Research Opportunities

English majors have several different ways to pursue research, including:

Undergraduate Research Awards and Funding

The English department’s Undergraduate Research Awards support English majors and minors whose ongoing scholarly or creative work requires travel or short-term residence outside of Rochester. The awards are granted on a competitive basis and typically provide each recipient with between $500 and $1,000 to help offset the cost of:

  • Traveling to scholarly conferences or film festivals
  • Conducting research in archives or libraries
  • Participating in writers’ institutes
  • Attending intensive language programs abroad

After award recipients return to campus, we expect they will submit a short written description (at least two pages in length) of their research experience and participate in an informal discussion with other students who are interested in learning more about undergraduate research opportunities sponsored by our department.


You may complete the application online. The form asks that you describe how an Undergraduate Research Award would support your current research, and how that research fits into your ongoing scholarly or creative work as an English major or minor.

The form also asks that you submit a letter of recommendation from one member of the English department faculty. The letter should evaluate both the strength of your research plan and your ability to successfully complete that research.

We review applications three times each academic year. Students may apply in advance of the deadline, but must apply no later than:

  • October 15 for funding to support travel or short-term residence from September 1 through December 31
  • February 15 for funding to support travel or short-term residence from January 1 through April 30
  • April 15 for funding to support travel or short-term residence from May 1 through August 31

Undergraduate Research Awards cannot be used solely to fund travel to or attendance at programs for which students will receive University of Rochester credit or transfer credit; we do, however, fund research projects that emerge from such programs. Seniors are not eligible for this award for the summer after they graduate.

Other Independent and Collaborative Research Opportunities 

Our undergraduates frequently expand their studies by designing unique research projects and working on them independently while under faculty supervision. In some cases, faculty have supervised students’ original work in various areas of the University’s archives, such as the Susan B. Anthony papers, the John Gardner papers, the Claude Bragdon archive, the dime novels collection, and the Plutzik Library’s Heyen Collection of broadsides and first editions of contemporary poetry. Students have also refined their research and writing skills by working with the Robbins Library, the River Campus Libraries’ Department of Rare Books, Special Collections and Preservation, or directly with English faculty. Some of this student work is featured on the Rare Books, Special Collections and Preservation site and the Camelot Project site.

In addition, students have collaborated with our faculty on their own scholarly projects, including: