FAQ

Do I have to start my research first semester freshman year?
No. Your focus first semester freshman year should be concentrated on getting used to being in college and at JHU in particular. Use the semester (and even the year) to think about your planned research and what professor you would like to work with as your mentor.

When is the best time to do my research?
It depends on your field of research. For instance, if you are doing scientific research in a lab, you will need to maintain a presence in that lab throughout the school year. However, the bulk of your work in the fellowship should be planned for intersession and the summer, i.e., when you are not in class and can concentrate on your research without worrying about your grades.

Who may I ask to be my mentor? Does he/she have to be
an A&S/ Homewood/Hopkins professor?

Your mentor must be a full-time Hopkins faculty member. The nature of the fellowship requires that your major remain in the School of Arts and Sciences; however, your research may be with a faculty member of the schools of Engineering, Medicine, Peabody, or even SAIS. You may have a mentor at any one of those schools. The Office of the Dean strongly recommends that your official mentor be someone on the Homewood campus. Administratively, it will make things much easier for you, especially if you need quick access to your funds. Having to go to SAIS in Washington, D.C., for approval of a purchase can really slow down your research. However, this should not keep you from forming close intellectual ties with academics and researchers all over Hopkins, Baltimore, the U.S., and the world. If you do find someone who is an expert in your specific area of research, you should feel free to work closely with that person as you pursue your fellowship. Just be sure you do so with the knowledge and approval of your official mentor and the fellowship administrator.

How do I find a mentor?
The Office of Academic Advising has created a very useful site to address this question: http://www.advising.jhu.edu/research.php.

What expectations/requirements does Hopkins have of me as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow?
To stay in the program, and be a successful participant, you are expected to:

If for any reason you have to leave the University (take a leave of absence or transfer, for instance), you must meet with the fellowship adminstrator to discuss your situation.

Do I have to write a paper or publish my research?
A written document will be expected from you as part of your preparation for the public presentation of your research. This “paper” will be kept on file in the Office of the Dean for reference and possible use by future Woodrow Wilson Fellows. You are not expected to publish.

May I publish? How?
The Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Program will not prohibit or encourage anyone to publish. That is an issue between each fellow and his or her mentor. Some, especially those in the natural sciences, may be encouraged by their mentors to publish. Others may find it almost impossible. This is an academic issue that varies greatly according to your area of research. The decision rests within your field, and your mentor knows best if you should or should not publish. The Office of the Dean will support your mentor’s decision.

Do I get credit for my research?
Not automatically, and not through the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Program. It is, however, possible to get credit for your research by doing an independent study with your mentor for one semester. You will need to ask your mentor if he or she is willing to do an independent study with you. Be aware that an independent study may require you to pursue a direction in your research in which you might not be as interested as another direction. Because your mentor will be giving you credit for your work, you will have to adhere strictly to his or her advice. This may work well for you and your research topic, or it may not. Be sure to consider all possibilities before you pursue an independent study.

There is also the possibility that your research, if it is in your major, could be the basis for an honors thesis. Again, you will need to check with your mentor and your department for confirmation.

Must my research be in my major?
Not necessarily; it is up to you. You may prefer concentrating your Woodrow Wilson research in the same discipline as your major. Or you may pursue research in a completely different area from major. This decision is yours. The fellowship is there to allow you to pursue your research interests, whatever they are.

Must I work on one project the whole time I am in the program?
Again, not necessarily; it is up to you. You may prefer concentrating on one topic the whole time you are in the program. Some research lends itself best to a long-term effort. Or you may pursue multiple research topics, one after the other, over the years of your fellowship. Again, this decision is yours. The fellowship is there to allow you to pursue your research interests, however many they are.

If I need five years to complete my Bachelor’s degree, may I continue in the Woodrow Wilson Program throughout all five years?
Yes, as long as you are an Arts and Sciences undergraduate in good academic standing, and you have not spent your Fellowship by the end of the fourth year.

If I am in a BA/MA degree program, may I keep my Fellowship?
You are considered a Woodrow Wilson Fellow only as long as you are an undergraduate. Once you become a full-time graduate student, you will no longer be considered a Woodrow Wilson Undergraduate Research Fellow, and therefore any funds unspent will be returned to the program for a future fellow’s funding. Typically, in most BA/MA programs, the first year you enter the program is your fourth year as an undergraduate. You would still be an active member of the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Program. However, when you enter year five, you will become a full-time graduate student and, therefore, your Fellowship would cease.

Do I have to spend $2,500 each year?
No. That is just an easy sum to use as you prepare your research budgets. Each fellow needs funding at a pace unique to his/her own research. You may need little to no funds when you begin your research, only to need a great deal later. Or you may need more at the beginning (for equipment, for example) and very little after that. It is up to you and your mentor, with final review by the fellowship administrator. You may only begin to access your funds once you have an official mentor.

Since the equipment and material that I purchase with Woodrow Wilson funding belongs to Hopkins, not to me, may I buy it back when I graduate?
Yes, and at a depreciated cost, as long as you keep the Dean’s Office up to date on your purchases.

What about books?
Feel free to use any books you purchase with your funds as you would any that you purchase with your own money (i.e., you may write or underline in them). However, you will also need to keep the Office of the Dean informed of your purchases, especially if you purchase expensive or many books.

I am applying as an incoming freshman. How will I be informed about my acceptance into the program?
Notifications are only sent to fellowship recipients. If you are awarded as a fellow, you will receive an e-mail by the end of April. While the majority of Wilson Research Fellows are accepted to the program as incoming freshmen, current first-year students are welcome to apply for sophomore fellowship standing in the spring of their freshmen year. Students not accepted into the program as freshmen may re-apply during their first year at Hopkins.