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Student Fellowships & Research

Surdna Foundation Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program

Application Deadline: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at noon.

Description. An undergraduate research fellowship program originally established in 1959, this fund was renamed in 1968 the Surdna Foundation Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program in recognition of gifts from the Surdna Foundation. The income from the fund established by these gifts underwrites the program's costs. Each Surdna Fellow participates in a research project under the direction of a faculty/staff member(s) who is independently interested in the area under study.

Eligibility. Students apply as juniors.  Fellowships are awarded to highly qualified students and are carried out either the summer preceding the fellow's senior year or during the fellow's senior academic year.

Application Process. Scholarly mentoring is crucial for a positive research fellowship experience. Interested students are encouraged to talk with faculty early in the process so that they can identify a faculty member who will be available and willing to mentor the student throughout the fellowship period.

Complete application forms for the Surdna Fellowship must be submitted by noon on the date indicated above to the Office of Student Fellowships and Research. Late applications will not be accepted, so please plan accordingly. For more detailed information, visit Application/Notification Timeline.

Selection Criteria. Members of the Internal Fellowships Committee review applications and base their award decisions on the following:

  • the quality of the proposed project and the candidate's narrative description,
  • the extent to which the proposed project meets the aims of the Surdna Fellowship,
  • the candidate's academic record, particular interests and competence,
  • the faculty mentor's letter of recommendation, and
  • the extent to which the faculty-student mentor relationship is described and appropriate to the project.

The financial need of a candidate does not enter into the awarding of a Surdna Fellowship.

Stipend/Research Related Expenses. The Surdna Fellowship carries a $3,200 stipend. Summer fellows agree to commit eight weeks full-time toward the completion of their proposed projects and to refrain from employment during their period of appointment. Academic year fellows agree to carry out their project on a part-time basis over two semesters (i.e., effort approximately equivalent to that of summer fellow).

If requested and approved during the application process, summer and academic year fellows may also be reimbursed for up to $500 for justified research related expenses (e.g., laboratory/art supplies, analytical costs, and travel beyond the local area to conduct field work or to visit an archive).

Should a faculty mentor feel that a fellow is not making sufficient progress toward the research goals set forth in the fellow's proposal, the College reserves the right to discontinue funding.

Housing. Summer Fellows, who are in good disciplinary standing with the College, are eligible to stay in campus housing during the summer. If you elect to live in campus housing over the summer, the College will cover the $600 cost and you will not pay rent. (Please note that for some students this benefit may be taxable.) Summer fellows who live off-campus, whether by choice or due to their standing with the Office of the Dean of Students, will not receive any support for their housing costs. Academic year fellows do not receive any support for housing.

Human/Animal Subjects. Bowdoin College is committed to the proper and humane treatment of all human and animal research subjects. If your research involves animals or human subjects, you must submit a protocol application form to Bowdoin's Research Oversight Committee (ROC). The protocol must be approved by the ROC prior to beginning your research and before you can receive your first stipend payment. You can learn more about this process by visiting the ROC's website and talking with your faculty mentor.