The following policies may impact your decision or ability to apply for research programs, research funding, or fellowships.
The Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (URAF) administers research programs, research and fellowship funding, and external fellowship competitions for students and recent alumni of Harvard College. Graduate students should consult the GSAS Fellowships Office for funding information.
Students must be in good standing—academic and disciplinary—at the time of application, throughout the application review period, and for the remainder of time leading up to the start of the research or fellowship term. Applicants are required to notify the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships of any changes in standing.
Ethical Conduct in the Application Process
Students applying for research programs and fellowships should consider these fundamental ethical principles during the application development process, in accordance with the Harvard College Honor Code:
- All of the components of your application must be your own work. Although you certainly will want to get insight and feedback from professors, house tutors, and your peers, please be cautious perusing the work of others when considering ideas, format, and composition for your own application.
- Your application must be an honest representation of yourself. As you consider relevant information to include in your dossier that will inform a selection committee about you, the candidate, please be mindful of accuracy in descriptions in your resume/c.v. or personal statements that indicate your role in organizations, publications, and other scholarly or personal attainments. Please note: Applicants for all fellowships administered by URAF are subject to the College Policy Regarding Undergraduate Student Organizations. Please see the section on fellowships in the policy for details on eligibility to apply.
- Your application materials should be as current as possible at the time of submission. Please make sure to provide the most up-to-date documents and other supplementary materials when you submit your application. In many cases, national fellowships will not consider new or revised information submitted after the deadline date.
- Information provided by URAF and House Fellowships Advisers is not intended for distribution. To prepare your application, you are availed of materials put together by URAF and HFAs to help you be a competitive applicant. These materials (such as mid-term reports, final reports, and feedback on fellowship competitions available at the OCS library) should not be reproduced or shared.
Human Subjects Research in Fellowship Projects
Any living person from or about whom information is collected for a scholarly study is considered a "research subject." The term is not limited to subjects involved in clinical or laboratory studies—it also extends to social science and humanities work, especially in the application of survey research methodology. University regulations and federal rules require advance review and approval of most human subjects research. In many cases, undergraduate students may get a waiver if the work contributes to the data collection effort of the faculty sponsor. However, whether or not the project is independent or part of a larger research endeavor, students and facutly should ascertain whether the project requires review. The FAS Committee on the Use of Human Subjects is responsible for the review and approval of proposed studies. More information about the Committee may be found in the Intelligent Scholar's Guide to the Use of Human Subjects in Research, on the FAS Research Administration Services web site.
Application deadlines are strictly enforced. Deadlines are published in the calendar each year and on every application form. As a policy, the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships will not accept late applications. Exceptions must be appealed in advance, and with a written explanation from the applicant’s resident dean.
Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation submitted for a particular competition are not transferable to other competitions. The office will not release copies of recommendations to an applicant’s House file without the express consent of the recommender. In compliance with FERPA, the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships allows students to choose whether or not to waive their rights of access to letters of recommendation submitted on their behalf.
Applying from Abroad
Harvard undergraduates are encouraged to study and conduct research abroad. When applying for fellowships from abroad, it is the student’s responsibility to ensure that all required application materials are submitted to the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships by the stated deadline. If an applicant is invited to interview, a Skype session can be arranged with the selection committee during the specified interview timeframe.
Class Status and Off-Cycle Applications
Students with advanced standing and students who are otherwise off-cycle should contact the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships before applying to discuss fellowship eligibility. In some cases, a letter from the Resident Dean will be required to confirm class status and graduation date. Please see the FAQs for more information on off-cycle applications.
Leaves of Absence
In accordance with the Student Handbook, students who are on leave and wish to apply for funding may do so only with prior approval from their resident dean and the Administrative Board. Board approval is required at the time of application and throughout the tenure of the opportunity.
All application materials submitted to the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships will be held on file for three calendar years after the submission date. File materials for fellowship recipients will be held in perpetuity through the Harvard University Archives. File materials for unsuccessful applicants will be destroyed after three years.
In all competitions the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships administers, individuals who receive multiple awards are expected to notify the office (and any other sponsoring organizations) of this fact to avoid possible conflicts in expectations or obligations.
Access to Records
All applications for Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships competitions are submitted in confidence. The office will not release applicant names to any source outside URAF. Names of fellowship recipients, however, are considered public knowledge.
Graduate School Applications
Some fellowships require independent application for admission to graduate university programs. Students must obtain the admission applications directly from and apply independently to the intended institution. The Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships does not keep copies of university applications on file.
The Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships accepts only those materials required from applicants in each of its competitions. Unsolicited materials will not be accepted.