Mensink Research Grant

The Mark Mensink Honors Research Grant is the L&S Honors Program’s most prestigious grant, awarded in recognition of an exceptional thesis proposal. The purpose of the grant, which results in funds equal to two semesters of resident, full-time tuition (excluding fees), is to enable its recipient and his or her advisor to undertake more demanding and extensive honors senior thesis research than might otherwise be possible due to limited resources or time. This award was established by the Mensink family to honor the memory of their late son Mark, whose exceptional academic record and service to the university community stand as a model for other aspiring, high-achieving students.

Recipients of the Mensink Grant are asked to submit a copy of their completed thesis to the L&S Honors Program, where it will be bound and placed in the Washburn Observatory library.

Who is eligible to apply?

Students do not apply directly for the Mensink Award but instead, apply for the Summer Senior Honors Thesis Grant. All applicants for the Summer Senior Honors Thesis Grant are considered as candidates for the Mensink Grant. The Mensink Grant can be awarded in recognition of an outstanding Summer Grant application. Students are eligible for the Mark Mensink Grant if they meet the following criteria:

  • Currently enrolled L&S Honors Student (HLA, HM, or Comprehensive Honors) who plans to graduate with the Honors in the Liberal Arts, Honors in the Major, or Comprehensive Honors degree in December, May or August of the subsequent academic year.
  • Cumulative GPA is at least 3.3.
  • Enrolled in a minimum of three (3) credits of Senior Honor Thesis Directed Study (usually 681 or 682) in your major department

Please note that students may not receive a Mensink grant for research if their thesis has been or will be supported by another university undergraduate research grant that covers the same time period (e.g., an academic year Hilldale Undergraduate Fellowship, the Hughes Grant).

How are recipients chosen?

The Mark Mensink Grant recipient is selected by members of the L&S Faculty Honors Committee. They evaluate applications based on the following:

  • Strength of academic record
  • Progress towards completing your Honors degree(s)
  • Outstanding strength, rigor and clarity of your proposal and of the Honors Senior Thesis research project to be funded

What is the application process?

The Summer Senior Honors Thesis grant application (which students use to apply to the Mensink award) will become available in early December 2023 at The scholarship system should match students to the scholarship, but every year some eligible students do not match correctly. Contact L&S Honors ( to be manually added to the scholarship application.

The following materials must be submitted online through

  • One (1) letter of recommendation from the Honors Senior Thesis advisor. Applicants will be prompted in the application to fill out their advisor’s contact information, and a link will automatically be sent to him/her to complete the recommendation through the system. The deadline for the letter of recommendation is the same as for the student, so applicants should notify their advisor as soon as possible that they will be requesting a letter of recommendation.
  • Your research proposal
  • UW-Madison student transcript (upload through

When is the application due?

The Summer Senior Honors Thesis grant deadline is Wednesday, February 14, 2024 by 11:59 p.m.

Award status notifications will be e-mailed to applicants by the end of April.

If you have additional questions about the Mark Mensink Award, please contact the Honors Program office at