Summer Research Grants

summer research grants

2024 Summer Research Grants

Note : Application deadline extended to April 8, 2024


The Center aims to nurture a new generation of human rights scholars and practitioners, and to foster innovative and interdisciplinary scholarship about human rights work. The purpose of the grants is to help support Boston College students from various disciplines who are interested in pursuing research in the field of human rights and international justice.  Grants are available to both graduate and undergraduate students at Boston College.

Eligibility Requirements

For the undergraduate research grants, preference will be given to proposals from current sophomores and juniors at BC, although proposals from freshmen will also be accepted and given full review.  Seniors are not eligible. Grants for graduate students are intended for students who will be in their program at BC during the following academic year. Applicants must have a minimum 3.2 GPA and a demonstrated commitment to the study of human rights and international justice.

Please note that if an applicant is applying for a grant to do research in conjunction with a study abroad academic program, the proposed research must be separate from the academic work already being done as part of that program.


As in the past, the Center supports proposals for research from a diverse set of methodologies including participatory and action research, that approaches the topic of interest with a human rights focus and analysis. This year we are prioritizing work that focuses on:

Human rights and migration. Broadly defined, we welcome proposals from a variety of disciplines looking at an issue incorporating legal, psychological, theological, or other frameworks.

Transitional justice. This area can be explored in any of the four domains of transitional justice (TJ) including but not limited to: TJ in post-conflict situations, reparations in the wake of human rights violations vis-a-vis historical violations (e.g., enslavement, extractive industries, etc.), community-based creative processes contributing to healing and/or memory processes.

The Center will also consider funding proposals addressing issues of human rights and international justice that do not squarely fit into the above areas.

Kelsey A. Rennebohm Memorial Fellowship

In 2013, the Center established the Kelsey A. Rennebohm Memorial Fellowship.  More information about Kelsey, past recipients, or for how to contribute to the Fellowship fund can be accessed here.

This fellowship will be awarded each year to a student, undergraduate or graduate, whose proposed research or activist scholarship is located at the interface of psychology, mental health, gender, social justice, and human rights.

To be considered for the Rennebohm Fellowship, please indicate where asked on the application form.


Expected award amounts

The Center is offering flat award amounts to accepted proposals.  Award levels are expected to be as follows in 2024: 

International travel not involved: $1,000 for students in any BC graduate program and $500 for BC undergraduate students.

International travel involved: $1,500 for students in any BC graduate program and $750 for BC undergraduate students.

Grantee Obligations

Recipients of summer research grants commit to deliver the following as part of the terms of the grant:

  • a 5-10 page report detailing their findings due in early September of the following fall semester
  • present the results of their summer research project at a campus event during the spring semester of the subsequent academic year (typically mid-March for undergrads, mid-May for grad students)

Please note that the Center will share award recipients' names and award amounts with the BC financial aid office, as per federal regulations and BC policies. If you have any question as to whether receipt of such funds might affect your financial aid in any way, please consult with your financial aid officer when considering applying.

Travel related to research will be subject to BC's travel policies regarding COVID conditions at the time of planned travel.


Research supervision

The research topic and methodology must be developed in consultation with a Boston College faculty member who will also approve, supervise and evaluate the student’s plan of study and final product. The plan of study must include a research design and timetable. The application must include a letter from the faculty advisor indicating a willingness to supervise the applicant should the applicant receive an award.

Institutional Review Board (IRB) requirements

For those proposed research projects involving human subjects, approval from the BC Institutional Review Board (IRB) is required.  Students submitting proposals should not make their own determinations as to whether their research requires IRB review or not.

It is strongly recommended that applicants with human subjects-related proposed research begin to engage the BC Office of Research Protections about the IRB approval process at the time of application for the summer research grant, or before.  The BC research office is happy to take inquiries as you put together your proposal if you have questions along the way.  As well, you should engage your faculty supervisor who has agreed to supervise your proposed research about the process as they also may have experience with the process and can help advise you.

To help further streamline this process, at the time of application submissions, the Center will share the proposals with the BC IRB for their review.  The BC IRB will then reach out to submitting students to counsel them on the Human Subjects review process.

Official approvals may take up to 60 business days per the Office of Research Protection's website (below).  Also, please note that the Center will not disburse funds for proposals selected for funding until either the Human Subjects review process has been completed by the IRB, or when the IRB makes a determination that Human Subjects review is not necessary for the given proposal.

Also important to note for those students proposing to do research related to Native American tribes: many tribes have their own protocols and approvals they require before any research may be done and reported, so it is important that you identify any such considerations and proactively engage tribal leadership in this process to prevent late complications.  The BC Office of Research Protections can also help you to identify such relevant parties.

Here are some important resources concerning the IRB and the Human Subjects review process:


To apply, you will need the following:

1. A two-page, double-spaced personal statement describing your:

  • Background.
  • Any previous research experience and human rights related work.
  • How your proposed research/study plan fits into your broader educational goals and relates to human rights and international justice

2. A 4-6 page, double-spaced proposal identifying: 

  • Intended project and methodology.
  • Your general preparedness to undertake the project.
  • Expectations of how your research will contribute to your overall education at BC
  • A clear demonstration of the link between your project and issues(s) of human rights and/or international justice. NB: There should be a dedicated section in the proposal of up to 300 words describing this relationship.

3. A letter from a BC faculty member indicating their willingness to supervise your research

4. A letter of recommendation from a BC faculty member attesting to your academic capability to undertake the project (may also be the research supervisor as per above and combined into one letter)

5. The name and contact information of a second academic reference who may also be contacted to attest to your academic capability to undertake the project

6. Current BC transcript

7. Your resume/CV

To apply, fill out the Google Form at the below link button, which also has an upload button to submit the above materials.  Letter of recommendation may be emailed directly to Academic transcript may also be scanned or screen shot and uploaded in the below application form, or requested in Agora to be sent through campus mail to CHRIJ, Stokes N410.

Application deadline extended to April 8, 2024.  Any questions on the application process may be directed to Center Assistant Director Timothy Karcz at