Hilldale Undergraduate/Faculty Research Fellowship

Application deadline: February 16, 2016


The Hilldale Undergraduate/Faculty Research Fellowships support undergraduate research done in collaboration with UW–Madison faculty or research/instructional academic staff. Approximately 105 Hilldale awards are available each year.


The student researcher receives $3,000, and faculty/staff research advisor receives $500 to help offset research costs (e.g., supplies, faculty or student travel related to the project). At time of application research mentors can ask for an additional $500 (up to $1,000 total) if exceptional circumstances apply (for example, if student travel is necessary to conduct the research).

We are pleased to announce in 2016 the McPherson Eye Research Institute will sponsor one additional Hilldale Fellowship for vision based research (including bioengineering, imaging, data visualization, cognitive psychology, ophthalmology and general biology of the eye).


  • Have at least junior standing at time of application
  • Plan collaborative research project with a UW–Madison faculty/staff
  • Plan to graduate after May of the application year
  • While there is no minimum GPA to apply for the Hilldale, projects proposed by students with a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or lower typically are not as competitive.

Other restrictions

  • A student may submit only one application for consideration per year, and previous student recipients of a Hilldale or Holstrom award may not apply for a second award of the same type.
  • Faculty/staff members may submit no more than two student projects/year across all divisions (biological sciences, humanities, physical sciences, social sciences and interdisciplinary).
  • A research project is not eligible if supported by any other undergraduate grant.

Selection Criteria

A selection committee will review all proposals.

  • Evidence of the student’s intellectual contribution to the research (may include, but is not limited to, student’s contribution of preliminary data to the proposed project)
  • Significance of the research (originality, impact on the field)
  • Degree of meaningful collaboration with a faculty research mentor
  • Extent to which research objective is achievable within the proposed timeline (may also include evaluation of the student’s academic record)

Note: Applicants who do not receive a Holstrom Scholarship will be automatically considered for a Hilldale Fellowship.

Conditions of the Award

Award recipients must:

  • Register for three credits of supervised research, senior thesis or directed study during the summer or academic year following the receipt of the award in May. This must be done prior to graduation.
  • Have proposals approved by the Human Subjects and/or Animal Care and Use Committee(s) if they propose to use human or animal subjects. Does not have to be approved at time of application; must be approved before start of research.
  • Present findings at the Undergraduate Symposium in April of the following academic year.
  • Submit a research report of approximately 500 to 1,000 words upon completion of research, or by  May of the following academic year.

Application Process

Apply online through Scholarships@UW–Madison. (Application available in December.)

1. Log on to Scholarships@UW–Madison and click on the “Visit My Scholarships” link. After logging-in and answering a few yes/no questions, you will be presented with links to applications for scholarships for which you are eligible, with open application cycles. You may want to check the site frequently to see what new opportunities are available. If you do not see the Hilldale/Holstrom application on your list, and you believe you meet the eligibility requirements, please contact the UAA Office (awards@provost.wisc.edu, 265-2428).

The Hilldale/Holstrom Application

  • Project proposal of no more than five double-spaced pages with at least 1 inch margins, and no smaller than 11pt font. The abstract and references are included in the 5-page limit, and the proposal should follow disciplinary guidelines. If you are uncertain about how to format your proposal, talk to your project advisor. All proposals should contain the following:
      • An abstract of the proposed research (200 words or less, may be single-spaced)
      • Literature review, detailing the originality and significance of the proposed project
      • Methods section, describing plans for data collection and analysis
      • Timeline for completion of project
      • References (may be single-spaced)
  • A UW–Madison transcript (automatically attached to your online application; you do not need to order a transcript)
  • A recommendation letter from the project advisor, which includes a brief budget statement explaining how the $500 awarded to the advisor will be spent in support of the student’s research. It’s helpful when the letter also addresses how long and in what capacity the project advisor has known the student; the student’s intellectual contribution to the research proposal and ability to carry out the project; the originality and significance of the proposed research; and plans for regular interaction with the student for the duration of the project. The recommendation is submitted online as part of the online application.


The Writing Center offers workshops on writing proposals for Hilldale and Holstrom Research. Contact the Writing Center to register (263-1992).

Frequently Asked Questions
Previous Hilldale Fellows
Featured scholar J.J. Wang