The Academic Deans of Trinity College take pleasure in awarding the Deans' Summer Research Fellowship in support of undergraduate research and inquiry in the arts and sciences. The goals of the Deans' Summer Fellowship Program are to strengthen undergraduate research opportunities for undergraduates, to enlarge the scope of undergraduate research conducted on and off campus during the summer, and to provide support to enable undergraduates to extend the period over which they engage in research. A maximum of $5000 will be awarded. Since expenses for research can vary according to field, project, and duration of the project, it is acceptable for students to apply to other funding sources as well as the DSRF. However, students will be expected to list all grants to which they are applying and outline expected funding. We are willing to collaborate with other offices to meet, but not exceed, a student’s budget needs. Note that fellowships are reportable income by IRS rules. See: http://finance.duke.edu/payroll/noncomp
Deans' Summer Research Fellowships can support faculty-mentored research in any discipline in the humanities, social sciences and STEM fields and is open to Duke undergraduate students enrolled for following fall semester. Preference is given to students whose research is directly related to their senior thesis projects. Those students looking for arts funding should apply to the Benenson Award in the Arts.
NOTE: Projects involving interactions with human subjects, either in-person or online, may need approval from the Duke Institutional Review Board. Initial applications for IRB approval MUST be submitted before applying for DSRF. In some cases, a faculty mentor’s IRB protocol will cover a student’s project as well. Please check with your faculty mentor about this. IRB approval can take several weeks and may require several iterations of feedback and revisions from the IRB office. Students should be mindful to stay in constant contact with their IRB specialist throughout the approval process. Note that DSRF awards are not paid to students unless IRB approval has been granted and a protocol number AND expiration date have been provided to the URS Office. Therefore, in order to make payroll deadlines for DSRF award payment on May 31st, IRB approval information must be submitted to the URS Office no later than May 1st. No Exceptions will be made to this policy. Information about the Campus Institutional Review Board and their process can be found on the Campus IRB website.
See "Application Information" tab for Eligibility Information, Timeline, and Mentor Endorsement Information, the "Application Preview" for an example application, and the "Frequently Asked Questions" tab for answers to questions.
Note that fellowships are reportable income by IRS rules. Taxes are not allowable budget line items. See: http://finance.duke.edu/payroll/noncomp
Download Lists of Past Deans' Summer Research Fellows:
Applications will be available on our website on December 15th. Applications will be due on February 20th. Notifications will be made by the week of March 15th.
In all cases, Deans' Summer Fellowship projects must be advised by a member of the Duke University faculty and conducted over a period of no less than three weeks during the summer months. Fellowship recipients are expected to be in frequent contact with their mentors over the summer. Students may not be enrolled in courses during the period they designate as their fellowship period.
With the exception of graduating seniors, all undergraduates in Trinity College are eligible to apply for a Deans' Summer Research Fellowship. Pratt students pursuing a second major in Trinity may also apply in support of on-campus projects if it is related to their second major with A&S faculty. Pratt students should consider applying for the Pratt Research Fellows Program. Mentors for Trinity students may be faculty in any Duke school or department.
Projects involving interactions with human subjects, either in-person or online, may need approval from the Duke Institutional Review Board. Initial applications for IRB approval MUST be submitted before applying for DSRF. In some cases, a faculty mentor’s IRB protocol will cover a student’s project as well. Please check with your faculty mentor about this. IRB approval can take several weeks and may require several iterations of feedback and revisions from the IRB office. Students should be mindful to stay in constant contact with their IRB specialist throughout the approval process. Note that DSRF awards are not paid to students unless IRB approval has been granted and a protocol number AND expiration date have been provided to the URS Office. Therefore, in order to make payroll deadlines for DSRF award payment on May 31st, IRB approval information must be submitted to the URS Office no later than May 1st. No Exceptions will be made to this policy. Information about the Campus Institutional Review Board and their process can be found on the Campus IRB website.
Mentor endorsements are due March 20th.
In addition to the application, you will need to provide contact information for your Duke Faculty mentor who will be asked to submit an endorsement on your behalf.
This endorsement must be submitted by a faculty mentor that will be overseeing your research project. The faculty mentor will need to answer a series of questions demonstrating a strong relationship with you and their thorough knowledge of your planned research project. Your mentor should be doing research in a similar field and be able to address the scholarly value of your research project. They should be able to attest to your preparedness and relevant experience for completing the project, their commitment to providing oversight and feedback to your project, and assistance with resources.
Can non-Duke undergraduates apply?
No, Duke’s DSRF Program is for rising Juniors and Seniors who will be enrolled at Duke in the following Fall semester.
I have never done any research – will this hurt my chances?
Not necessarily. Although DSRF favors students preparing for senior thesis work and graduation with distinction, exceptional proposals from rising juniors are considered. The most competitive applications are from students who have already been engaged in research.
If I am awarded a DSRF, may I enroll in a summer course or work another job?
Yes, but you must dedicate no less than three weeks, full time, for your DSRF project.
How many people apply for this program and how hard is it to get in?
We anticipate over 100 applications for 25 slots. This is a competitive program.
What is the timeline?
Applications are due Feb 20th. Students will be notified of their application status by the week of March 15th.
Is there a waitlist?
Yes, there will be a short, unranked waitlist.
Do you wait to accept students after receiving all applications, or is there a rolling admissions process?
Yes, the Committee reviews all completed applications after the deadline. There are no rolling admissions.
May I check whether my application materials have been received?
No. The URS Office will notify students if a statement of support has not been received. Please do not contact the office and request an update on your materials.
How important is academic performance in the selection process?
Grades are reviewed during the selection process, but are not the only criteria.
When are endorsements from faculty due?
Faculty endorsements are due a week after the application closes.
Can students apply multiple times for a Deans’ Summer Research Fellowship?
Yes. If you do not receive funding one year, you are encouraged to apply again the next year. There is no guarantee that repeat applications will be funded and it is wise to get feedback regarding improvements to your first application. Rising seniors pursuing honors theses or graduation with distinction are given priority in the application review process.
URS encourages you to identify other sources of funding you are pursuing for your project, if needed. However, this must be disclosed at the time of your application. You are encouraged to find other lines of funding such as competitive of end-of-year awards within your major/minor/certificate departments or programs, competitive awards outside of Duke, and others. If you do not know if your major/minor/certificate department or program has awards for student work, contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies or Program Coordinator for details. Some departments list competitive awards information on their website.
Can a faculty or research mentor from another university serve as my mentor for DSRF?
No. DSRFs must be mentored by Duke Faculty. In some cases, Duke Faculty may collaborate with research mentors at other institutions.
What projects have been funded in the past?
You can browse DSRF projects completed in previous years on our website.
I’m an international student, can I apply for DSRF?
Yes, international students are absolutely eligible for DSRF and encouraged to apply. But keep reading into the next question, because the tax burden for international students can be significant.
What kind of tax impact does the award have? Could it affect my financial aid?
DSRF award funds are taxable and reported to the IRS. Your tax liability will depend on your total income and many other things, but all applicants should consider it when budgeting.
For international students, the tax burden is likely to be especially large—from 10% to 40% depending on your country of origin. So, for example, you might receive a total grant of $3000 but only be able to use $2000 of it towards your project because the other must be paid for taxes. Read here for more information and support.
If you are concerned about how your funding at Duke will work in relationship this award or other summer programs/opportunities, contact your financial aid counselor for further information and advice.
Can DSRF funds be used for projects during fall or spring semesters?
Must DSRF awarded projects be completed by end of summer?
The time effort towards DSRF funded research must be completed before the beginning of the fall term.
Application Status: OPENING DEC 15th