Thesis Funding

A.B. senior thesis funding opportunities, including those 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). The Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) administers the Dean of the College thesis funding through the OUR Senior Thesis Research Funding Program.

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

OUR Senior Thesis Research Funding


All A.B. undergraduates seeking support for senior thesis research related to their concentration and/or certificate program may apply to the Office of Undergraduate Research for funding. Certificate-specific funding requests should list a faculty affiliated with the certificate program as their faculty adviser. Students applying for funding are eligible for thesis funds available through the Office of the Dean of the College; 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 OUR:

  • In the spring of junior year, rising seniors may apply for funding to conduct thesis research during the summer
  • In early fall of senior year, students may apply for funding to conduct thesis research over the fall break / semester
  • In mid fall, seniors may apply for funding to conduct thesis research from December through the end of March.

For OUR senior thesis research funding application dates and deadlines, please consult the PURC calendar. 

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.

Due to the volume of applications and the nature of the process we are unable to publish OUR funding decisions ahead of the funding dates posted below. Please be sure to plan accordingly and reach out with any concerns you may have ([email protected]). 


AY2324 OUR Funding Timeline

 Fall Cycle

Research takes place Oct 13  - Dec 04, 2023

  • Application Opens: Tuesday, August 29, 2023
  • Application Closes: Tuesday September 26, 2023 at 11:59 pm
  • Funding Decisions Posted: Friday, October 13, 2023

Winter Cycle

Research takes place Dec 19, 2023 – March 18,  2024

  • Application Opens: Monday November 6, 2023
  • Application Closes: Wednesday November 29, 2023 at 11:59 pm
  • Funding Decisions Posted: Tuesday December 19, 2023

Summer Cycle

Research takes place May 16 - Sept 3,  2024

  • Application Opens: Friday February 9, 2024
  • Application Closes: Sunday March 24, 2024 at 11:59 pm
  • Funding Decisions Posted: Friday April 19, 2024


How to Apply

Your application must be made through SAFE 

Students applying to the OUR senior thesis research funding program 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; once your application is submitted, changes to your project can be noted in the ‘project changes' section of your application and additional funding opportunities can also be selected when eligible.

The application will ask for a full account of your proposed research, a detailed budget, your envisioned timeline 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 director of undergraduate studies 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.

For instructions, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please visit User Resources for the Students Activities Funding Engine and search under resources for students and groups.

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 Do Not Travel list. Travel expenses may include airfare, visa applications, a daily food stipend (limited to $35 per day), accommodation and local transportation (expected to be through public transport unless safety is a concern). If your research involves overnight travel, you must obtain travel approval through the Enroll My Trip platform (EMT) at least one week PRIOR to travel. Your award will be revoked if you travel prior to receiving approval for your trip in Enroll My Trip. For a list of restrictions regarding the rental or use of vehicles while on University-sponsored domestic trips, visit the University Travel WebsiteStudents may not schedule travel that conflicts with their end-of-semester exam schedule or other academic obligations.
  • International travel to research sites: For university-sponsored international travel, review University Guidelines to determine if your travel requires additional approval. Students should wait to buy tickets or make non-refundable deposits on housing until funding is confirmed AND their travel plans have been reviewed and approved in Enroll my Trip. For current University travel guidelines, please visit the Travel Enrollment page or the Pandemic Travel Guidelines page.
  • Students on financial aid may apply for a weekly stipend ($700) to conduct on-campus summer research for a maximum of nine weeks; the stipend is intended to cover lodging, food, and miscellaneous expenses. This is also noted in the senior thesis funding opportunity in SAFE, under the funding amount restrictions (max of $6300). Stipend recipients are encouraged to live on campus in the Summer Research & Learning Village. Rising seniors conducting thesis research will live in proximity to others participating in closely related activities such as research, coursework, entrepreneurship, and service. The 2024 standard Room & Board package is $475 per week, includes air-conditioned rooms and 14 meals per week in the new Yeh College / New College West dining hall, and provides a common physical, intellectual, and social environment for all undergraduates on campus over the summer. Senior thesis researchers not part of a structured departmental program should apply for village housing through Housing & Real Estate Services.”
  • Books (covered only if a personal copy is needed)
  • Conference fees
  • Photocopying
  • Payments to Human Subjects (departmental and IRB approval required, maximum of $3,000 for surveys)
  • Consumable laboratory supplies not covered by an existing lab grant or departmental thesis allocation; the request should be itemized and justified.
  • Off-campus laboratory data acquisition not covered by an existing lab grant or departmental thesis allocation; the request should be itemized and justified.
  • Software specific to your research project not available through your department.

Expenses Not Covered

  • OUR does not offer financial support for housing and food expenses as part of senior thesis research awards during winter break.
  • Overnight stay in New York city and Philadelphia
  • Wi-Fi connection fees
  • Laptops, tablets, desktops and basic computer accessories (typically not covered unless specific to research, may be eligible for loaner program)
  • Cloud storage subscription (you may be eligible through OIT, contact [email protected] for details)
  • Hard drive (typically, department SCAD can provide NAS or cloud subscription options instead)
  • Purchase of capital equipment such as binoculars, recording or electronic machinery (we might cover rental costs)
  • General laboratory equipment
  • Transcription services
  • Payment to individuals for services rendered (except for human subjects)
  • Tuition for instructional programs
  • Thesis binding
  • Travel to home town or country
  • Local phone or SIM card
  • Passport applications
  • Vaccinations and prescriptions
  • Entertainment and/or personal expenses (such as clothing)
  • Although not covered by your research grant, we strongly recommend travel insurance. If the University deems your destination unsafe prior to travel, you will be responsible for returning the total award because the University cannot fund student travel in these circumstances.

The following exceptions also apply:

  • 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 your earliest funding opportunity deadline 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 director of undergraduate studies, who will answer a short series of evaluative questions.

Applications without both an adviser and a director of undergraduate studies 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 Undergraduate Research senior thesis research award, you agree to OUR’s funding terms and conditions as outlined in SAFE and your award letter. Your award is based on the budget you submitted and is considered a contract and should be used to cover the specific expenses listed in your budget. You must fulfill all requirements prior to receiving your award and beginning your research. It is recommended that you begin the process in advance. To expedite this, we suggest you submit for IRB or IACUC approval as soon as possible (when applicable) and establish direct deposit with the University.

Post Project Requirements (PPR)

Expense report: At the end of your award period for the fall and winter cycles, you are required to substantiate all of your expenses (except for the $35/day stipend for food, when applicable) by uploading your receipts in SAFE.

At the end of your award period for the summer cycle, you are required to substantiate all of your expenses by uploading your receipts in SAFE (except for the daily food stipend of $35 (if applicable), or for the stipend portion of your award (if you did research on campus))

Please note that you are required to provide a complete account of the funding you received for your research project (including portions of the award covered by other funders, if applicable).

Unspent funds must be returned via a check or money order made out to “Princeton University.” OUR will provide you with a Return of Scholarship / Fellowship Funding form and instructions for processing the return of the funds. If you received funding from multiple offices, you should start by returning your unused funds to OUR up to the amount that was awarded by OUR; if an additional balance is remaining after returning funding to OUR, unspent funds will then be returned to the funder that awarded the largest amount among the other funders. In most cases, OUR will work with you and the other departments involved to process the returned funds; please contact [email protected] to begin this process. 

Research Summary: 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 OUR’s award, any findings that either confirmed or changed your hypothesis, and efforts remaining to complete your research.

The deadline to complete your PPR will be specified in your award letter. To request an extension, email a copy signed by both yourself and your faculty adviser (electronic signature ok) of the STR-PPR Extension Form.pdf  to [email protected].

Email Inquiries

Feel free to contact [email protected] with any questions about the funding process. Questions pertaining specifically to SAFE, outside of student FAQ's, should be directed to [email protected].