Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunities at St. Olaf College

Mentored Undergraduate Research during Summer

Every year, St. Olaf students are invited to apply for full-time, paid, mentored undergraduate research positions. Most projects comprise ten-week experiences on campus that allow students to grow in their research and/or creative inquiry skills.  Some projects take alternative forms (e.g., shorter time periods; conducted in part or in full at off-campus research locations) in light of differences across fields of study. Projects that require field work or visits to resources that cannot be found on campus often have a shorter duration to offset the cost of student travel.  Regardless, summer research and inquiry projects make strong contributions to scholarship at and beyond St. Olaf College.

All Faculties (FA, HUM, IGS, NSM, SS) participate in the summer research program.

2021 Summer Program Timeline for Student Applications:

  • Positions advertised to students by Monday, February 15
  • Student applications due on Monday, March 1
  • Faculty decisions on student researchers due by noon, Monday, March 22
  • Students notified by Friday, March 26
  • Student decisions due by noon, Friday, April 2
  • Program runs Tuesday, June 1 – Friday, August 6, 2021

2021 Student Application Process:

  • Consult with faculty mentors if you have any questions about their projects.
  • Start your application by answering the questions located online.
  • Submit your materials electronically by clicking on the link to apply within the project description by Monday, March 1, 2021. Only complete applications will be considered.

Benefits and expectations:

  • Students earn $12/hour. Most projects require 40 hours for 10 weeks.
  • Student researchers will be provided with a room in a residence hall double at no-charge. No support for off-campus housing.
  • Students working as CURI researchers cannot hold other positions on campus during the program term.

Independent Summer Research: Steen Fellowship 

The Lynn and Mary Steen Fellowship aims to support student-initiated projects that demonstrate independent scholarship, investigation, and creativity. Student Steen Fellows pursue their projects independently of faculty mentors.

Steen Fellowship Goals and Description

Steen Fellowships for student-initiated projects expand opportunities for undergraduate research and investigation by enabling qualified students to undertake independent scholarship, investigation or creative activities in any field related to their college studies. Fellowships are intended to encourage applicants to explore intellectual and creative interests beyond the classroom. Projects should be designed and carried out by the applicant and should culminate in some sort of public report, presentation, performance or display.

A selection committee of faculty will approve funding for feasible, interesting and well-designed projects that fit the applicant’s background and goals. For example, Fellowships might support research in libraries, laboratories, museums or archives; projects could involve fieldwork, travel or creating works of art. Proposals should be developed with the guidance of faculty but do not require faculty supervision. Fellowship awards are based on the quality and originality of the proposal and the qualifications of the applicant to successfully complete the project.

Normally, projects will be carried out in the summer and will not be eligible for academic credit. Fellowships are not to be used for support of internships or for formal study at other academic institutions. Eligibility is limited to rising juniors and seniors; awards are based on the proposal’s merit and budget and will not depend on an applicant’s financial aid status.

The program will award 3-5 Fellowships each year of up to $5,000 each for an 8-10 week summer project.

Steen Fellowship Application Process

All application materials should be submitted electronically through the online Google Form  Applications must be received by 10:00 a.m. Monday, March 8, 2021). Only complete applications will be considered.  Successful applicants will be contacted no later than Monday, March 22, 2021.

Application items include:

  1. Project description:
    1. project significance;
    2. contributions to area of study;
    3. methods;
    4. specific goals & timeline;
    5. preparation; and
    6. relevance for future studies and career discernment.
  2. Project budget.  A completed Steen-Fellowship-Budget-Worksheet-2021 must be uploaded as part of the application.
  3. Self-written statement of professional conduct, ethics and safety as appropriate for the scope and nature of the project. Resources for professionalism can be found here.
  4. Plans for dissemination of the work completed during the project
  5. Letter of recommendation regarding your suitability for completing an independent, unsupervised project from an on-campus (St. Olaf) mentor, preferably a member of the faculty.  Your letter should be written with someone who can comment directly on the feasibility and significance of the project you design. Consult with your letter writer well ahead of the due date. Letters should be submitted directly to CURI@stolaf.edu on or before the deadline.
  6. Letter from host institution or project site (if applicable)
  7. Unofficial transcripts
  8. For projects involving human subjects an IRB Review Request and Ethics Plan may have to be completed (after you receive funding): plan ahead for how you will meet this requirement.
  9. For projects involving digital scholarship this form needs to be completed in consultation with IT and or DISCO staff members.

Successful candidates will be asked to complete a waiver and a student stipend request form before initiating work on their project.


Magnus the Good Collaborative Fellowships

Magnus the Good awards support faculty-student collaborations dedicated to research and/or reflection in any discipline. Supported by the “Magnus the Good Endowed Fund,” these Fellowships celebrate the ideals of the former Paracollege, by encouraging opportunities to extend and apply classroom learning.

Magnus the Good Collaborative Fellowship Details

Awards support faculty-student teams with up to $3000.

Funds may be used to:

    • help with specific costs of proposed research, such as supplies or travel;
    • allow for presentations at appropriate forums;
    • provide financial support (up to $1500 stipend) that allows a student to carry out the proposed project;
    • provide faculty without other salary or stipend support related to the project will receive a stipend of $1000 for a collaboration with one student, plus $500 for each additional student, to a limit of $2000.
    • provide incidental materials support for the faculty member involved.
  • We encourage collaborations between a single faculty member and a single student, projects may involve a faculty member and up to three students, and occasionally a student or students with more than one faculty member. The Award is for projects planned with students returning for the 2021-22 academic year; graduating seniors are not eligible.
  • Projects can be based in any and all disciplines and fields. Fellows may pursue their project during the summer or academic year.
  • The Award can fund projects to be carried out at any time from June 1, 2021, but must be completed by May 1, 2022.

Magnus the Good Collaborative Fellowship Expectations

The selection committee seeks applications that:

  • Plan actual collaborations between faculty and students over proposals that represent student work supervised by a faculty member, or faculty work in which the student participates.
  • Situate the proposed project in the context of the student’s interests and work, and also in the context of the faculty member’s interests and work, making clear the value of participating in the project to each of the applicants.
  • Commit to make the results of the project public, but the selection committee appreciates the risk of failure entailed in any venturesome project, and will be happy to see the public sharing of surprising or unexpected results, as well as of hoped-for results. Funds are available for the costs of travel to present project results.

Magnus the Good Collaborative Fellowship Application Process

Students and faculty apply for a Magnus the Good Collaborative Fellowship as a team. Applications should include a description of the research or activity envisioned, a total budget for the project specifying how an award of up to $3000 would be used, the projected outcome of the project, and a plan for public presentation or dissemination of project outcomes.

Submit proposals as a single document (PDF), which includes:

  • the names of the proposers;
  • the title of the proposed project;
  • a full description of the project, as well as an abstract that can be used for announcements and other public uses;
  • a total budget for the project, including the place of a Magnus the Good award in the project budget;
    • Note: If the project will receive additional funding from other sources, the proposal should include an explanation of how all funds will be allocated in the project budget.
  • a statement from each collaborator about their interest in and expected contribution to the project and how the project fits into their other interests and academic careers;
  • a statement of how the results of the project will be shared with the public.

Applications should be submitted via email to curi@stolaf.edu by noon on Monday, March 8, 2021
A review committee convened by the CURI Director will announce recipients of the 2021-22 Fellows by Monday, March 29, 2021.