Advanced Study Grants
university fellowships committee
The Boston College Advanced Study Grants were established to encourage, support, and give visible recognition to undergraduates who have that special spark of scholarly initiative and imagination. Students with these qualities should also be thinking of themselves as prospective candidates for national fellowships, such as the Rhodes, Marshall, Fulbright, Goldwater, or Truman. An Advanced Study Grant for a summer project can be an important step along the way.
Advanced Study Grants are for student-designed projects. They are not awarded for projects in which a student proposes to work with a faculty member on the faculty member's research. For such faculty-designed projects, Boston College has Undergraduate Research Fellowships.
Advanced Study Grants are available for the following purposes:
Advanced Study Grants for Freshmen and Sophomores: These are awarded for summer research or "skill acquisition" projects that promise to accelerate dramatically the applicant's progress in the major field of study. The intent of this program is to encourage undergraduates to acquire skills that will make more sophisticated research and study possible during their Junior and Senior years. "Skill acquisition" is broadly defined. It might mean, for example, improving language competence, mastering information technology applications, or improving proficiency in lab techniques—or it might mean becoming knowledgeable about methodologies within, or across, academic disciplines.
Advanced Study Grants in the Arts: These are to encourage and support Freshmen, Sophomores, and Juniors who show initiative and imagination in the performing, literary, and visual arts. These grants are awarded for summer "skill acquisition" projects that promise to accelerate significantly the applicant's progress in the major field of study. Grants could be awarded, for example, to allow study in a medium not available at Boston College, such as printmaking or sound art. Other possible projects might be for a photographic survey of pilgrimage sites in Spain, a documentary on a volunteer project in Latin America, or a script-writing or creative writing project.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Advanced Study Grants: These grants are funded by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee at Boston College, and they are offered to Freshmen, Sophomores, and Juniors for summer projects that embody the philosophy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and advance non-violent initiatives in civil rights, equal rights, and economic and social justice. For example, grants could support acquisition of skills in working with disenfranchised individuals or groups within the United States, visiting specialized libraries or archives, or advancing language skills to enhance a service or research trip to under-served areas within the United States or abroad. Proposals, particularly those for projects in another country, should clearly note the relevance of the project to the works and goals pursued by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Institute on Aging Advanced Study Grants: These grants are funded by the Boston College Institute on Aging, and they are offered to Freshmen, Sophomores, and Juniors for summer projects that explore the spiritual, physical, social, financial, and emotional dimensions of well-being of older adults and their families. For example, grants could support acquisition of skills in working with older adults, or research into policies and practices — including policies and practices in other countries — that might enhance the quality of life, quality of care, and vitality among America’s aging population and their families.
ACC-IAC Grants for Thesis Research: These grants are for Juniors only, and are supported by special funding through the ACC-IAC Creativity and Innovation Program of the Atlantic Coast Conference. They are awarded for skill acquisition or preliminary research conducted during the summer before Senior year, to make possible more creative and ambitious Senior projects. These grants might be used, for example, to visit and exploit archives and special collections, to acquire advanced skills in data collection or analysis, to conduct interviews, or to improve language fluency — anything that promises to enhance dramatically what the applicant will be able to achieve in a Senior Thesis or Scholar of the College project. The grant activity must be carried out during the summer prior to Senior year, not during Senior year.
Advanced Study Grants have funded a wide array of summer projects during the past few years, but these grants have certain features in common. In every case, the project built upon the student's past academic accomplishments and laid the foundation for things that the student had in mind for the future, such as study abroad or a potential senior project. In many cases, successful proposals had more than one dimension. For instance, a proposal that combined intensive foreign-language study with a research project, or with an internship, or with community service in that language was more likely to succeed than one that proposed only foreign-language study. Winning proposals also showed sparks of originality and prudent ambition.
In sum, what succeeds are imaginative, unusual, and yet feasible proposals. Students are encouraged to discuss potential project ideas with a faculty mentor. Copies of the winning proposals for Advanced Study Grants in past years are available for review at the University Fellowships Committee office. Students applying for an Advanced Study Grant may find it helpful to read several of these prior winning proposals. See the links above—Recipients—for descriptions of project proposals that received funding in past years.
The University Fellowships Committee makes every effort to provide partial or full funding to as many worthwhile projects as it can. In previous years, grants have typically been in the range of $500 to $2,000, and roughly one out of every four nominated applicants has been awarded a grant.