February 26, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. (Application opens December 15, 2023)


Funded by grants from the Brittingham Wisconsin Trust and the Kemper K. Knapp Bequest, the Sophomore 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 20-30 Sophomore Research Fellowships are available each year.


The student researcher receives $2,500 (purpose unrestricted), and faculty/staff research advisor receives $500 to help offset research costs (e.g., supplies, books for the research, student travel related to the project).


  • A second year undergraduate
  • A first year undergraduate who will have more than 24 credits after May of the current academic year
  • A transfer student in their first year of attendance at UW-Madison
  • Cumulative GPA of 2.3 or above
  • Must be in good academic and disciplinary standing to apply


  • If you are awarded and accept a Sophomore Research Fellowship (SRF) 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 the Honors Summer Research Apprenticeships, you may want to apply for the SRF for the fall and/or spring term.)
  • Faculty/staff members may support no more than two student projects/year across all divisions (biological sciences, arts and humanities, physical sciences, social sciences and interdisciplinary).
  • Students may not apply for the Hilldale/Holstrom and the Sophomore Research Fellowship for the same project in the same year.
  • Previous student recipients of a Sophomore award may not apply again.


A selection committee will review all proposals.

  • Quality of research proposal
  • Degree of meaningful collaboration with a faculty research mentor
  • Extent to which a research outcome is achievable within the proposed timeline


Please note: Starting with the 2022 awards, Sophomore 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 Sophomore 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 Sophomore 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 Sophomore Research Fellowship application in your list, and you believe you meet the eligibility requirements, please contact the UAA Office (, 265-2428).


  • Project proposal of three to 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 $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, 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.


Previous Sophomore Fellows