The Marcus Undergraduate Research Fellowship

The Marcus Undergraduate Research Fellowship award supports research and creative activity conducted by undergraduate students in partnership with a faculty mentor. Recipients of the Marcus Fellowship will be part of a cohort of fellows engaged in programming that supports research throughout the course of the fellowship. This fellowship opportunity is aimed at undergraduates interested in working closely with a faculty member to develop, complete and present a research project.

Students from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences are encouraged to apply. These fellowships aim to enrich student learning rather than to reward past performance.

Deadline for submission: Typically March or April

Award amount: $4,000 ($3,000 to student, $1,000 to faculty mentor)

Timeline: Awardees are typically notified by the end of the spring semester. The Marcus Fellowship begins in the following fall and extends through spring of the following year. Research will primarily take place during the fall semester.

Student Eligibility

  • Students must be undergraduates who are majors in the College of Liberal & Creative Arts.
  • Students must be enrolled during both the fall and spring semesters of the awarded academic year.

Faculty Eligibility

  • The faculty mentor must be a tenured or tenure-track full-time faculty member in the College of Liberal & Creative Arts.
  • The faculty member must agree to mentor the student projects across a range of research or creative activities relevant to the discipline including project development and presentation of results.

Project Requirements and Expectations

Receiving Units

  • Projects may be in conjunction with or independent of existing, scheduled coursework
  • If independent, then the project may lead to course credits (e.g., 699 units)
  • If in conjunction with a course then the project must involve significant activity beyond the course requirements

All recipients of the Marcus Fellowship are expected to participate in the following activities:

  • An orientation event or periodic meetings among the Marcus Fellows, faculty mentors and program coordinator
  • Preparation workshops and practice presentations before attending conference
  • An outreach event to connect with potential future applicants
  • A recognition event near the end of the awarded academic year
  • Recognition and announcement at the Showcase event held in May of the awarded year


Student recipients are expected to attend at least one conference to present their work; this may be a student research conference such as the LCA Undergraduate Research Showcase, or a student section of a professional conference.

Preparing a Proposal

  1. Interested students should approach a faculty member with a project in mind and ask whether the faculty member is willing to serve a mentor for the project. Students should provide the faculty member with this document at the first meeting.
  2. The student, under the guidance and supervision of the faculty mentor, will prepare the proposal for submission. Keep in mind that proposals may take several weeks to develop and complete.

Components of the Proposal:

The PDF document containing the research proposal will be written in Times 12 font, single-spaced, and with one-inch margins. The document should contain the following parts labeled according to the print in bold:

  1. Title of the Project: The title of the project should describe the project succinctly.
  2. Research Question or Project Goal: (1 sentence)
  3. Abstract: (100-150 words)
  4. Personal Statement: This section includes the student’s academic interests and goals and any personal information the student and faculty mentor think would be useful to convey to the review committee. (maximum 500 words)
  5. Project Proposal Narrative: In this section, the student introduces the project, states the research question, describes the methods that will be used, and explains the value of the project (maximum 1,000 words)
  6. Timeline: This section provides a proposed timeline for the project from beginning to end, including mentor meetings, tasks associated with the project, and completion dates for the various activities. (maximum 1 page)
  7. Bibliography (optional): Provide a list of sources referenced in the proposal in the format and style expected in your discipline.
  8. Unofficial Transcript: For SFSU coursework only.
  9. Course status – Is the project independent or part of a course? (If yes, then in one paragraph identify all of the activities that are beyond the course requirements)
  10. Other similar grants and awards – please list other awards and scholarships you are receiving or applying for (e.g., the CSU Pre-Doctoral Program)
  11. Faculty statement: This section is prepared by the faculty mentor and explains the merits of the project, the likelihood the project can be completed in the timeline provided, describes the mentoring plan (e.g., frequency of meetings), and other information the faculty member thinks reviewers might find helpful (maximum 500 words)

Criteria for Proposal Evaluation:

  1. overall quality and clarity of the proposal
  2. realistic scope of the project and likelihood of completion
  3. potential impact on student, the value of personal outcomes
  4. clear evidence of a student-initiated project
  5. level of faculty collaboration, as described in the timeline and faculty statement
  6. student preparation, evidence of the training necessary to conduct the activity

2020 – 2021 Marcus Research Fellowship Grant Winners

  • “A Price on Pride: Understanding the Commoditization of the Queer Identity in San Francisco.” Student: Maximilian DeNembo (School of Design). Mentor: Hsiao-Yun Chu.
  • “Defining Rurality: An Exploration of the Rural-Urban Connection in Different Parts of the United States.” Student: Fiona DeWitt (Political Science Department). Mentor: Rebecca Eissler.
  • “Explorations of Gesticulation-Based Upper Limb Appliances.” Student: Levi Gilbert (School of Design). Mentor: Silvan Linn.
  • “Everyday HEROs: Public Health Research during COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place.” Student: Gurjot Gill (Anthropology Department). Mentor: Peter Biella.
  • “Objectivity and Epistemic Commitment: Polanyi’s Critique of Reductionism.” Student: Aydin Jang (Philosophy Department). Mentor: Arizoo Islami.
  • “Korean American Cinema (1990s – Present): Confronting History and Myths in the Diaspora.” Student: B. Kim (School of Cinema). Mentor: Scott Boswell.
  • “Attainability of Official CSU Intended Outcomes: A Student Experience-Based Study.” Student: Ysenia Martinez (School of Design). Mentor: Tara Lockhart.
  • “Decline of the Latino Media in the San Francisco Bay Area.” Student: Adriana Morga Oregel (Journalism Department). Mentor: Laura Moorhead.
  • “The Semiotics of Power: Linguistic Structures of Neoliberal Hegemony.” Student: Mikey Pagan (School of Humanities and Liberal Studies). Mentor: Teresa Pratt.

View previous Marcus Research Fellowship Grant Winners

Logo: The George and Judy Marcus Fund for Excellence in the Liberal Arts