Riley Research Awards

The Riley Research Awards, established by a gift from Matilda and John Riley, promote the education of students in sociology through engagement their own independent research.
Student in Sociology

  Research Opportunities in Sociology

(new guidelines for summer 2020)

The Department of Sociology is accepting applications for funding for summer 2020 student research projects through our Riley Research Awards Funding. This fund, supported through a gift from Matilda and John Riley, promotes independent student research in sociology. We have available funding for a small number of strong projects for sociology majors or minors who have an interest in doing research over the summer, and can develop a strong proposal that outlines their research plan with a clear goal.

Please note: Students who have received College funding for research or community service summer work are not eligible. Graduating seniors are not eligible.

This year, projects should be four weeks of full time work and need to be able to be accomplished online. They must be supervised by a faculty member in the Sociology Department. We strongly suggest that any student interested in pursuing research this summer first discuss ideas, timelines and plans with a faculty member in Sociology.

Please be aware that any research involving human subjects must be approved by the College’s IRB. The committee does not regularly review over the summer and has instituted new regulations during this global pandemic. Sociology faculty can provide advice on these issues.


Funding: Successful applicants will be awarded 4 weeks of funding, at $480.00 per week; funding will be distributed in one payment.

Recipients of these grants will be expected to present their work at the Department forum on student research in fall 2020 and at the President’s Summer Research Symposium. More details on these events at a later date.


Application materials should consist of the following documents:

  1. A narrative proposal of no more than 600 words (approximately 2 double-spaced word processed pages) in length. The narrative should describe:
  • the proposed research;
  • the goals of the work;
  • the methods that will be used, the sources of information that will be analyzed, or any other significant resources that will be consulted;
  • the timeline for completion of the project’
  • the applicant’s background that will serve as preparation for the work;
  • the significance of the project to the student’s academic program and plans.
  1. A statement identifying other funding sources to which the student has applied, and other funding sources that have been awarded for the project. If you expect to request or receive funding from more than one source, make sure to detail what expenses will be covered by the Riley Research Award in distinction to other sources.
  2. A current Bowdoin transcript (print-out from Polaris is acceptable).
  3. A letter of recommendation from the faculty member who has agreed to supervise or sponsor the project. The recommendation should address the feasibility of the project, the applicant’s preparation, and the importance of the project to the student’s academic career. Faculty should email their letter directly to the Sociology Department Coordinator.


To submit:

Put documents 1, 2, and 3 above into one document and send to Lori Brackett, Dept of Sociology Academic Coordinator, at

Applications must be received by 1 June 2020 at noon, Bowdoin time.

Decisions will be made soon after the deadline; funded projects may commence at any time after the decision.

Questions may be directed to Professor Nancy Riley, Department Chair, at

Awards are made on the basis of the quality and feasibility of the project as described in the narrative section of the proposal, the project’s relevance to the applicant’s course of study and academic goals, the applicant’s preparation to carry out the project, the applicant’s academic record, and the faculty mentor’s recommendation.

  • Only Sociology majors and minors can apply for the award. 
  • Graduating seniors are not eligible to apply for Riley awards.
  • The awarded funds may not be used to cover tuition for summer school or language courses.