Penn Undergraduate

Penn Undergraduate Research Fellowships

The Wolf Humanities Center offers fellowships each year to Penn undergraduate students from any school who are interested in conducting extracurricular research in the humanities on some aspect of the Center's annual theme. 

Fellows become members of the Wolf Undergraduate Humanities Forum, a community of undergrads who meet to discuss and present their research, pursue various cultural activities of common interest, and occasionally meet in special receptions with the Wolf Humanities Center's distinguished speakers. In the past, these speakers have included Zadie Smith, Michelle Alexander, Junot Diaz, Slavoj Žižek, and Colson Whitehead. The year's program culminates in a spring conference at which students give formal presentations on the results of their research.

Fellows are required to attend and participate in regularly scheduled meetings. During the 2022-23 academic year, in-person meetings will be held on Fridays between 2:00pm and 4:00pm. Fellows are also required to participate in the Undergraduate Humanities Forum Research Conference, scheduled next year for Friday, March 24, 2023. Additional opportunities and outings for fellows will be announced during the year. Students must be full time, on campus for the full academic year of the award, and in good academic standing.

Three positions are available on the Wolf Undergraduate Humanities Forum Executive Board. The UHF Chair and Executive Board Fellows work closely with UHF Director David Spafford and the Wolf staff, and serve important leadership roles, planning and organizing activities throughout the year as well as the spring research conference.

The annual call for applications opens each November and closes in mid-March.

Call for Applications, 2022–2023 

Research Topic: Heritage
Application deadline: March 21, 2022

The Wolf Humanities Center is offering 12 fellowships for the 2022–2023 academic year for Penn undergraduates from any school who are interested in conducting research on some aspect of Heritage, the Forum's theme next year. Applicants must be full time and in good academic standing. Awards are available in three categories:

  1. Research Fellowship and Undergraduate Chair (one $2000 award)
  2. Research Fellowship and Member, Executive Board (two $1750 awards)
  3. Research Fellowships (up to nine $1500 awards)

Please submit the following via our Interfolio application portal.

1. Research Plan. Please explain how your project relates to Heritage and outline your theoretical and methodological approach. Your research plan should be uploaded as a single PDF including the following:

  • Project Title
  • Project Abstract (125 words max)
  • Project Proposal (300-500 words)

2. Personal Statement. Please explain how your education, work, and personal experience qualify you to undertake this research. The Wolf Humanities Center is an inclusive intellectual space. If you have had any experiences of diversity that have shaped your approach to your research and educational path, we would be glad to hear about it. (300-500 words)

3. Unofficial Transcript.

4. Confidential Letter of Recommendation. A letter from a Penn faculty member who is familiar with your proposed research is encouraged. Letters must be submitted via Interfolio by the March 21 deadline.

5. Applicants applying for a position on the Wolf Undergraduate Humanities Forum Executive Board should also prepare 200-300 words explaining the following:

  • previous experience you have had in planning events or organizing groups
  • why you think an Undergraduate Humanities Forum is important
  • ideas you have for organizing and motivating your Wolf Undergraduate Humanities Forum colleagues and for inspiring other Penn undergraduates to become involved in future years
Groups of Wolf Undergraduate Fellows at meetings with guest speaker and at annual research conference


2022-23 Topic: Heritage