Faculty sponsor support.

Evaluation Criteria for Master's Students

Applications are evaluated by a standing committee of graduate faculty in the College according to the following criteria:

  • Strength of faculty sponsor support - the extent to which the sponsor makes a compelling case for the student and the student's ability to complete the proposed summer project. 
  • Project feasibility - the extent to which the proposed project is conceptually and methodologically appropriate and can be completed (and/or represents an appropriate amount of work) during summer research. Please note that restrictions due to COVID-19 will be considered elsewhere in the evaluation. 
  • The direct benefit of the project to the student - the extent to which the proposed project will have direct benefit to the student. A successful proposal describes how the project contributes to student progress toward degree completion or development as a scholar. A proposal in which the student participates in multiple phases of an overall project is stronger than one where the student only see fragments of the research process. A proposal in which the student anticipates presenting or performing his or her work to a local, regional or national audience is stronger than one where the student has no plans for sharing the work. 
  • Clarity of the proposal - the extent to which the proposal exhibits writing that clearly articulates the project and its merits to an interdisciplinary faculty evaluation committee. 
  • Contribution to the discipline or profession - a successful proposal describes a project in which the student engages in original work that has the potential to inform the understanding or practice of his or her discipline/profession.

COVID 19 Adjustments

Applications will be evaluated for their merit independent of any COVID-19 restrictions that may be in place. However, the Office of Graduate Studies can only award funding to projects that can be completed in compliance with any University and/or IRB restrictions that are in place at the time of the proposed research activity. Therefore, applicants are encouraged to review the restrictions at the time of application. If the proposed project would be impacted by the restrictions, applicants should provide a one-page statement of how the research would be adjusted to comply with the restrictions should they continue into the summer research period.

How to Apply

Please complete the required Graduate Summer Research Fellowship Application Form and append the following documents in PDF format to the application form:

1.  Abstract (100-word abstract of the proposal)

2.  Formal Proposal (Only one formal proposal will be accepted.)

A three-page, double-spaced narrative description of the project. The project proposal should consist of four parts:

  • the applicant’s name, graduate program, and project title;
  • the rationale/background for the proposed work (using language directed towards a general audience of readers, not necessarily from your discipline);
  • a clear description of the research plan and proposed methodology (including a timeline);
  • a statement of the impact of the award on the student’s progress toward graduation.

3.  One-Page Bibliography or Reference Section of relevant supporting scholarship.

4.  Appendix (optional) using figures (two-page limit). The appendix is optional and should only be included if there is a chart, graph or figure that strengthens the proposal.

5. COVID-19 Adjustment Statement (one-page, if needed).

Deadline for Proposals and Review Process

Master's Students: Completed application form and required documents appended to the form must be submitted by no later than February 1 (regardless of which day of the week it falls). No extensions will be granted.

Doctoral Students: Completed application form and required documents appended to the form must be submitted by no later than March 1 (regardless of which day of the week it falls). No extensions will be granted.

Faculty Evaluation of the Project

Applicants should ask their faculty sponsor to submit a confidential evaluation electronically to the Dean of Graduate Studies,, by no later than February 1 for master's students and March 1 for doctoral students (regardless of which day of the week it falls). No extensions will be granted.

Award Recipients

Decisions about the applications will be announced by mid-to-late March for master's students and mid-to-late April .

Graduate Research Symposium

In addition to the final report, all award recipients will be required to participate in a Graduate Research Symposium during the fall semester after their summer research project.


Final Report

A final two-page report on the outcome and status of the funded project must be submitted by September 15 (regardless of which day of the week it falls).


Graduate Summer Research Fellowship Final Report Form

Please complete the Graduate Summer Research Fellowship Final Report Form and append the required two-page report to the final report form.