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Franke Undergraduate Application

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Thurs., May 2, 2024 (11:59pm)
*With recommendation letter due the following day

Undergraduate Franke Fellowship for Innovative Humanities Scholarship for 2024-2025

The Kaplan Humanities Institute offers Franke Undergraduate Fellowships for students who have devised innovative and promising humanities projects for their senior year. For this highly selective capstone experience, Franke Undergraduate Fellows will have the opportunity to enhance their projects by playing a significant role in the interdisciplinary community of the Humanities Institute. They will discuss vital issues and ideas with faculty and graduate students at weekly lunch colloquia; meet renowned scholars and artists; and present their work at the annual Future Directions Forum. 


To be eligible for a Franke Undergraduate Fellowship, a student must be:

Application instructions
Application documents
Letter of recommendation

Your application must include a letter of recommendation from the faculty advisor who will supervise your year-long project. Recommendations are due one day after the application submission date. We suggest that you give your recommender advance notice so they are ready to submit their letter by this date.

In the application portal, you will enter your recommender's name and email address. After you submit your online application, this person will be automatically emailed instructions for uploading their letter. Please alert them that the automated email comes from "Jill Mannor at Smartsheet" so they know that it is for this competition!

Submitting your application

Please complete the form fields and submit your complete application materials to this link:


FAQs (some new ones added 4/10/24!)
I’m writing an honors thesis for my home department. Is the Franke Undergraduate Fellowship open to students whose humanities research is for their honors thesis, or is it for students doing research independently?
  • The Franke is a self-standing fellowship within the Kaplan Institute, designed to provide interdisciplinary engagement and support for each student's own research project. Thus, your project can be part of an honors program, or it can be independent; you do not need to have separate research projects. The key is to make sure you have a dedicated faculty advisor to direct your project content from within your home discipline. 
Can my project be an extension of my Undergraduate Research Grant?
  • Yes, your project can be an extension of work you've already done via the Undergrad Research Grant. It does, however, need to be ongoing research (that is, you must actively work on the project throughout the year [2024-2025] with a faculty advisor and cannot just submit a project you've already finished).
How does the HUM 398 seminar compare to my department's thesis seminar content?
  • The HUM 398 seminar is geared to looking at interdisciplinarity, research writing, and the humanities as a discipline—its connection to democracy, its role in liberal arts education, etc. A major focus of the winter session is learning skills of academic presentation as part of preparing the fellow's work for the Future Directions Forum. Thus, HUM 398 is designed to complement your home department training, not duplicate (or replace) it.
What is the meeting schedule for HUM 398?
  • Meeting times for HUM 398 (both fall and winter) are set based on the schedules of the Franke Fellows and instructor. Franke Fellows are also expected to attend Kaplan's weekly lunch colloquia from 12 - 1:30pm on Wednesdays.

Are creative projects eligible for the Franke Fellowship?

  • Most Franke projects have been research topics aligned with specific humanities disciplines, but several have had creative elements or structures to them. Basically, if the project is a creative one (e.g., a screenplay, a creative writing product or portfolio, a film, etc.) you must be able to show its intellectual stakes and contributions. In your application narrative, it will be important for you to describe the elements of inquiry you plan to pursue regarding the project. In other words, the project should not simply be a personal creative production. Your project advisor should be able to help you craft a description that addresses the elements of a humanities research project. And it's good to discuss your ideas with them because the application requires a recommendation letter from the faculty advisor that would supervise your project for the entire academic year.

Tell me more about the faculty project supervisor and recommendation letter.

  • The Franke Fellowship is designed to immerse the fellows in the scholarly community of the Kaplan Institute and to enhance your project, but not to replace disciplinary-specific oversight of your research. Thus, you need to have a faculty advisor on your project to supervise your research for the entire year. This advisor will be the person that submits a recommendation letter as part of your application file. It's a good idea to talk through your project—and share your application materials—with them and also make sure they are aware of the deadline to submit their letter. Recommendation letters that prove most helpful to the review committee are those that speak to the student's passion/curiosity for their research topic; the student's ability to take initiative in creating an excellent scholarly project; and whether the student would be a good fit for engaging in interdisciplinary conversations at the Kaplan Institute.
Any other questions?

If you have any questions, or would like to see sample research statements, please contact Jill Mannor at