PRISM Research Grants

PRISM Research Grants offer undergraduate students the funding to develop independent academic research projects. Students must develop a research proposal, which stresses not only the personal interest of the student, but how the project is linked to their academic and career interests. Successful applicants will be able to present a clear view of the scope and purpose of their project.

The grants cannot be used to support work as a faculty research assistant or an unpaid internship experience.

The deadline for the 2019 PRISM Research Grant is Sunday, April 14th, 2019 at 11:59pm. Letters of recommendation can be submitted until noon on Wednesday, April 17th, 2019 via email to Alison DeVries at

Applicants should expect to receive the committee’s decision by mid May 2019.

The Award

Research should take place over the summer and continue on a consistent basis for 8-10 weeks. Work completed over the summer can contribute to short term or long term research projects. The average grant amount is $1,500, but each proposal is considered individually for amounts up to $2,500. When applying, students must supply a preliminary itemized budget; however the review committee reserves the right to adjust the budget. The number of recipients varies. On average, 8-12 grants are awarded each year.


Only currently enrolled 1st-3rd year undergraduate students (including international students) with declared majors in the PRISM fields (Anthropology, Art History, Cinema and Media Studies, Comparative Human Development, Creative Writing, English Language and Literature, History, Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities, Linguistics, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Philosophy/Allied Fields, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology) are eligible to apply. Coursework, however extensive, in one or more of these fields is not sufficient. Students should check their myUChicago portal prior to the application deadline to ensure that the correct major displays on the academic record.

First year students may apply for the grant upon completion of the Declaration of Intent to Major Form provided in the application and declare a PRISM major immediately if chosen as a grant recipient. This form is only for the use of first year students who wish to apply for the PRISM Research Grant – it will not be accepted from second and third year students in lieu of an official declaration on the myUChicago portal.

Students with PRISM majors who are double majoring in a non-PRISM field are also eligible, but should take special care in the application essay to describe how the proposed project and primary academic interests are allied with a PRISM field.

Applicants should be aware that PRISM Research Grant recipients are expected to remain enrolled in a PRISM major for the duration of the grant, and their declarations will be verified by grant administrators throughout the grant period. Failure to remain declared as a PRISM major may result in the forfeiture of the award to the College.

Applications for any domestic or international location will be accepted. The University of Chicago’s working assumption is that travel to countries or regions with a US Department of State Level 3 or Level 4 Advisory is not permitted for undergraduate participants. The University also also uses as indicators the advisory levels published by the Centers for Disease Control and our emergency provider, International SOS. Thus, if the country or region to which travel is contemplated is listed as Level 3 or 4 in the State Department’s travel advisories OR has a warning level 3 from the Centers for Disease Control OR has an International SOS risk rating of High or Extreme, travel is assumed to be prohibited.

Students who wish to travel to one of these countries must petition the University. Prior to submitting your petition form, they must meet with Chiara Montanari, Associate Director of External Relations or Eric Benjaminson, Assistant Director of Study Abroad, to discuss your plans in light of the Advisory. You must complete your meeting before you submit your grant application. Since this conversation may affect your plans, please schedule your appointment well in advance of the grant application deadline. Contact Chiara Montanari at to schedule a meeting.

For student reference, the CDC website can be found at and the International SOS ratings can be found at where one can log in with UChicago’s membership number: 11BCAS084635. This will provide students access to further country-specific information.

A student may only receive the grant once while at the University of Chicago.

Students who receive a Metcalf Internship for Summer 2019 are not eligible to receive a PRISM Research Grant that same summer.

Required Materials

  • Cover Sheet (form will be made available on UChicago Handshake posting)
  • Resume
  • Research Proposal (2 page maximum – will be judged as a writing sample)
  • Letter of Recommendation from Faculty Sponsor (encouraged that this come from a professor in the student’s PRISM department, but at a minimum must come from a professor in one of the PRISM departments)
  • Itemized Budget (form will be made available on UChicago Handshake posting)
  • Unofficial transcript
  • Declaration of Intent to Major Form (for first year students only)

Applications missing any of the required materials will unfortunately not be reviewed by the committee.

The Application Process

Materials must be submitted via the grant listing on UChicago Handshake. It is recommended that application materials be reviewed by your department preceptor or a member of Career Advancement staff. Please use Handshake to schedule an appointment with a Career Advancement adviser to review your materials.


Please contact Alison DeVries at