Senior Thesis Funding


The Department of African American Studies (AAS) offers senior thesis research grants to Princeton students who plan to research the historic achievements and struggles of African-descended people in this country, and their relation to others around the world.

Up to $3,000 for AAS concentrators 

Up to $750 for AAS certificate students

Up to $500 for all other currently enrolled Princeton seniors

$500 awards available to Senior Colloquium participants (with opportunity to apply for $250 in additional funding)

How to Apply

Your application must be made through SAFE.  The application will ask for a full account of your research proposal, a detailed budget, and a planned itinerary.  You will also be asked to provide the name of your thesis adviser. If your adviser has not yet been assigned, you may ask the faculty member who you hope to advise your thesis to evaluate your project; if in doubt please consult with your departmental representative about who might be the best person to evaluate your proposal.  No project will be funded without a strong faculty endorsement. We strongly encourage you to take the time to submit a thoughtful and thorough proposal for one or all rounds of funding for which you are eligible. Please be sure to read the application carefully and complete it in its entirety.

For instructions, tips and answers to frequently asked questions, please visit User Resources for the Students Activities Funding Engine (link is external) and search under resources for students and groups.


Budget Preparation and Justification

Please take care to develop a thorough, accurate, and reasonable budget and justify your estimated costs in your project statement. You are encouraged to consult the list of allowable expenses below when building your budget.

Expenses Covered

Costs are expected to be moderate; you are responsible for researching competitive pricing in order to maintain reasonable costs.

  • Travel to research sites (unless the site is within 25 miles of your home town or country and/or on the State Department warning list):Concur travel request approval is required for domestic and international travel no later than one week prior to research (you should submit well in advance). For a list of restrictions regarding the rental or use of vehicles while on University-sponsored domestic and international trips, see the University Travel website.
  • Visa applications
  • Weekly living expenses: food (meal budget is limited to $25 per day), accommodation and local transportation (off-campus only and expected to be through public transport unless safety is a concern).
  • Vaccinations and medications for vaccine-preventable diseases and other diseases you might be at risk for at your destination.
  • Purchase of local phone or SIM card (covered only when safety is a concern and limited to local research-related or emergency calls)
  • Books (covered only when they are not owned by the University or when the University decides it will not purchase them for the library)
  • Photocopying
  • Payments to Human Subjects: departmental and IRB approvalrequired
  • Consumable laboratory supplies not covered by an existing lab grant
  • Off-campus laboratory data acquisition
  • Software specific to your research project not available through your department

Expenses Not Covered

  • Overnight stay in New York City and Philadelphia
  • Purchase of capital equipment such as binoculars, recording or electronic machinery (we may cover rental costs)
  • General laboratory equipment
  • Transcription services
  • Payment to individuals for services rendered (with the exception of human subjects)
  • Travel to home town or country
  • Entertainment and/or personal expenses
  • Tuition for instructional programs
  • Passport applications
  • Thesis binding
  • Although not covered by your research grant, we strongly recommend travel insurance. If your research destination is added to the State Department warning list prior to travel, or if the University deems the destination unsafe, you will be responsible for returning the total award because the University cannot fund student travel in these circumstances.


Application Support

Please consult the central calendar PURC to learn about information sessions, workshops, and other resources made available in support of the senior thesis funding application. For answers to frequently asked questions regarding the SAFE submission process, please visit the SAFE Student FAQ (link is external).

Review and Award Process

Once the deadline of your earliest funding opportunity has passed, the faculty member you have listed as your adviser will be automatically notified and directed to log in to answer a series of evaluative questions about your proposal. If you are planning to apply for funds, speak with your adviser as soon as possible about your application — the notification of your application should not be their first indication of their involvement with your intended research.

Your application and your adviser’s evaluation will be reviewed by your departmental representative, who will answer a short series of evaluative questions.

Applications without both an adviser and a departmental representative evaluation will not be considered, nor will late submissions.

Students who are awarded funding for travel must do the following before funds will be released:

  • Register their travel on the travel database prior to receiving funding
  • Contact UHS/Travel Medicine and make an appointment well in advance of departure if traveling to a country which requires immunizations
  • Review thoroughly the information on the travel website for undergraduate students
  • The University does not sponsor undergraduate travel to countries on the US State Department travel warning list. Students who have a compelling academic reason for traveling to a country on the State Department travel warning list may request consideration through the travel exemption process.

Financial Information

The timing of your activity may not allow you to be in receipt of the funds before research commences and until you fulfill all requirements. It is recommended that you begin the process in advance. To expedite this, we suggest that you establish direct deposit (link is external)with the University as soon as you submit your proposal, if applicable, submit for IRB or IACUC approval(link is external), and submit a travel request through Concur(link is external).

Post Project Requirements (PPR)

Once your research is complete, you will need to log into SAFE (link is external), go to “My Projects,” and choose “Complete My Project” from the Actions menu on the right. On this page, you will need to enter the amount you actually spent for each expense type in the “Actual Amount” column, upload an itemized list of your actual expenditures (including date, amount (in foreign and US currency), vendor name and expense type category) and submit ALL receipts. All approved expenses must be substantiated with receipts uploaded to SAFE (do not upload receipts in Concur).


In addition to your expense report, you must upload a 1-2 paragraph (< 300 words) summary of your thesis research in SAFE. The summary should be a narrative account of the research you undertook with the support of AAS’s award, any findings that either confirmed or changed your hypothesis, and efforts remaining to complete your research.

If you do not use all of your award for thesis research, you will be expected to return the balance via a check or money order made out to “Princeton University” to the Department of African American Studies located at Stanhope Hall.

You should complete your PPR within 30 days of the completion of your research activities.


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Upcoming Events

Anita Hill Lecture
Apr 10, 2019 @ 4:30 pm