Summer Research Grants

summer research grants

Summer Research Grants

The application process for 2020 Summer Research Grants will open in January 2020.  This site will be updated with details then.  If you wish to receive a notification when the process is opened, feel free to sign up for the Center's listserv (email list) here.


The Center aims to nurture a new generation of human rights scholars and practitioners, and to foster innovative and interdisciplinary scholarship about human rights work. The purpose of the grants is to help support Boston College students from various disciplines who are interested in pursuing research in the field of human rights and international justice.  

Grants of varying amounts will be offered to both graduate and undergraduate students. Graduate grants are typically in the area of $1,000-$1,500 an undergraduate grants in the area of $500-$1,000.

Eligibility Requirements

For the undergraduate research grants, preference will be given to proposals from current sophomores and juniors, although proposals from freshmen will also be accepted and given full review.  Seniors are not eligible. Grant for graduate students are intended for students who will be in their program at BC during the following academic year. Applicants must have a minimum 3.2 GPA and a demonstrated commitment to the study of human rights and international justice.

Please note that if an applicant is applying for a grant to do research in conjunction with a study abroad academic program, the proposed research must be separate from the academic work already being done as part of that program.

Kelsey A. Rennebohm Memorial Fellowship

In 2013, the Center established the Kelsey A. Rennebohm Memorial Fellowship.  More information about Kelsey, past recipients, or for how to contribute to the Fellowship fund can be accessed here.

This fellowship will be awarded each year to a student, undergraduate or graduate, whose proposed research or activist scholarship is located at the interface of psychology, mental health, gender, social justice, and human rights.

If you are applying for a summer research grant and wish to be considered for the Rennebohm Fellowship, please indicate that on the application form accessible below.

Grantee Obligations

Recipients of summer research grants commit to deliver the following as part of the terms of the grant:

  • a 5-10 page report detailing their findings due on September 10 of the following fall semester
  • present the results of their summer research project at a campus event during the spring semester of the subsequent academic year (typically mid-March for undergrads, mid-May for grad students)

Institutional Review Board (IRB) requirements

For those proposed research projects involving human subjects, approval from the BC Institutional Review Board (IRB) is required.  Students submitting proposals should not make their own determinations as to whether their research requires IRB review or not.

It is strongly recommended that applicants with human subjects-related proposed research begin to engage the BC Office of Research Protections about the IRB approval process at the time of application for the summer research grant, or before.  The BC research office is happy to take inquiries as you put together your proposal if you have questions along the way.  As well, you should engage your faculty supervisor who has agreed to supervise your proposed research about the process as they also may have experience with the process and can help advise you.

To help further streamline this process, at the time of application submissions, the Center will share the proposals with the BC IRB for their review.  The BC IRB will then reach out to submitting students to counsel them on the Human Subjects review process.

Official approvals may take up to 60 business days per the Office of Research Protection's website (below).  Also, please note that the Center will not disburse funds for proposals selected for funding until either the Human Subjects review process has been completed by the IRB, or when the IRB makes a determination that Human Subjects review is not necessary for the given proposal.

Also important to note for those students proposing to do research related to Native American tribes: many tribes have their own protocols and approvals they require before any research may be done and reported, so it is important that you identify any such considerations and proactively engage tribal leadership in this process to prevent late complications.  The BC Office of Research Protections can also help you to identify such relevant parties.

Here are some important resources concerning the IRB and the Human Subjects review process:


Students who are interested in applying must send application materials by the announced deadline date (2020 date TBA). All materials may be sent electronically, in scanned form where applicable, to, or in hard copy to:

Center for Human Rights and International Justice
Stokes Hall N410
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Ave
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

Any questions on the application process may be directed to Center Assistant Director Timothy Karcz at


Applicants will be notified of decisions by early May.