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Natural Sciences and Engineering

campus in fall

Divisional grants within the Natural Sciences and Engineering provide students the opportunity to pursue research or other scholarly engagement designed to enhance the student’s overall exposure to intellectual inquiry and research.  Due to the vertical nature of scientific study and the need for lab resources beyond what a student could access independently, it is difficult for students in the natural sciences and engineering fields to conduct independent research.  Therefore, the Division of Natural Sciences and Engineering awards only mentored research projects with rare exceptions.  Students who participate in existing faculty projects are able to engage with faculty members, often working in their labs on campus or participating in their field research. Students work side by side with faculty members gaining valuable exposure to the foundation of research principles and practice.  Recent recipients of divisional grants have had the opportunity to participate in faculty research projects that explored adolescent suicidality, the cognitive biases in the perception of spatial orientation, the courtship behaviors of female fruit flies, and the use of the probabilistic method in refinement of large symmetric game reduction, for example.

Students interested in applying for a mentored research project within the Natural Sciences and Engineering division must complete any existing department-specific process and obtain approval of their proposal from a faculty advisor.  Substantial consultation with their faculty mentor prior to beginning an application for an NSE division grant is expected.  All applications require a letter of recommendation from a Swarthmore faculty member in order to be considered complete. Students should contact the faculty member directly to discuss their project and ask for a letter of recommendation.  This request should come well in advance of the application period. During the application process, students will submit the faculty member’s name as part of their online application which will then prompt the faculty member to upload the recommendation letter.

For more information regarding the application process and the program, students should familiarize themselves with the Frequently Asked Questions.