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Undergraduate Research Grants

Do you have a great idea for academic research, but lack the cash to get started? The Office of Undergraduate Programs at Smeal can help.

Undergraduate Research Grant Application

Smeal Undergraduate Research Program Q & A

Do you have a great idea for academic research, but lack the funding to get started? The Office of Undergraduate Programs at Smeal can help.

What is a research grant, and how can it help?

Conducting research is costly, especially for college students dealing with numerous financial obligations.

This is why Smeal's Office of Undergraduate Programs is offering financial grants - to help defray the costs of research projects for undergraduate students.

The purpose of the grants is to encourage students to engage in research projects related to their academic and professional goals.

Why do you want to fund my research?

Penn State University is a top-tier research institution, and encourages students to engage in research studies in all academic disciplines by offering financial support for approved ideas.

You are encouraged to incorporate your research goals into all areas of your undergraduate education.

Do I have to come up with my own research project?

No. You have two options if you are interested in conducting an undergraduate research study.  If you have an idea about a topic you are interested in, you can proceed with this study with the assistance of a faculty adviser.

You can also look over the projects posted on the “Faculty Research Projects” link, which lists research projects that faculty members are currently working on and would like assistance with.

All of these projects have already been approved so it is the student’s responsibility to contact the faculty member who is conducting the study, meet with them to find out if this project is a good fit for the student, and then fill out the Undergraduate Research Application provided on this website.

What can I use the money for?

Funds cover the expenditures of, but are not limited to:

  • Traveling expenses
  • Research materials
  • Conference fees
  • Preparing surveys
  • Data collection materials
  • Software purchases
  • Technology

These are just examples – the grant will cover a wide range of expenses for your project.

How much money can I receive to conduct my studies?

Typically, students are awarded up to $1,000 to carry out their research projects. You may be awarded more or less depending on the magnitude of your research project.

Can I receive academic credits for my research project?

Faculty supervisors can provide you with opportunities to conduct independent research for academic credit. You can also assist faculty members in their own research activities.

Many Penn State professors conduct their own research studies in addition to teaching. Speak with teachers of classes relating to the field you wish to study – they can offer ideas and suggestions that can help you develop a basis for your research.

For example, if you are enrolled in a business marketing course and wish to venture abroad to study marketing trends in Europe, talk to your professor, as they may be interested in helping you facilitate the study. Conversely, you may be able to assist your teacher in a study they are conducting.

However, research grants are not used to fund faculty research– only students are exclusively awarded this financial support.

What do I do after I complete my project?

When you successfully complete your project, you will be required to submit a final report to Gus Colangelo, the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs.

Your report will include:

  • The purpose of your study
  • The methods used in conducting your project
  • Results of your study
  • Overall findings of your research project

I want to publicize my research – what opportunities do I have?

If the Associate Dean approves, you can apply for participation in the Undergraduate Exhibition at Penn State. You will be awarded additional funds to cover the cost of preparing a poster for the exhibition.

This event is open to the public, where students from across the university showcase their research.

Further, all research projects funded in part or in full by the Office of Undergraduate Programs will be featured in an annual Undergraduate Research Report to the Offices of the Dean and the Provost.

Your work may also be featured on various websites and marketing materials for the Smeal College of Business and Penn State University.

How do I apply?

Access the application form here: Undergraduate Research Grant Application

Print it out, fill it in, and bring the completed document to Monica Snyder in 202 Business Building.