Undergraduate Summer Research Grants

Each spring the Center for the Study of World Religions awards an award to a Harvard undergraduate for summer senior thesis-related research. Eligible to apply are undergraduate religion concentrators in their junior year, whose proposed senior thesis has as its key focus an interreligious, cross-cultural, or comparative theme. The research may be ethnographic or archival, and a portion of the award may be used for the purchase of books. The grant may not be used for coursework or language study.

Eligibility and Application Requirements

Applications are due by April 1 each spring for summer fellowships, in the form of an email attachment, a Word document that includes:

  • a one-page CV;
  • indications of other funding sources being approached in support of the project;
  • a prospectus of about three double-spaced pages outlining the project and its overall goals;
  • an additional page detailing the financial aspect of the project, the expected expenses that warrant being awarded this fellowship.
  • A letter of recommendation from a faculty member familiar with the applicant's proposal is also required.

The maximum grant is $2,500. The announcement of the award recipient will be made at the end of April. For further information, contact Corey O'Brien.

Recent Recipients

2019: Gabriel Fox-Peck traveled to Chicago to conduct archival research for his project entitled "The Saturday Night to Sunday Morning Exchange: Studying and Recontextualizing the Relationship of Blues and Gospel in Chicago in the Early 20th Century."

2018: Sarah Coady traveled to Rome, Italy, to conduct archival research for her project entitled "Virginity Studies in Judaism and Christianity".  Nicholas Colon traveled to France and Spain to conduct ethnographic research on secularization and spirituality on the Camino de Santiago.

2017: Jasmine Chia traveled to Thailand to conduct ethnographic research in the Wat Phra Dhammakaya temple. The title of her research was, “The Discourse of ‘Pure’ Religion and Political Order.”

2016: Aaisha Nisha Sikander Shah is a fourth-year Harvard College undergraduate where she studies History and Economics. She is doing her undergraduate research project on the "Blasphemy Laws, sections 295 and 298 in the Pakistan Penal Code."

2015: Nick Stager is a third-year Harvard College undergraduate who is seeking a bachelor of arts in the comparative study of religion. The title of his project is "The ‘Tulpa’ Phenomenon."

2013: Rachel Horn traveled to Brussels to conduct ethnographic research among this city's Muslim population as part of her project "The Experience of Nineteenth-Century Catholics in Boston Compared with Contemporary Muslim Experience in Western Europe."

2012: Marjorie Gullick studied the relationship between religion and maternal health in Kisumu, Kenya. Sara Lytle traveled to Penang, Malaysia, and San Francisco to study how Buddhist models of spiritual care are used in end-of-life care and hospice programs.

2011: Analiese Palmer did research on comparative monasticism during the summer in Ireland and India.