Summer Undergraduate Research Grants

Summer URGs provide a $3,500 stipend to cover living and research expenses for eight weeks of full-time independent academic and creative work, in all fields of study, under faculty supervision.

Check out last year's 2019 SURG winners! 


Don't forget to review our Summer URG Application Checklist before you submit!


The Summer URG 2021 application deadline is Friday, March 12, 2021. 

We hope to make decision announcements in mid-to-late April.


Northwestern University undergraduates from any major are eligible, including students working in the creative arts. Seniors may not apply to conduct projects the summer following graduation. Students must be returning to undergraduate coursework for the fall term. Students can only be awarded one Summer URG during their academic career, but they can hold both a Summer and an Academic Year URG. During the 8-week grant period, students cannot also have an internship, take classes, or work (even part time).  Students must notify the Office of Undergraduate Research before they accept any additional funding during the period covered by this grant.  


If you already received a Summer URG for the Office of Undergraduate Research, you may be eligible for a second grant through the Summer URG Advanced program.



Finding Summer Plans - Grant Man, Episode 1

Undergraduate Research Grants

Documentary Film - Henry


What It Is: 

A grant to work on your own project, full-time (40 hours/week) for eight weeks. The eight weeks do not have to be consecutive.

A $3,500 lump-sum grant paid to you up front to cover your living and research expenses, and 50% of the airfare if your project involves international travel.

While your project may relate to a faculty member’s research, or develop from work within a lab, you must design and execute the project independently. You faculty member provides advisory assistance.

Applications center on a two-page, single-spaced research grant proposal (1" margins, Times New Roman 12 or Arial 11), and proposals that do not meet these formatting expectations will not be considered by the review committee.  We realize that writing a grant proposal is a new experience, and we have many resources, including one-on-one advising, to help teach you this new skill:

Proposal Writing

Advising Request

How to Apply

Research involving any kind of interaction with living people (Human Subjects) will require additional steps, so plan ahead to make sure you have enough time between hearing back from the review committee, completing the Human Subjects requirements, and the proposed start date of your project.  You will also want to consider the ethical implications of your project, so please review these Principles of Ethical Research.

Once a project is approved for funding, major changes need the approval of the faculty sponsor and the Office of Undergraduate Research. Unapproved changes may result in a breech of the terms of the grant, including repalyment of grant funds.  Check with the Office of Undergraduate Research with any questions. 

You will submit a two-page final report at the end of the grant period.


What It Isn't: 

The grant may not be used for language study, established institutional research programs, or study-abroad programs. Grants cannot be used to pay for internships or participation in volunteer activities.

This program is for new, original research only. Grants cannot be applied retroactively to cover expenses for research already completed.

You may not work at a job or take classes while you do your project.

You receive a single lump-sum living stipend so do not submit an itemized budget with your application and do not need to turn in receipts at the end of the summer.


Eight weeks of full time (40 hours/week) research anytime during the summer. Weeks do not necessarily have to be consecutive.

Students receive notification of award approximately four weeks after the deadline.


Conduct your research project wherever you like: on campus or almost anywhere around the country or the world!

When you apply, you can request extra money (half your airfare) for international projects.

Read up on international projects for important travel restriction information.


Faculty Role: 

Faculty members can help you explore your research interests and develop a good project. You will identify a faculty sponsor/advisor, and this person will help you develop your application materials and oversee your project if you are awarded the grant. Graduate students and post docs are not eligible to be Summer URG sponsors. See Working with Faculty.


Your faculty sponsor/advisor must submit an online endorsement of your research grant proposal within 72 hours after the application deadline. Unendorsed projects will not be considered. Make sure you have given your faculty sponsor enough warning of the deadline, that you have discussed your project with them ahead of time, and that they have a copy of your final proposal draft. Do not leave it to the day before to ask someone to give you an endorsement!

Approval of Final Report

If your application is succesful and your project is funded, your faculty sponsor/advisor is required to approve the two-page final report which you will submit after your project is done.

See also: Info for Faculty.



Selection Process: 

Your research grant proposal will be evaluated by a faculty review committee. The committee looks for quality projects, and they can award as many grants as they want. We call this a merit-based, non-competitive process.

Students typically receive notification of award approximately four weeks after the deadline.

Group Projects: 

Group projects are allowed. Explain why this project needs to be done with multiple people. Group members collaborate to create a single grant proposal that clearly articulates the different roles, responsibilities, and qualifications of each member.  We recommend that all groups work with an Office of Undergraduate Research advisor.