The Online Application

The SIRF application is to be completed online here. The application consists of the following items.

Applying for a Scholars Independent Research Fellowship is a multistep procedure. To initiate the process, you must submit a letter of intent notifying the University Scholars Program that you will be applying and offering a preliminary sketch of the project. Then, you must attend an application writing workshop and, as you begin your research, you are strongly encouraged to schedule a consultation with a research librarian in your field of study. Finally, you will assemble and submit your full Project Proposal and supporting materials.

Research conducted through the University must be carried out in keeping with ethical norms and federal regulations. Therefore, all projects involving human subjects research (if your project will likely involve data obtained from intervention or interaction with an individual, identifiable private information, or bodily materials) or vertebrate animals must be approved by Northeastern’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). Faculty advisors are considered the principal investigator for all student (undergraduate and graduate) projects with human subjects or vertebrates.  Advisors are therefore responsible that the research is conducted in accordance with federal regulations and university guidelines, including obtaining approvals. Applicants must receive an IRB exemption letter or IRB/IACUC approvals for research BEFORE conducting research. If you are not sure whether or not your research needs these institutional approvals, please ask.

Please compile a single PDF consisting of your Project Proposal, budget, IRB/IACUC approvals, resume, and transcript—in that order—and upload it to the online application portal.

Application form: The application form is available online. You are asked to provide personal information as well as basic information about your project.


A Project Proposal, including budget and supplementary materials.

Please address the following questions in the following order. The narrative portion of your proposal should be 2-3 pages in length (single-spaced, 12-point font, 1-inch margins), excluding the budget annotated bibliography. Be sure that your name appears on each page and that your pages are numbered.

  • Personal Statement describing your personal and professional qualifications to pursue this research or creative endeavor and how you expect this work to fit into your academic plans and career ambitions. Group project proposals should include a personal statement from each collaborator. (200 words per personal statement)
  • If you received a SIRF award in a previous year, describe how your experience with the previous project has informed your application and influenced your approach to planning and conducting a research or creative project. (150 words)
  • Project Background and Objectives stating what question, problem, or creative area you hope to explore and outlining the objectives of the research. This section should also provide important background information for your project, contextualizing the project in terms of the broader work in the field. This section should, therefore, include at least three comprehensive references to articles or books in the field. To begin, check out the Northeastern library’s Subject Guides for Research as well as these tips for evaluating scholarly sources. (300 words)
  • Project Design and Methodology This important section should outline your methodology—that is, the theory and techniques on which your project will rely—as well as a specific course of action for carrying the project through to completion. This statement should include an assessment of resources required for project planning and implementation and a consideration of potential project challenges. See sample statements on the following page. (400 words)
  • For group projects only, you are asked to also provide a statement justifying why this project must be undertaken as a group, as well as what roles you expect each member to play in seeing the project through to fruition. (300 words)
  • Project Timeline that lays out what you intend to do and when you intend to do it. Structure this like a syllabus, dividing your project into steps and apportioning your time appropriately. The timeline should cover a minimum of nine weeks. (200 words)
  • Mentoring Plan that outlines the anticipated frequency and mode (e.g., in person, phone, email, Skype) of your communications with your faculty advisor. Be sure to account for conditions such as travel (yours or your advisor’s), time zone differences, and the like, and be sure to discuss the Mentoring Plan with your advisor before submitting it. (150 words)
  • Outcomes Statement that describes the anticipated outcomes or products of your project. Detail how will you share the results of your project.  Here you should identify potential venues to share your work both within and outside Northeastern (e.g. the Scholars Fall Research Presentation, the spring RISE poster session, a discipline-specific conference, specialized publication, etc.). In addition to the final product(s) of the project (e.g., academic paper, film, website), Scholars are expected to produce a 2-3 page final report and participate in the Scholars Fall SIRF Presentations. (200 words)
  • Annotated bibliography including works cited in the proposal and other key sources you anticipate using in your research. An annotated bibliography provides a brief synopsis of each listed work, explaining its relevance and applicability to your project.
  • Supplementary Materials. If needed, you may include graphs and illustrations, preliminary research, or portfolios.

Budget Information

Prepare your project’s budget on a separate page from your other materials. Your budget should be presented as a spreadsheet or table with separate lines for each itemized expense or resource.

  • Expenses: Itemize expenses for your research, including travel directly related to your research (travel to conduct research at your home is not covered), food and lodging (not while at home), program fees, material costs, and other expenses. The fellowship cannot be used to pay yourself or collaborators.
    • If your project requires durable equipment such as a camera, microphone, or voice recorder, please indicate this in the appropriate area of the online submission form (as well as listing the price of such items in your budget). When possible, SIRF recipients will be loaned equipment already owned by the University Scholars Program. If SIRF funds are used to purchase any equipment, that equipment becomes the property of the University Scholars Program and must be returned at the conclusion of the project.
  • Resources: Please list any personal contributions, additional travel or study grants you have received for this project, or other financial resources you will use to conduct your research.

Sum your total expenses and total resources, then use these figures to calculate your Funding Request.


Current transcript and resume. Both of these items should be appended to the PDF you submit through the online application portal. An unofficial transcript is acceptable.


Letter of Recommendation. The letter of recommendation should directed to the SIRF Selection Committee and should address the faculty advisor’s involvement with the project; discuss the student's initiative, motivation, and determination for the proposed project; comment on the quality, originality, and worthiness of the proposal; outline arrangements to ensure completion of the project and verify willingness to review and sign-off on the final product of the research and the Scholar's 2-3 page end of project report. Faculty advisors are considered the principal investigator for all student (undergraduate and graduate) projects with human subjects or vertebrate animals.  Advisors are therefore responsible that the research is conducted in accordance with federal regulations and university guidelines, including obtaining approvals.  Research conducted through the University must be conducted in keeping with ethical norms. Proposed research involving the use of human subjects or vertebrate animals requires approval from the University's Institutional Review Board (IRB), or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). A signed Assurance by the faculty advisor, Department Chair/Program Head and the student must be submitted with the student’s proposal.

When soliciting faculty support, please share with your potential advisor this document describing the SIRF award.

Click here to access the online application portal.