February 14, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. (Application opens December 15, 2023)


The Hilldale Undergraduate/Faculty Research Fellowship provides research training and support to undergraduates. Students have the opportunity to undertake their own research project in collaboration with UW–Madison faculty or research/instructional academic staff. Please Note: Graduate students are ineligible to serve as the project advisor. Approximately 97 – 100 Hilldale awards are available each year.


The student researcher receives a $3,000 stipend (purpose unrestricted) and faculty/staff research advisor receives a $1,000 stipend to help offset research costs (e.g., supplies, books for the research, student travel related to the project). The project advisor can decline the $1,000 if it is not needed to support the student’s research. Declined project advisor stipends are pooled to offer additional Hilldale Fellowships.

The McPherson Eye Research Institute will sponsor two additional Hilldale Fellowships for vision based research (including bioengineering, imaging, data visualization, cognitive psychology, ophthalmology and general biology of the eye).

The University of Wisconsin-Arboretum will sponsor one additional Hilldale Fellowship for research that is relevant to the Arboretum mission (including ecology, biology, botany, forestry, wildlife, soil science, horticulture, environmental engineering, invasive species, and stormwater), with a significant portion of the work being conducted on Arboretum property.


  • 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.
  • Must be in good academic and disciplinary standing to apply


  • 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, arts and humanities, physical sciences, social sciences and interdisciplinary).
  • If you are awarded and accept a Hilldale Fellowship or a Holstrom Scholarship you may not accept funding from other sources for the same research  project during the same time period. (For example, if you plan to apply for summer funding from another source you may want to apply for the Hilldale/Holstrom for the fall and/or spring term.)


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.


Please note: Starting with the 2022 awards, Hilldale Fellows are no longer required to register for three credits of supervised research, senior thesis or directed study with their project advisor by terms of the fellowship.   

Student Hilldale Fellows can expect to spend 200 – 225 hours on their independent research project and agree to the following:

  • Have the research protocol(s) approved by the appropriate Human Subjects and/or Animal Care and Use Committee(s) if using human or animal subjects in consultation with the project advisor. Does not have to be approved at time of application; must be approved before start of research.
  • Present research findings at the Undergraduate Symposium (in April of the following year), or at another presentation venue.
  • Write a thank you note to the donors.
  • Submit a final or progress report of approximately 500 to 1,000 words.
  • Not accept other undergraduate research funding for the same research project during the term of the Hilldale fellowship.


Apply online through Wisconsin Scholarship Hub (WiSH). (Application available in December.)

Log on to Wisconsin Scholarship Hub (WiSH). After logging-in and filling out a general application, 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).


  • 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 and use headers appropriate to the field. 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)
      • Introduction and 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
      • Conclusion/future directions
      • References (may be single-spaced)
  • An unofficial UW–Madison transcript (For instructions on how to access your unofficial transcript, go to request unofficial transcript)
  • A recommendation letter from the project advisor, which includes a brief budget statement explaining how the $1,000 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; plans for regular interaction with the student for the duration of the project, and the timeline agreed upon for 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
Archaeological Expedition with 2018 Hilldale Fellows