Sponsoring Undergraduate Research in English

Work with Award-Winning Faculty


Each year the English Department awards $750 to several students so that they can pursue independent creative or scholarly projects with the support of a faculty mentor. Students may use the funds to pay for travel, materials, conference registration, or other expenses related to their projects. Faculty mentors will also receive a small stipend in recognition of their work.

In order to be eligible, students must be able to complete their project and submit a final report on their work before graduating from CSU. The Fall 2019 application deadline is Friday, December 13; all materials must be submitted before midnight on that date. Winners will be notified in January 2020.

Read about the success of past SURE grant recipients

How to Apply

The first step in preparing a SURE grant is to secure the support of a faculty mentor with a terminal degree in your field of endeavor. If you want to pursue a creative project, speak with a faculty member who has earned an MFA; for scholarly projects, talk to a faculty member with a PhD. You should approach potential mentors at least a month before the application deadline, so that they have time to offer feedback on your project and help you develop a project narrative, budget, and statement of expected outcomes.

Project Narrative (500 words)

Research Projects

For research projects, the narrative should introduce a problem or question that your project will address; perhaps you will investigate the impact of multiracial characters in secondary school classrooms or the casting of Shakespearean drama. Having identified your problem or question, the narrative should provide a solution or argumentative response, highlight the evidence you will draw on, and explain the significance of your project—its relevance to larger ideas or social issues. If you have already completed a portion of the project, explain how much and what preparation you have had that will help you succeed.

Creative Projects

For creative projects, the narrative should identify the artistic tradition within which you are working; perhaps you want to write a series of odes or a piece of creative nonfiction. Having identified the genre within which you are working, the narrative should explain how your project will conform to or challenge the conventions of that tradition. Your narrative should also highlight the larger questions at stake in your work—for example, the relationship between genre fiction and literary fiction or the function of perspective in flash fiction. If you have already completed a portion of the project, explain how much and what preparation you have had that will help you succeed.


Provide an estimate of the expenses you will incur while completing this project. If you plan to present your research at a conference, your budget might include airfare, lodging, and registration fees. If you propose a series of poems on Grecian urns, your expenses might include the purchase of books about Grecian urns and museum admission fees. While it may be appropriate to earmark some of the grant funds for wages, applications that explain how funding will unlock new possibilities are likely to be more competitive.

Sample Budgets

Expenses Amounts
Airfare $340
Hotel $290
Registration $120
Total: $750
Expenses Amounts
Loeb 10 vol. $260
Greek Art $40
Museum Pass $110
Wage, 34hrs. $340
Total: $750

Statement of Expected Outcomes (100 words)

Projects funded by SURE grant monies should reach beyond CSU’s campus. This statement is an opportunity to describe the audience you hope your project will reach, whether through public readings of your work, presentation at a workshop, or publication. Your faculty mentor can help you identify appropriate venues, periodicals, or conferences, but you may also wish to consult the UPenn CFP, where scholarly and creative opportunities in the broader field of English Studies are often announced.

Final Steps

Once you have submitted your application, we will contact your faculty mentor to request a letter of recommendation speaking to the virtues of your project. If your application is funded, we will contact you to arrange for the transfer of funds and to establish dates for you to report on progress toward expected outcomes. Generally, we ask for a preliminary report six months after the funding date and a final report eighteen months after the funding date—or, if you are graduating, before the end of your final semester.


Contact Zach Hutchins for more information about SURE grants and the application process.