The Honors College has two funding opportunities that assist students who are interested in engaging in research and creative scholarship: the Honors College Research Grant and Honors College Conference Presentation Grant.
Honors College Research Grant
Honors College Research Grants provide funding to Honors students who want to explore their research interests, improve their research skills and develop professionally and academically under the supervision of world class faculty. This funding opportunity supports creative scholarship and research in any field. The grant application process is competitive and depends on the strength of the application, number of applicants and available funding.
Summer 2024 research grant applicants must submit their application by Friday, Feb. 23 at 11:59 p.m.
Fall 2024 research grant applicants must submit their application by Friday, March 22 at 11:59 p.m.
The first step to apply for the Honors College research grant is to attend a required virtual workshop. The purpose of the workshop is to explain the application process and how funding works. Participants will also learn tips on how to get involved in a research lab if they have not yet found a project. This is also a great time to ask questions!
All workshop dates will be posted in advance of the application going live.
Honors College research grants are designed to allow students to work with a mentor on a project in the mentor’s discipline. Ideally, projects will be initiated by the student or conceived jointly by the student and mentor. For students in the early stages of their development as scholars, however, their work may serve to directly facilitate the mentor’s ongoing research. While a student’s project may directly contribute to the mentor’s research, it must always be remembered that it is the student’s project, not the mentor’s; the student should have a clear sense of involvement and ownership. Honors College research grants are for undergraduate research, not work-study or student employment.
It is very important to find a mentor who will provide guidance and support for the duration of the grant. Through many years of experience, we have found that full-time faculty at the USC-Columbia campus and the Medical School are the most reliable and qualified mentors. As a result, all mentors are required to be full-time faculty members at either of these institutions.
There are many ways to find a mentor. Oftentimes, students simply learn about a professor’s research after taking their class. Alternatively, some students search for keywords on the Office of Undergraduate Research and USCera databases of faculty research interests
Students are also encouraged to explore departmental websites and read research papers written by a prospective mentor — not only will this provide a better insight into a professor’s research, it will also lend credibility to an email inquiry a student may send to a potential mentor.
If a student needs to change mentors after the grant has been approved, they must contact the research program coordinator.
Honors College research grant funding is awarded exclusively as a student stipend, which is disbursed to undergraduate researchers at a rate of $10/hour for up to 150 hours per semester and 300 hours per academic year. Grant applications approved during the fall application cycle provide funding exclusively for the following spring semester. Grants approved during the spring application cycle may provide funding for the following summer, fall and spring semesters.
Students can receive a maximum of $6,000 in Honors College research funding during their time in the SCHC, which includes SCHC research grants, conference presentation grants and senior thesis grants.
As these projects often occur during the academic year, the Honors College research grant can include a flexible schedule.
There are restrictions on how many hours students can work in a week. During weeks in which class is in session, students are allowed to work a maximum of 15 hours a week. During breaks, students are allowed a maximum of 30 hours a week.
Please note- student employees for the university are allowed a total of 20 hours while classes are in session. As a result, students with a university job in addition to their research grant must cap their total time to 20 hours. For example, a student working 10 hours at the provost office would only be allowed to report 10 hours on their research grant.
As these projects often occur during the academic year, there are restrictions on how many hours students can work in a week. During weeks in which class is in session, students are allowed to work a maximum of 15 hours per week. During breaks, students are allowed a maximum of 30 hours per week.
Please note: USC student employees are allowed a total of 20 hours of work per week while classes are in session. As a result, students with a university job in addition to a research grant must cap their total working time per week at 20 hours. This includes work completed for the university job and the research work. For example, a student working 10 hours a week at the provost office would only be allowed to report 10 hours per week on their research grant.
If you are awarded a research grant, you will receive an award email and an offer letter. Once you return your signed offer letter, you will be given access to our university’s payroll system with Ajay Patel as your supervisor. At the end of each week, you will submit a time sheet for approval using USC’s online payroll system. Please note that University of South Carolina employees are paid on a pay lag, so refer to the University Pay Dates page to view the payroll schedule.
The Honors College requires a written report of the results of your project. The Honors College research coordinator will provide additional details on this report to grant recipients through the Blackboard organization. The report is due two weeks prior to the end of the funding period.
Students are strongly encouraged to present their project at the Discover USC fair in April. Some students are also able to co-publish the results of their project in a peer-reviewed journal with their mentor, and, if so, we ask students to notify the Honors College research coordinator of this achievement.
Prior to beginning work on any Honors College research grant, students are required to take a Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) course or equivalent training per their faculty mentor's recommendation. A specific course will be chosen by the student and their mentor. Proof of completion must be uploaded into the SCHC Blackboard Research organization.
Honors College Conference Presentation Grant
The Honors College Conference Presentation Grants are designed to provide funding to Honors College students who are presenting at regional or national academic conferences to present research. If you are interested in applying for an Honors College Conference Presentation Grant, please follow the instructions below and apply. This is also the application you will complete to pay for the cost of printing your conference poster if you have no travel expenses. We review applications on a rolling basis, and you should expect to receive a decision within three weeks of your submission.
You must be:
- a South Carolina Honors College student
- traveling to present research at a national or regional academic conference
You are eligible to be reimbursed partially or fully for:
- airfare (coach) or an economy rental car plus gas
- hotel expenses
- conference fees
- poster printing
You must apply for funding at least three weeks prior to your conference presentation date.
If your application is approved, you will receive an email with details on how to receive reimbursement for your expenses.