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Summer Research Opportunities

Department Overview

Students who participate in the Summer Research and Opportunities program are awarded a stipend of $4,800 in order to allow them to devote a substantial period of time and effort to the pursuit of a creative scholarly project, internship, work or research leading to thesis, honors, or major project preparation, or immersion in the creative arts during the summer months.  The work is intended to substantially expand the research engagement or professional exposure of students.  

Grants are available to support research by students in each of the three divisions (Humanities, Social Sciences, or Natural Sciences and Engineering) during the summer.  In addition, the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility offers funding for students interested in pursuing engaged scholarship and social action projects during the summer.   Although significant funding is available for summer research opportunities, resources are limited, and not all proposals can be funded.  All continuing students are eligible to apply for summer research support; however, priority is given to students who are currently completing their junior year.  Graduating seniors are not eligible to receive summer research, internships, or project grants.

The College supports independent research, when discipline appropriate, as well as research in collaboration with Swarthmore faculty and/or outside scholars.  Students may submit proposals for the following types of work:

  • field, archival, and/or desk research
  • internships
  • creative arts
  • intensive language study
  • engaged scholarship
  • academically-informed activism
  • work to support an honors preparation
  • research leading to a thesis

Under certain circumstances, students seeking special training and mentorship or volunteer opportunities may qualify for a grant. Students engaged in research are expected to fully engage in the process of scholarly exploration and development, and so projects in which the student would act as an office assistant or primarily engage in other non-scholarly work are thus not appropriate and will not be supported.  Similarly, students engaged in internships or non-research based projects, such as the production of original writing or artwork, are expected to engage in activities which expand their academic program. 

Students awarded summer funding are expected to commit the equivalent of ten weeks of full time work (roughly 400 hours total) to the project. As such, a substantial body of work should be completed by the end of the summer period, and students are expected to present a substantive report at the end of their experience.  In some cases, students may also be asked to present their work through participation in student poster session.

Any student interested in pursuing summer research opportunities should review the Summer Funding Opportunities Program Guidebook.

Division of the Humanities:

Art, Classics, English Literature, Film and Media Studies, Modern Languages and Literatures, Music and Dance, Philosophy, Religion, Theater

View the list of available Humanities grants

Division of the Social Sciences: 

Economics, Educational Studies, History, Linguistics, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology and Anthropology

View the list of available Social Sciences grants

Division of the Natural Sciences & Engineering:

Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Statistics, Physics and Astronomy, Psychology

View the list of available Natural Sciences and & Engineering grants


Lang Center Funding

The Lang Center offers competitive funding for three different types of summer opportunities--social impact scholarships, social action projects, and faculty-sponsored engaged research--that fulfill our mission to connect curriculum, campus, and community through engaged scholarship and collaborative action. Learn more at:

Davis Project for Peace

Open to students from any class year as well as individuals or groups of students, the Davis Project for Peace program seeks to encourage and fund student initiative, innovation, and entrepreneurship that is focused on conflict prevention, resolution, peacebuilding, or reconciliation.

Humanities Division - Summer Experience

Aaron Kroeber '16

Major: Greek
Project Title:  Sanskrit Intensive Study
Award: Monroe C. Beardsley Research Fellowship and Internship

In Aaron's words:

  • My work this summer was at the South Asian Summer Language Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I studied Sanskrit at the intermediate level.
  • My study of Sanskrit complements my primary fields of study at Swarthmore: Classics and Linguistics.
  • I hope to use my work in Sanskrit, as well as my study of Latin and Greek, to further my study of historical linguistics.
  • This summer funding has allowed me to greatly develop my skills...and to develop my abilities in my field of study.

Social Science Division - Summer Experience

Lillian Jamison-Cash '15

Major: Sociology and Anthropology, French
Project Title:  Development and Commercialization in Madagascar's Cattle Industry
Award: Eugene M. Lang Summer Research Fellowship

In Lillian's words:

  • The Lang Fellowship allowed me to spend two months in southwestern Madagascar doing ethnographic field research.
  • My itinerary this summer gave a diverse and in-depth look at different aspects of the social importance of cattle in southwestern Madagascar.
  • I plan to continue to develop the concepts and ideas that I explored in my thesis in my future academic and professional life.
  • Being able to conduct independent research in Madagascar...serves as valuable on-the-ground experience.

Natural Sciences and Engineering Division - On Campus Summer Experience

David Ranshous '16

Major: Engineering
Project Title:  Mathematical Modeling for HIV/AIDS Virus
Award: Lenfest Student Fellowship

In David's words:

  • I developed a project alongside Professor Michael Pivioso.
  • The purpose of this work was to conduct exploratory data analysis research involving data from an HIV research study.
  • We reached all of our research goals set at the beginning of the summer.
  • I want to thank the donors for this wonderful opportunity to critically study one of my interests at my own school.

Natural Sciences and Engineering Division - Off Campus Summer Experience

Amy Amuquandoh '16

Major: Biology Minor: Environmental Studies
Project Title:  Clinical Pathology Research at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research
Award: Arthur Obermayer '52 International Summer Internship

In Amy's words:

  • I spent time doing toxicology work in the Clinical Pathology Department of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research in Accra, Ghana.
  • The work done in the Clinical Pathology lab is applicable to everyday healthcare.
  • As a Biology major, the exposure to the scientific and experimental aspect of chemical to live cell interaction was very useful to me.