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Thesis Funding

A.B. senior thesis funding opportunities, including from individual academic departments, the Office of the Dean of the College, and other offices and programs on campus are posted through the Student Activities Funding Engine (SAFE).

B.S.E. students seeking support may apply for the School of Engineering and Applied Science thesis and independent work funds.

ODOC Senior Thesis Research Funding

Eligibility

All A.B. undergraduates seeking support for senior thesis research may apply to the Office of the Dean of the College (ODOC) for funding. Students applying for funding are eligible for all awards administered by ODOC; the match between funder and project will be made during the selection process.

When to Apply

There are multiple opportunities to apply for funding from ODOC:

  • In the spring of junior year, rising seniors may apply for funding to support senior thesis research to be conducted during the summer
  • In early fall of senior year, students may apply for funding for research to be conducted over fall break
  • In mid fall, students may apply for funding for research to be conducted during winter break / intersession.

Students may not schedule travel that conflicts with their end-of-semester exam schedule or academic obligations.

We encourage you to start working on your application materials early so that you have ample time to meet the strict deadlines set by the various funding sources.

How to Apply

Your application must be made through SAFE.

Students applying for ODOC funds are required to apply for all departmental and programmatic funds for which they are eligible in one single application.  You will be able to save your application in SAFE and go back to it, but you must complete and submit the application by the earliest deadline of all the funding sources to which you are applying; no changes will be accepted once applications are submitted and locked, except for the selection of additional funding opportunities when eligible.

The application will ask for a full account of your research proposal, a detailed budget, and a planned itinerary.  You will also be asked to provide the name of your thesis adviser. If your adviser has not yet been assigned, you may ask the faculty member who you hope to advise your thesis to evaluate your project; if in doubt please consult with your departmental representative about who might be the best person to evaluate your proposal.  No project will be funded without a strong faculty endorsement. We strongly encourage you to take the time to submit a thoughtful and thorough proposal for one or all rounds of funding for which you are eligible. Please be sure to read the application carefully and complete it in its entirety.

Budget Preparation and Justification

Please take care to develop a thorough, accurate, and reasonable budget and justify your estimated costs in your project statement. You are encouraged to consult the list of allowable expenses below when building your budget.

Expenses Covered

Costs are expected to be moderate; you are responsible for researching competitive pricing in order to maintain reasonable costs.

  • Travel to research sites (unless the site is within 25 miles of your home town or country and/or on the State Department warning list): Concur travel request approval is required for domestic and international travel no later than one week prior to research (you should submit well in advance). For a list of restrictions regarding the rental or use of vehicles while on University-sponsored domestic and international trips, see the University Travel website.
  • Visa applications
  • Weekly living expenses: food (meal budget is limited to $25 per day), accommodation and local transportation (off-campus only and expected to be through public transport unless safety is a concern).
  • Vaccinations and medications for vaccine-preventable diseases and other diseases you might be at risk for at your destination.
  • Purchase of local phone or SIM card (covered only when safety is a concern and limited to local research-related or emergency calls)
  • Conference fees only if you are making a presentation ($500 maximum)
  • Books (covered only when they are not owned by the University or when the University decides it will not purchase them for the library)
  • Photocopying
  • Payments to Human Subjects: departmental and IRB approval required
  • Consumable laboratory supplies not covered by an existing lab grant
  • Off-campus laboratory data acquisition
  • Software specific to your research project not available through your department

Expenses Not Covered

  • Thesis research pertaining to certificate programs (ODOC only funds departmental senior thesis research)
  • Overnight stay in New York City and Philadelphia
  • Purchase of capital equipment such as binoculars, recording or electronic machinery (we may cover rental costs)
  • General laboratory equipment
  • Transcription services
  • Payment to individuals for services rendered (with the exception of human subjects)
  • Travel to home town or country
  • Ordinarily, expenses incurred for research conducted on campus (e.g. housing, food) during the summer months; exceptions may be made for students on financial aid who make a compelling case for research on campus ($4500 maximum award)
  • Entertainment and/or personal expenses
  • Tuition for instructional programs
  • Passport applications
  • Thesis binding
  • Although not covered by your research grant, we strongly recommend travel insurance. If your research destination is added to the State Department warning list prior to travel, or if the University deems the destination unsafe, you will be responsible for returning the total award because the University cannot fund student travel in these circumstances.

The following exceptions also apply:

  • Students engaged in paid laboratory work sponsored by a faculty member or departmental grant are not eligible for senior thesis research funding.
  • If the thesis research you plan to conduct is expected to take place during the term of your internship, you are not eligible for senior thesis research funding. Exceptions may be made with the explicit recommendation of your University program or internship sponsor; please contact the appropriate person in order to inquire about possible approval before submitting this application.

Application Support

Please consult the central calendar PURC to learn about information sessions, workshops, and other resources made available in support of the senior thesis funding application. For answers to frequently asked questions regarding the SAFE submission process, please visit the SAFE Student FAQ.

Review and Award Process

Once the deadline of your earliest funding opportunity has passed, the faculty member you have listed as your adviser will be automatically notified and directed to log in to answer a series of evaluative questions about your proposal. If you are planning to apply for funds, speak with your adviser as soon as possible about your application — the notification of your application should not be their first indication of their involvement with your intended research.

Your application and your adviser’s evaluation will be reviewed by your departmental representative, who will answer a short series of evaluative questions.

Applications without both an adviser and a departmental representative evaluation will not be considered, nor will late submissions.

Our review process takes into account the following:

  • the quality of your proposal and the strength of the departmental endorsement
  • the feasibility of your budget (please take care to provide accurate and detailed estimates of the costs you will incur)
  • the number and quality of requests for funding made by the senior class (we do not have sufficient funds to fully fund all proposals).

Dean of the College funds will not be assigned until all other awards have been made.

Financial Information

Upon acceptance of the Office of the Dean of the College senior thesis research award, you agree to ODOC’s funding terms and conditions as outlined in SAFE and your award letter. The timing of your activity may not allow you to be in receipt of the funds before research commences and until you fulfill all requirements. It is  recommended that you begin the process in advance. To expedite this, we suggest that you establish direct deposit with the University as soon as you submit your proposal, if applicable, submit for IRB or IACUC approval, and submit a travel request through Concur.

Post Project Requirements (PPR)

Once your research is complete, you will need to log into SAFE, go to “My Projects,” and choose “Complete My Project” from the Actions menu on the right. On this page, you will need to enter the amount you actually spent for each expense type in the “Actual Amount” column, upload an itemized list of your actual expenditures (including date, amount (in foreign and US currency), vendor name and expense type category) and submit ALL receipts. All approved expenses must be substantiated with receipts uploaded to SAFE (do not upload receipts in Concur).

In addition to your expense report, you must upload a 1-2 paragraph (< 300 words) summary of your thesis research in SAFE. The summary should be a narrative account of the research you undertook with the support of ODOC’s award, any findings that either confirmed or changed your hypothesis, and efforts remaining to complete your research.

If you do not use all of your award for thesis research, you will be expected to return the balance via a check or money order made out to “Princeton University” to the Office of Undergraduate Research located at 36 University Place, Suite 340.

The deadline to complete your PPR will be specified in your award letter. To request an extension, please bring a signed copy of the STRF PPR extension form to the Office of Undergraduate Research located at 36 University Place, Suite 340.

Email Enquiries

Feel free to contact thesis@princeton.edu with any questions about the funding process.  Questions pertaining specifically to SAFE should be directed to helpdesk@princeton.edu.

 

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