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Opportunities for Juniors

While many opportunities available to freshman and sophomore students are also ideal for more advanced students, additional opportunities for research do arise in the junior year. The most important of these is the Junior Research Seminar (JRS), required of majors of the class of 2017 and later but available to all. Each year, the department offers 6-12 small seminars that, while on a range of topics, teach core research skills and offer students the opportunity to work on a project in a sustained manner.  It also should help students interested in writing theses -- whether critical, creative, or some combination of the two -- to propose (and complete) compelling projects.

Students interested in research should talk to their professors and advisors. In addition, they should meet with Wallace Genser at the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (call 215-746-6488 or write to for a research consultation appointment).

We strongly encourage senior English majors apply to the English Honors Program in their Junior year. There are separate application cycles for critical and creative theses; these are due early in the fall semester. Others may elect to do a longer thesis-project as part of an independent study (English 3999 for creative projects and English 0999 for critical ones). Our majors often find these capstone projects to be the highlight of their college careers.

Some opportunities you should consider, however, are:

The University Scholars program, which provides ongoing support for students who intend to be significantly involved in research while at Penn and are planning a career in research and scholarship. Juniors must speak with the University Scholars program Director no later than September 30 of the Fall of their junior year and apply by November 1.

Juniors wishing to study in the UK or elsewhere internationally the year after graduation should attend a Fellowships 101 Information Session no later than the Spring of their Junior year and declare their intent to apply for the Rhodes, Marshall, Mitchell, Gates, Thouron, Fulbright, and other fellowships by March 31 (a year and a half before they wish to take up a fellowship). Penn application deadlines begin the first day of Fall semester.

English Undergraduate Research Grants offer students up to $500 to support costs associated with a specific research project.

If you’ve already started semi-independent research under the guidance of a Penn faculty member, students in the College are eligible to apply for funding through the College Alumni Society Research Grant. English majors are particularly encouraged to apply for a CASRG funded by the Pincus-Magaziner family, which supports projects undertaken by English majors.

Junior women in the College contemplating an unpaid internship may seek funding from the Association of Alumnae Rosemary D. Mazzatenta Scholars Award, which recognizes and supports female undergraduates for academic achievement and demonstrated service to country, community, and family during the summer after their sophomore or junior year in the College.

Penn Humanities Forum fellowships offer undergraduates funding coupled with the opportunity to engage with faculty and graduate students exploring projects on a related theme.

CWIC Emerging Scholar Grants

The Class of 1971 Robert J. Holtz Fund

Seltzer Family Digital Media Awards provide $1,000 for the purchase of hardware or technology for use on a research project.

Finally, the College maintains a Finding Research Opportunities page that is well worth your time.