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Undergraduate Research


Fall Deadline: Oct. 24, 2023, by 5 p.m.
Announce Date: December 8, 2023
Grant Duration: December 2023 through December 2024

Spring Deadline: Feb. 13, 2024, by 5 p.m.
Announce Date: April 5, 2024
Grant Duration: May 2024 through May 2025


You must be: 

  • a USC degree-seeking undergraduate 
  • in good standing with the university
  • working under the guidance of a faculty, staff or community mentor.

In addition: 

  • You may not submit a proposal during the semester you graduate.
  • Preference will be given to those who have not previously received this award.
  • Mentors may submit a maximum of two applications each round.

Application Process

All of the following steps are required for a complete application.

All Magellan grant applicants must have a mentor and project to apply.
Things to consider and discuss:
  • Review the student mentoring guide.
  • Talk with your mentor about the application process.
  • Set up a timeline to ensure that your mentor has time to review each of your proposal drafts.
  • Discuss the writing and editing process. 
  • Review the tasks and goals for your project.
  • The key to a successful application is how well you describe your project plan. Make sure that you understand your project in sufficient detail to explain this in language that a non-expert will understand.

Download the Magellan Programs Application [doc].

  • Follow the advice/expertise from your mentor. 
  • Complete all sections and make note of word limits. 
  • Make sure you set up a timeline with your mentor for drafts and reviews. 
  • Ensure that your mentor reviews the final version prior to submission. 
  • Using the budget section of the Magellan Programs Application, work with your mentor to plan your project budget, if you are awarded.
  • Carefully review the list of allowable and unallowable expenses and requirements for uses such as participant support and conference travel.
  • Note: the Mini-Grant covers salary, materials/supplies and research travel. It does not cover conference travel.
  • Supplies purchased belong to USC. 
  • NEW this year: funds are transferred to the mentor's department. 
  • salary and fringe benefits ($10 per hour is most common; most are $10-15 maximum; minimum wage as low end)
  • software (such as SPSS, InDesign, etc.)
  • plane tickets
  • gas (for trips more than 20 miles)
  • printing costs
  • hotel room
  • renting a kayak
  • books not found through the USC library
  • raffle items (for study participants — must be less than $50 each)
  • participant incentives (see Magellan Programs Application for additional requirements)
  • conference travel
  • electronic devices (includes computers, cameras, voice recorders, etc.)
  • hiring people (such as consultants)
  • phones
  • meals
  • travel under 20 miles
  • books that can be found through the USC library
  • senior thesis printing costs


Special Situations and Helpful Resources

Students requesting salary must also include fringe benefits costs.

WHAT’S FRINGE? Fringe benefits are various non-wage compensations provided to employees in addition to their normal wages or salaries. This includes things like: FICA (Social Security and Medicare), unemployment, insurance for workplace accidents (worker’s comp), etc. When you are taking classes, the only cost is worker’s comp. This means that fringe rate is calculated differently when you are taking classes and not taking classes. The budget form calculates this automatically.

Before You Plan Your Research...

Review the Research Abroad Guidelines Document [pdf] for:

    • Important people to meet with and contact
    • Research abroad requirements
    • Guidelines and tips for the application 

For Aiken, Beaufort, and Upstate students:
Contact us at or 803-777-1141. 

For Columbia and Palmetto Campus/College students:

1) Register and comply with all policies, rules, and regulations of the Education Abroad Office

ALL students traveling abroad for research, volunteer, internships or study must register with the Education Abroad Office. 

2) Follow Education Abroad Non-Credit Programs Instructions 

This is required for ALL research, internship, volunteer, and non-credit study abroad activities. 

Students must also comply with University Travel policies and procedures

If You Are Not Sure If You Need to Register:
Check with the Education Abroad Office at or 803-777-7557. Be safe, not sorry!

If the project involves vertebrate animals, it must have approval through the Animal Care and Use Committee and the student must have appropriate training. If the project already has approval, the student must be added. Contact the Department of Animal Resources, 803-777-8106, For USC Aiken, contact the Sponsored Research Office.

If the project involves humans (including but not limited to interviews, surveys or review of personal/private information), mentors must review the Student Research guide. Based on this guidance from the Office of Research Compliance, most student driven projects will not require further review. Faculty oversight and student training through the CITI Human Subjects modules are required. Some projects may also require use of the Undergraduate Research Consent Form. A template is available on the Student Research page. If a student is "engaged in the research" on a mentor's project requiring IRB oversight (new or approved protocol), the student must be added. Contact the Office of Research Compliance (803-777-7095) with questions.

Use this guide to help develop your project plan and understand your responsibilities for the project.

Students should submit one application for a small group working on the same project.

Maximum Award Funding for Group Projects: Up to $1,000 per student, with a maximum of $2,000 per project. 


  • The primary mentor and any secondary mentors (such as graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, additional faculty mentors, community partners, etc) must each complete the appropriate form.
  • The collaboration forms are sent to directly by the mentor(s).
NOTE these forms are updated regularly, please be sure to use the most recent versions.


Primary Mentor Collaboration Form [doc] 
The mentor's role on the project and the plan for student training and skill building

Secondary Mentor Form [doc]

  • Role of secondary mentor(s) on the project and how the mentor(s) will work with and train the student
  • Include as many secondary mentor forms as needed

The online application form must be submitted with your Magellan Programs Application attached by the submission deadline.

Group applications: submit one form — alphabetically by last name.

Select "Magellan Mini-Grant" from the menu. Under "Magellan Programs Application," upload your PDF or Word document.

NOTE for all applicants: If anything on this form changes (such as title) after submission, contact with the new information and we will update or delete the form for you.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.