Honors Summer Research Apprenticeships

Description: Funded by grants from the Brittingham Wisconsin Trust and the Kemper K. Knapp Bequest, the Apprenticeship allows Honors students the opportunity to learn what research is and how it is conducted within a discipline by participating in actual, cutting-edge research, under the mentorship of a faculty member. 

  • Students may also consider the campus-wide Sophomore Research Fellowship as an alternative opportunity for more student-led research projects done in collaboration with UW-Madison faculty or research/instructional academic staff. Students seeking funding 
  • If interested in both the Honors Apprenticeship and Sophomore Fellowship, you must apply to each opportunity through the WiSH portal, and we encourage students to consider selecting the academic year for the funding term for the Sophomore Fellowship. The L&S Honors Program will communicate with the Undergraduate Academic Awards office to determine awardees when students apply to both the Honors Apprenticeship and Sophomore Fellowship for summer funding.

Purpose: This Honors Summer Apprenticeship grant provides a significant opportunity to develop research skills and explore the research process. It can also lay the groundwork for possible future junior and senior year research projects, should a student want to continue with research. 

Award: Students receive a $ 3,000 stipend for what would otherwise be an unpaid research experience. 

Eligibility 

  • A second-year student in the L&S Honors Program, or 
  • A first-year student in the L&S Honors Program who will have more than 24 credits after May of the current academic year 

Requirements 

  • Total hours: the equivalent of approximately 20 hours per week, for 8-10 weeks of the summer. You and your faculty advisor are free to arrange any mutually convenient schedule for the work, provided that all work is completed before the fall academic term commences. 
  • One-day retreat: In mid-late July, all grant recipients attend a one-day retreat, where they will present their research to fellow apprentices and UW faculty. (In most cases the research will not be completed by the date of the retreat, so the retreat presentations can be on the progress of the research to that point.)

Finding a Faculty Mentor: 

  • We recommend students schedule an appointment with Interim Associate Director Pete Keys
  • Review the information on the research involvement webpage.
  • Think broadly about the many different departments and schools at UW-Madison, then check out faculty pages in these areas to read more about the research they are conducting 
  • Schedule a meeting or visit a professor during office hours; even if a professor cannot be your mentor, they may be able to direct you to a colleague with similar interests

Application information:

The application for Summer 2025 apprentices will be available within the Wisconsin Scholarship Hub (WiSH) in mid-December 2024. Your application will require the following components:

  • Project Proposal of no more than four double-spaced pages with at least 1 inch margins, and no smaller than 11pt font. References are not included in this page total. Each of the components listed below should be clearly outlined in the proposal. Students should collaborate with their mentor(s) to create and submit one PDF that contains the following:
    • Project title
    • Project Objective/Abstract
      • This section should describe the overall research project within which the Sophomore Apprenticeship will take place. This section can be drafted by the faculty member, but the student should be familiar with its details.
    • Proposed duties of the student apprentice
      • This section should describe in as much detail as possible the role the apprentice will play in the research, their specific duties or tasks, the skills they will obtain/develop to enable them to assist with the research, and a general outline of the apprentice’s planned experience over the course of the summer program. This section should be drafted jointly by the faculty member and the student.
    • Proposed meeting schedule/plan
      • The apprentice and faculty advisor should anticipate meeting regularly to discuss the experience and future directions of the work being done. By communicating a plan for these meetings in advance, it is our hope that these meetings can be more easily facilitated. 
    • Personal statement (no more than 300 words)
      • Student applicants should write a personal statement identifying what they hope to gain from an apprenticeship experience. Students may also consider the inclusion of a brief statement about their financial circumstances and the benefit/opportunity the award may provide. While the apprenticeship is not awarded based on need, this information can help us find additional funds to support more students.
  • An unofficial UW-Madison transcript (For instructions on how to access your unofficial transcript, go to request unofficial transcript).
  • A recommendation letter* from the project advisor. This is done through the application within WiSH. Students should enter their mentor’s name and email address as soon as they begin drafting an application. This action will notify the mentor that a letter of recommendation is required. The letter and application must both be submitted by the deadline for full consideration.

*Note: The letter of recommendation is an opportunity for the mentor to share more about your anticipated role throughout the summer. In many cases, you may not have worked with your mentor. Therefore, there is no expectation that they complete a traditional recommendation letter and it will not be evaluated as such. If students are also applying to the Sophomore Research Fellowship, we encourage students to elect to use their Fellowship letter of recommendation for the Apprenticeship.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Academic record (including GPA)
  • Progress towards completing your Honors degree(s)
  • Quality of the proposal
  • Strength of personal statement

Restriction: If you are awarded and accept a Summer Research Apprenticeship you may not accept funding from other sources for the same research project during the same time period. (For example, if you plan to apply for the Sophomore Research Fellowship (SRF), you may want to apply for the SRF for the fall and/or spring term.)

Deadline: The deadline typically falls mid-to-late February

Application Instructions:

  • Once you have found a mentor, match to the scholarship in the Wisconsin Scholarship Hub (WiSH). Both you and your faculty mentor must fill out portions of the application and discuss what role you will play in their research. Enter your mentor’s information into WiSH as soon as possible, so they have plenty of time to work on their portion of the application. All parts of the application are due by the deadline.
  • Submit your application through wisc.academicworks.com
  • Applicants can plan to hear whether they have been awarded a grant by the end of March.
  • If you have additional questions about the grant, please contact the L&S Honors Program at honors@honors.ls.wisc.edu.