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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). 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.

Rising seniors who are on a leave of absence for the 2020-2021 academic year and plan to re-enroll in the fall 2021 are eligible to apply for senior thesis research funding for summer 2021 on the condition that they did not already receive thesis research funding for summer 2020. The LOA funding application is available on GPS and will close on April 19, 2021

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 semester
  • In mid fall, seniors may apply for funding to conduct thesis research from January 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.

OUR Funding Timeline

Fall Research

Fall Research Extension

 Winter Research

Summer Research


Oct 10 – Dec 21, 2020

Oct 10 – Dec 21, 2020

Jan 9 – Mar 28, 2021

May 15 – Sept 6, 2021

Application opens

August 28, 2020


November 16, 2020

March 10, 2021

Application closes

September 20, 2020

September 27, 2020

December 6, 2020

April 04, 2021

Funding decisions posted

October 9, 2020

October 14, 2020

January 8, 2021

April 30, 2021

How to Apply

Your application must be made through SAFE (unless you are currently on a leave of absence, please see eligibility section for more information)

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; 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 proposed research, a detailed budget, and your envisioned timeline. 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.

  • Domestic travel to research sites If your thesis project cannot be sufficiently or effectively addressed through remote options, your faculty adviser can approve domestic travel that is deemed critical in their review of your SAFE proposal. You will also be required to furnish your adviser with information that shows you will actually be permitted to engage in your proposed thesis work, given public health restrictions at your proposed destination. Both your faculty adviser’s approval and the proof that the research is permitted must be included with your travel registration in the Enroll My Trip platform before you will be permitted to travel. Consult the Undergraduate Domestic Travel Checklist for additional details. For a list of restrictions regarding the rental or use of vehicles while on University-sponsored domestic trips, visit the University Travel WebsiteDomestic travel is  defined as travel solely within the United States (including its territories) or solely within a University affiliate’s country of current residence, if not the United States; it involves a journey of any duration outside of the metropolitan statistical area in which a student’s usual home is located (for the United States), or outside the first-level administrative division of a non-U.S. country in which student’s usual home is located; and/or, involves any overnight stay outside of a student’s usual home.
  • Travel expenses may include a daily food stipend (limited to $25 per day), accommodation and local transportation (expected to be through public transport unless safety is a concern). 
  • Half-time weekly stipend of $400 for a maximum of nine weeks for students receiving financial aid AND conducting remote thesis research endorsed by their faculty adviser.
  • Weekly stipend to cover housing and dining costs ($500) for a maximum of nine weeks for students on financial aid AND approved to conduct full time thesis research on campus; this group of students are strongly encouraged to live in campus housing during summer 2021 to support public health measures.
  • Books (covered only if a personal copy is needed)
  • Conference fees, only if event is online and you are presenting ($500 maximum)
  • Document scans from libraries
  • Photocopying
  • Payments to Human Subjects for non in-person studies (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. Request should be itemized and justified; covered only for students approved to conduct on campus lab-based thesis research
  • Off-campus laboratory data acquisition not covered by an existing lab grant or departmental thesis allocation; request should be itemized and justified
  • Software specific to your research project not available through your department

Expenses Not Covered

  • International travel to research sites: University-sponsored undergraduate international travel remains suspended; until these restrictions are lifted, all related expenses will not be covered including airfare, passport and visa applications, vaccinations and medications for vaccine-preventable diseases and other diseases you might be at risk for at your destination, local phone or SIM card
  • 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 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 (with the exception of human subjects)
  • Tuition for instructional programs
  • Thesis binding
  • Travel to hometown
  • Entertainment and/or personal expenses
  • Although not covered by your research grant, we strongly recommend domestic 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 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 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 that 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, you are required to substantiate all of your expenses (except for the $25/day stipend for food, when applicable) by uploading your receipts in SAFE. Please note that you are required to provide a full 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”; contact to initiate the return process. 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, and return the balance to the funder that awarded the largest amount among the other funders.

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
 PDF iconSTR-PPR Extension Form 2021.pdf to

Email Enquiries

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


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