Nurturing the research of graduate and undergraduate students is one of the Weatherhead Center’s highest priorities. The WCFIA helps students financially and intellectually by supporting their research and by encouraging and facilitating meaningful collaboration between students and other Center affiliates including faculty, fellows, and visiting scholars. In addition, the Center encourages students to participate in its seminars and conferences. The scholarly community hopes that Harvard students and young scholars find the Center to be a significant intellectual resource for expanding and refining their research interests.

Student affiliation comes with several privileges and services. Students can apply for various WCFIA student grants, propose and organize student conferences, apply to participate in WCFIA programs and research clusters, and much more. 

In the 2019–2020 academic year, the WCFIA sponsored research for eighty-nine graduate students and twenty-seven undergraduate students. Students hail from many different departments and schools within Harvard, including African and African American Studies, Government, History, History of Science, Religion, Sociology, Social Studies, Anthropology, Economics, the Kennedy School, the Law School, and the Graduate School of Design—among others.  

Graduate Students

Pie chart of 2019-2020 graduate students by disciplineGraduate students are supported through pre-dissertation, language, and travel grants, dissertation fellowships, and other forms of fellowships (see Opportunities for Graduate Students). In addition, we run a residential program hosting twenty-four Graduate Student Associates (GSAs). These students receive up to $2,500 for conference and short-term research travel or for other expenses related to dissertation research and professional development. The GSAs are central to the Center’s mission of research development and are major contributors to the Center’s interdisciplinary missions. Erez Manela (Department of History) has directed the program since 2009 and, together with staff member Clare Putnam, coordinates a weekly seminar where students share their research with one another.

Undergraduate Students

WCFIA Undergraduate Associates receive funding to travel abroad to conduct their senior thesis research. This map shows where our 2019–2020 students traveled this past summer.

The undergraduate program is run by Bart Bonikowski (Department of Sociology) in collaboration with Clare Putnam. Our existing programming includes senior thesis summer research support, sponsorship of travel abroad for academic purposes during winter recess, and funding for conferences where students interact with international affairs scholars and practitioners.

The Undergraduate Associates who receive funding for summer research receive additional support by being trained and mentored by a Graduate Student Associate (GSA) starting in the spring of their junior year. They receive guidance on how to prepare proposals, approach field research, and commence writing. They also receive training in the ethics of conducting research abroad. They present their work at our annual Undergraduate Thesis Conference. These undergraduate scholars connect with the Center during at least three semesters of their time at Harvard. Some meet annually with the chair of our advisory board, Kenneth I. Juster, who supports several undergraduate Juster Fellows every year.

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