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Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs

International Senior Thesis Research Grant

The Buffett Institute’s International Senior Thesis Research Grant offers awards of up to $6,000 for eight weeks of independent research on a senior thesis, covering travel and living expenses in locations outside the contiguous U.S. as well as research with Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities, locally and globally. The opportunity is open to undergraduate students across all fields of study during the summer.  

Students who seek support for a shorter period than eight weeks of concentrated research may be considered for a prorated grant. Prorated grants are usually for six or seven weeks of research, as approved by a faculty supervisor. 

The application deadline has been extended until March 20, 2024.

To be eligible for this grant, students must meet the following requirements: 

  • They must be conducting senior thesis research on an international or global issue outside of the contiguous U.S.
  • They must be an undergraduate student at Northwestern University and not graduating any earlier than the end of the Fall 2024 term.
  • They may not be enrolled in summer classes or completing an internship during the eight-week research period.
  • They must not accept any other research grant that covers the eight-week research period.
  • They must be in good academic standing. 

Please be aware that all students who receive funds for research abroad must meet additional requirements set out by Northwestern Buffett’s Office of Global Safety and Security. As non-credit travelers, all student awardees must complete the International Travel Registry and purchase travel medical insurance through GeoBlue. Some research locations may require a Travel Permission Request according to the international travel policy for undergraduate students. These requirements must be met before successful applicants will receive funds, and travel to certain countries may be restricted for health and safety reasons.  

If your proposed research involves collecting data from human subjects (including interviews, surveys, etc.), you will need to obtain Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval before you may begin your project.  The (IRB) is a multidisciplinary committee that reviews research involving human subjects to ensure the rights and welfare of human subjects are protected.  
All Northwestern researchers, including undergraduates, who are involved in the conduct of human subjects research are also required to complete initial human subjects protection training and to re-certify every three years. This training is separate from the application process to receive IRB approval for your research project. If you have questions, please contact your faculty supervisor. 

We highly recommend that applicants also consider applying for the Summer Undergraduate Research Grant offered by the Office of Undergraduate Research. While students can only receive one research grant during this funding period, applying to both programs increases the chances of securing funding for your research project.

Deadline: March 20, 2024

Students can apply via the online applicationThe application requires an endorsement from the student’s faculty supervisor to be considered complete. In the application form, students will provide their faculty member's email address. Once submitted, the faculty member will receive an email notification outlining the next steps. Thus, it is important for students to submit their application well before the deadline and to inform their faculty supervisor in advance that they intend to apply for this grant and include details such as the application deadline and a link to this webpage.  

The Office of Undergraduate Research has a robust set of resources to help students understand how to prepare components of a research proposal. If students have questions about the Buffett Institute’s International Senior Thesis Research Grant specifically, please email Associate Director for Strategic Initiatives Samantha Nissen.

The deadline to apply is March 20, 2024. We aim to notify students of their award decision in early April.


This application requires a faculty endorsement. Once the student submits the application, you will receive a copy of the application along with a link to a short endorsement form for you to complete. We ask that you submit the endorsement by the application deadline, which is March 20, 2024.

We ask that this award be transferred to your department, which will then disburse funds to the student directly in one lump sum at the beginning of summer. If your department is unable to administer this award, we will work with you. If your student is awarded, we will contact you with the next steps then. 

If you have questions, please email Associate Director for Strategic Initiatives Samantha Nissen.