Summer Travel Grants and the Undergraduate Associates Program

For Harvard undergraduates only.

The Weatherhead Center holds an annual competition to award fifteen to twenty travel grants to support the summer field research of Harvard undergraduates. These grants are designed to help finance travel in connection with senior thesis research on international affairs. All grant recipients become Undergraduate Associates of the Weatherhead Center for the academic year following their summer research and present their research findings at a conference organized by the Center in February of their senior year.

Projects must relate to the core research areas of the Center, broadly defined to encompass international, transnational, global, and comparative national issues that address contemporary or historical topics, including rigorous policy analysis, as well as the study of specific countries and regions outside the United States.

Applicants must clarify how their research relates to the interests of the Center. Projects that are exclusively domestic (relating merely to characteristics internal to any single country) and that lack broader international implications will not be funded.

Student program funds come from the Williams/Lodge International Government and Public Affairs Research Fund, the Hartley R. Rogers family, the Weatherhead Foundation, the Maurice and Sarah Samuels family, Herbert C. Kelman, and Kenneth I. Juster. Rogers Family Research Grants provide funds for students who plan to conduct thesis research in Africa and the poorer countries of South and Southeast Asia. In addition to providing funds for the expenses of thesis research, Rogers Family Research Grant recipients who are on financial aid receive funds that substitute for the requirement of summer work earnings.

For those focusing on Canadian topics, please see the page on the Center's grants for thesis research in Canada.

Undergraduate Associates

All summer travel grant recipients and Kenneth I. Juster Fellows become Undergraduate Associates of the Weatherhead Center for the academic year following their research abroad. The Center sponsors a series of undergraduate research workshops that focus on different stages of the thesis, from choosing a topic to carrying out field research and writing. Throughout the year, the Center engages Undergraduate Associates both formally at dinners with guest speakers and informally through contact with graduate students, Faculty Associates, and Fellows of the Center.

Awards and Benefits

Grants range from $1,000 to $6,000.

Who Is Eligible

Harvard College students, usually juniors, are eligible to seek summer funding for senior thesis research in international affairs. In the past, most grants have been awarded to students in the social sciences (anthropology, economics, government, history, social studies, and sociology), but the Center has funded applications from students in other fields if their application meets the criteria outlined here.


Summer travel grants are designed to help finance foreign travel in connection with senior thesis research. Undergraduate Associates are expected to present their thesis research at a conference in February following their return.

The Weatherhead Center strongly discourages students from holding summer internships or jobs that could have a negative impact on the duration or quality of their field research. Those who wish to take on summer obligations other than their field research must tell the Center of their plans and may need to sacrifice one opportunity for another. All research experiences that the Center supports are meant both to be of significant length and to hold serious scholarly meaning.

How to Apply

The Weatherhead Center uses the electronic application platform, the Centralized Application for Research and Travel (CARAT). Please read all the instructions on this page as well as in CARAT before beginning your application. Recommenders must upload their letters of recommendation for your application to CARAT. A complete application, all of which must be uploaded to your CARAT application, will consist of:

  • the CARAT cover sheet, budget, and research methods questions,

  • a proposal of approximately 750–1000 words,

  • a one-page résumé,

  • a current transcript or grade report, and

  • one letter of recommendation.

All of these materials, including the letters of recommendation, must be uploaded to the CARAT application and then submitted electronically via the CARAT system by the deadline.


February 13, 2023