Research FAQs


Who can apply for an undergraduate research award?

The Office of Undergraduate Research, Scholarly & Creative Activity (URSCA) hosts several research awards. Except for the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, all of them are open to currently enrolled freshmen, sophomores, and juniors whose major is part of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. The Woodrow Wilson fellowship is open to current first-year KSAS students (rising sophomores).

Can I apply as a team with another qualified Krieger undergraduate?

Yes, we welcome team applications. Note that funding limits are per project, not per applicant.

How long do I have to use my award?

Funds for the Woodrow Wilson award must be spent before you graduate. Funding for all other awards must be spent by the end of spring semester the year after it is awarded.

Can I do a project over intersession?

Yes; you can perform research or attend a conference over intersession.

Do I have to stay in Baltimore?

No. Depending on your project, you may well have to leave the region or the country to perform your research. But from wherever you operate, your project will still need to be overseen by your Hopkins faculty mentor.

If I won in past can I apply again?

Yes, you are welcome to apply more than once.

My project has been funded by an award from the Provost’s office (such as STAR or PURA). Can I also apply here?

You can apply for a related project, but you cannot apply for exactly the same project that is already funded by an award from the Provost’s office.

I am in a joint BA/Master’s program (such as SAIS). Do I qualify to apply?

Freshmen, sophomores, and juniors able to apply. If you’re past your junior coursework, you are no longer eligible to apply.

Do I have to be a student in Krieger to apply?

Yes, your major must be housed by the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences (as opposed to the Whiting School of Engineering).

If I am a double major in Krieger and Whiting, can I apply?


Can I receive course credit for my project?

This can be a complex question and should be discussed directly with the Director of Undergraduate Research.

Can my letter of recommendation come from someone outside of Hopkins?

Yes, sometimes freshman students do not yet have a relationship with a faculty member at Hopkins and may need a letter from elsewhere. Or, sometimes students have worked at an outside lab and would like a letter from someone there. This is not an issue, but letters from Hopkins faculty are preferred because they are often from a mentor and can speak to the student’s specific fit to do the work in affiliation with JHU.


Who can be a mentor?

Your mentor should be a Johns Hopkins professor who will be available throughout the term of your award and who will be able to guide and direct your research project.

Do I need a mentor already chosen when I apply?

No. You can apply without a mentor selected, and the director of undergraduate research will work with you to find one. However, if your project would require, for example, lab resources, you should be able to explain how you intend to access those resources.

Does my mentor have to be at Homewood?

No, your mentor must be a Johns Hopkins faculty member, but that includes the Whiting School of Engineering, the hospital/medical school, Peabody, or any other Hopkins entity.

Does my mentor have to be a professor?

Generally, yes, your mentor should be a Hopkins professor. If you have a situation that might require an exception, please email the director of undergraduate research to discuss your situation.

Can a non-Hopkins faculty member mentor me?

No, your mentor must be officially affiliated with Hopkins.

Can I do research at a campus, lab, or institute not affiliated with Hopkins?

Yes, but Hopkins faculty has to oversee project.

Can I change my mentor partway through project?

If your current mentor relationship isn’t working well or something unexpected comes up that makes it untenable, you should discuss the situation with the director of undergraduate research.


What kind of creative projects do you fund?

Research awards can be applied to anything from art installations to film productions to writing retreats.

How do I write the project budget?

See our resources sidebar of this page where we have a budget template and a guide to proposal writing.

Is there any help for proposal writing?

Yes, there is a series of workshops in the fall and webinars over winter break. Contact URSCA to find out when the next workshop is.

Can I get feedback on my proposal before the deadline?

You may request feedback via email or an in-person appointment. Be advised that the closer we get to the application deadline, the fewer appointments will be available.

Who will be reviewing the applications?

There are multiple tiers of review. Reviewers may include members of our faculty, staff, and student advisory board; our director of undergraduate research; and student peers who have successfully engaged in research projects.

Does my recommender need to submit their letter of recommendation by the application deadline?

Yes, but if an emergency comes up, you can contact the director of undergraduate research for an extension.

What is IRB?

The Homewood Institutional Review Board is responsible for reviewing all funded research on Homewood campus to determine whether it involves research with human subjects.


What can I use my grant for?

Grants can be used for any variety of creative or traditional research projects—from making a film or attending a writing retreat to funding a summer of bench work in a lab. If your grant has already been awarded, you may only use funds for budgeted items approved by your mentor and the URSCA director.

How are funds distributed?

You will receive a debit card that can be loaded with funds as they are needed. If you are working with a Hopkins-affiliated lab and your budget calls for lab materials, the director can provide account numbers to your lab so they can charge the award directly.

Can I use my award entirely for lab costs?

No, only 1/3 of your total award amount can be put towards lab costs, such as reagents and lab supplies.

Can I use funds to go to a conference?

You can use your funds to attend conferences where you will be presenting.

Can I use funds over summer?

Yes, your funds are made available before the end of the spring semester they are awarded and (with the exception of the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship) must be spent by the end of the following year’s spring semester.

What happens if there is an unused portion of my award?

Any unspent award money is retained by KSAS and applied to future years’ awards.

What if I need to change my budget?

If for any reason you need to make significant changes to your budget, email the director of undergraduate research as soon as you can to discuss the matter. You will need support from both her and your mentor to alter your budget. Budget changes are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.