Major Grant

Students combing through mulch

Major grants support student-driven, full-time immersive projects supported by a faculty mentor, with priority given to Juniors.


Winter Application Cycle:

  • Application Deadline: Friday, Jan 22, 2021, 11:59pm PST 
  • Faculty Mentor Letter Deadline: Friday, Jan 29, 2021, 11:59pm PST
  • Project Execution: Spring 2021 or Summer 2021 (during a Flex Term)

Spring Application Cycle:

  • Application Deadline: Friday, Apr 9, 2021, 11:59pm PST 
  • Faculty Mentor Letter Deadline: Friday, Apr 16, 2021, 11:59pm PST
  • Project Execution: Summer 2021 (during a Flex Term)
  • Major Grants provide a 10-week stipend in support of full-time immersive Spring or Summer project commitments
  • Most Major Grants are awarded to students beginning an honors thesis, a senior project in the arts, or senior synthesis project between their junior and senior years.
  • Decisions are typically made within 6 weeks 
  • Funding for the 20-21 academic year is usually disbursed Week 1 of the quarter in which the project is executed 

Quick FAQs

  • I’m planning to execute my research project during the Summer Quarter. Should I apply during the Winter Application Cycle or the Spring Application Cycle?

    You are encouraged to apply the quarter when you meet the 2-quarter full-time enrollment requirement (See "Flex Term Requirements" and "Flex Term Considerations" below). For example, if you took a LOA in the Fall and will be enrolled Winter and Spring, apply in the Spring (do not apply in the Winter). If you were enrolled full-time in the Fall and Winter Quarters, you have two options: apply in the Winter or Spring. 

    Applying during the Winter vs. Spring does not increase your chances in receiving a Major Grant. All submitted applications are evaluated equally. Furthermore, you will not receive funding early, because you apply early.
  • I’m planning to execute my research project during the Spring Quarter. When should I apply?

    If you intend to execute your research project in the Spring, you must apply during the Winter application cycle.
  • How much will my Major Grant stipend be?

    Major Grant stipends start at $5000, with a need-based supplement and location-based supplement for qualifying students. For details on the stipend structure, visit our Constructing a Budget page.

Where to Start

Proposal Guidelines

  • Major Grant proposals should not exceed a word count of 2,500
  • Read through the Go Apply site for more detailed information on the application materials you will need to assemble. Applicable links are as follows:
  • IRB protocol submission: If you are doing a project involving interviewing, observing, or otherwise working with human subjects, you must determine if your project requires Institutional Review Board (IRB) review.  You must upload proof that you submitted your IRB protocol in your Major Grant application in order for your proposal to be considered. Click here for a step-by-step timeline of the IRB requirements.
    • Not sure if your project needs IRB review?  Contact Stanford’s IRB at to consult with them. 
  • Field contact letter: For students who are partnering with off-campus organizations for their projects (e.g. archives, hospitals, nonprofits, community organizations), you must submit a letter of support from your partner organizations/field contacts along with your grant application.
    • Field Contact letters should be a brief note (email is fine) that includes the following:
      • The date when your contact sent you the support letter
      • Indicates access to a research resource and clearly states what that resource is
      • Shows the contact information (phone & email) for the individual who will be serving as your primary contact
      • If you are partnering with multiple organizations: Only one letter is required at the time of application, but note that the Review Committee may request additional letters at the time of review. Having letters from all of your proposed field sites strengthens your application.
  • Remote project: Per University and broader public health guidelines, all grant proposals must include a remote project option: i.e. a version of the project that can be done remotely from a student’s place of residence.  This remote option must not involve (1) any in-person engagement, (2) local, domestic, or international travel, (3) on-campus project facilities, (4) or project facilities at other institutions or organizations. Proposals that do not have a remote project plan will not be considered.
    • If you are living on campus and have been approved to use on-campus facilities, you must include documentation indicating official approval of both housing and facility usage in your proposal.

Major Grant Policies & Eligibility

  • **In addition to the below criteria specific to the Major Grant, all undergraduate students must meet our general eligibility requirements.** 
  • Priority given to Juniors
    • Frosh and Sophomores are encouraged to explore Department and Faculty Grants
    • Seniors who have not previously received a Major Grant are eligible but will have lower priority
    • Co-terms who have not conferred their undergraduate degree may apply if the project fits into their undergraduate academic trajectory, e.g., honors thesis, capstone project, etc. Students paying graduate tuition are ineligible.
  • Time commitment: Full-time means devoting 35+ hours/week for 10 consecutive weeks, i.e.,  it is their primary activity that quarter
  • Flex Term Requirements: Students can only use their Major Grant in Spring 2021 or Summer 2021 quarters by taking a Flex Term
    • Students must have completed two full-time enrolled quarters this academic year by the time their Major Grant project begins - these quarters do not have to be consecutive
    • Students may take their Flex Term on campus in their cohort-designated quarter in Spring or Summer IF participating in an approved research project
    • Participation in a Major Grant project does not make you eligible to live on campus during your Flex Term
    • International students must consult with Bechtel before attempting to take a Flex Term without three quarters of full-time enrollment first.
  • Flex Term Considerations: 
    • Plan ahead: You will need to indicate in your Major Grant application whether you plan to take your Flex Term/do your Major Grant project in Spring or Summer.  We expect you to commit to your choice of quarter; we cannot guarantee you funding if you change your plans after your application is submitted.  
    • Remember: You are only allowed 1 Flex Term per academic year.  University policy states that you must have enrolled full-time in 2 quarters of the current academic year before you can use your Flex Term for a full-time research opportunity.
      • If you want to do your Major Grant project in Spring 2021, you must be enrolled full-time in Autumn and Winter (and apply in Winter)
      • If you want to do your Major Grant project in Summer 2021, you must be enrolled full-time in at least 2 quarters out of Autumn, Winter, or Spring (does not have to be consecutive quarters)
  • Outside Commitments and Concurrent Course Enrollment: 
    • Other Stanford funding: Students are only eligible for one full-time experiential learning funding opportunity from the University during the 2020-21 AY
      • Major Grant recipients are not permitted to engage in another full-time internship, job, or volunteer opportunity (whether funded by Stanford or otherwise), including but not limited to:
        • Haas Summer Fellowship/Cardinal Quarter
        • Departmental Grant-supported summer research position
        • Faculty Grant-supported summer research position
        • Other full-time summer fellowship or internship
      • The above opportunities represent a significant time commitment and are intended to support a student’s unique full-time effort on a project
  • Students may not receive both academic units and a stipend for any single project activity.
  • Students are permitted to enroll in up to five units of coursework during the Flex Term in which they are engaging in a Major Grant project
  • Major Grant recipients are permitted to work at an additional internship, job, or volunteer position for no more than 10 hours per week 
  • Students who receive a Major Grant cannot enroll in five units and work 10 hours per week during a Flex Term synchronously

Fundamental Standard

  • Please note violations of Undergraduate Research policies are also violations of the Fundamental Standard and may be referred to the Office of Community Standards
  • Students who fail to abide by the policies as set forth by Undergraduate Research, The Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, and Stanford University will have low priority for future Undergraduate Research funding opportunities
  • Undergraduate Research reserves the right to rescind funding at any given point and time should they be apprised of any policy violations as outlined above or as listed on the Eligibility Requirements webpage

Did you meet all the eligibility requirements? If so: