The Oberlin College Research Fellowship (OCRF) Program provides faculty-mentored summer research experiences to talented Oberlin College students from groups underrepresented in colleges and universities in the United States of America.

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The goal of this program is to prepare students to earn advanced degrees and pursue careers in fields such as higher education, medicine, or law. Students in their second year are encouraged to apply. The OCRF Program is open to undergraduates in all fields, disciplines, and majors at Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music.

The application deadline for OCRF is Monday, April 1, 2019.

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To be eligible to apply for the Oberlin College Research Fellowship, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. Sophomore standing as of spring semester;
  2. Good academic standing and cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 or higher; and
  3. At least one (1) of the following:
    • Low-income (Pell Grant eligible)
    • First-generation college student (no parent or guardian has ever been awarded a Bachelor's Degree), or
    • Of color (Black, Latinx, American Indian, Alaskan Native, Pacific Islander, or of Asian descent)
      There is no citizenship requirement for OCRF, and undocumented students with DACA are encouraged to apply.

Fellows receive two (2) consecutive summers of support, mentoring, and funding for student research including:

  1. A stipend of $3,100 (before taxes) per summer,
  2. An additional $350 per summer for research supplies or travel,
  3. On-campus housing covered by the program,
  4. Mentoring from an Oberlin College or Conservatory faculty member,
  5. Professional-development workshops and activities, and
  6. Participation in an annual fall Celebration of Undergraduate Research on Oberlin's campus.

Fellowships will be awarded to students for the cohort beginning summer 2018.

Fellows are required to be in residence in Oberlin during the first summer of the award to participate in OCRF workshops and activities and the Oberlin Summer Research Institute (OSRI) from Saturday, June 2 through Saturday, August 4, 2018.

In order for you to be considered for the fellowship, the following are required:

1. Application Form. Complete the attached form. You and your proposed faculty mentor must each type your own name in the relevant fields at the bottom of the form as an electronic signature or add and electronic signature.

2. Collaborative Research Agreement (~750 words). This is a research statement that you and your proposed faculty mentor should draft collaboratively. The statement should succinctly address the following: a) the purpose of the project, including what you hope to learn or discover and the faculty member’s brief assessment of its potential contribution to the field; b) why you are interested in this research; c) how the research aligns with your proposed faculty mentor’s academic interests or expertise; d) what role you will play in the research project; e) what your preliminary research questions are; f) what methods you might use and why those methods are appropriate for your research aims; and g) a brief work plan that includes a schedule of how your research could be divided over two summers and what you and your proposed faculty mentor anticipate you will produce during those periods of time.

This statement should be: a) drafted by the student, following one or more conversations with the proposed mentor; then b) sent to the proposed mentor for review; and finally c) signed by the student, mentor, and chair or director of the mentor’s department or program. The student and proposed mentor signatures on the attached form represent the faculty member’s commitment to mentor you during the summer and your commitment to take her or his counsel seriously. The signature of the chair or director represents the department or program’s commitment to identifying an alternative mentor should a situation arise–e.g., a late change in the mentor’s summer plans–that would prevent the selected faculty member from serving as a mentor. Each individual must review the agreement and type her or his own name in the relevant field or add an electronic signature.

3. Personal Statement (~500 words). In this essay, address how you arrived at Oberlin, your academic interests and experiences, your future educational and career plans, and your participation in activities that demonstrate your ability to work both independently and collaboratively. Consider how those things align with your research interests.

4. Unofficial Transcript. Include your current unofficial transcript from PRESTO saved as a PDF.

5. Proposed Mentor Statement. A letter from the proposed OCRF faculty mentor addressing all of the following:

  • the soundness of the proposed research project
  • the field(s) and/or discipline(s) in which the proposed research project is located
  • the fit of the proposed research project with the faculty member's own research and academic interests 
  • what contributions the applicant's research stands to make to the field(s) and/or discipline(s) and to the faculty member's own research and teaching
  • the proposed faculty mentor's travel or leave plans for all of summer 2019 and summer 2020
  • the proposed faculty mentor's plans for ensuring that the student receives uninterrupted mentorship, should the mentor be away from campus or on leave during any portion of that time

6. Two Letters of Recommendation. Recommenders should be members of the Oberlin College or Conservatory faculty or staff. At least one recommendation must be from someone who has taught you in a class. Recommenders should know you and your academic work well enough to comment in an informed way on your potential for summer research and ultimately for a professional or academic career. If the proposed faculty mentor of your research project fits that description, she/he/they should be one of your recommenders. In this case, the proposed faculty mentor can address all of the items in number (5) above in her/his/their recommendation letter and need not submit a separate statement.

Personal Interview. As part of the selection process, we may contact you to schedule an interview

All application materials, including letters of recommendation, must be received at the Office of Undergraduate Research no later than 11:59 p.m. on Monday, April 2, 2018. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Student applicants must submit the first four (4) items above, saved as PDF files, in a single email to the Office of Undergraduate Research . Faculty and staff should email letters of recommendation in PDF format directly to the Office of Undergraduate Research at the same address, with the name of the student applicant indicated clearly in the subject line of the email.

If you have questions or would like additional information, please contact Afia Ofori-Mensa, Director, Oberlin College Research Fellowship Program, by e-mail at or by telephone at 440.775.5201 (or extension 55201 on campus).