Honors Research Assistant Fellowships

Honors Research Assistant Fellowships

Honors Research Assistant Fellowships help fund your experience working on a faculty member's research project or on your own project under the close guidance of a faculty member.

The fellowships are intended to help prepare you to undertake your own future research projects and to provide supplemental financial assistance of up to $500 a semester. These are competitive awards for which you must submit an application through CHC PATHS.



Students are paid the Massachusetts minimum wage through the University’s Student Hourly Payroll system, and student hours are reported through the Faculty Sponsor’s department. Fellowships may be approved for up to $500 per semester.

PLEASE NOTE: Fellowships are one-time awards and are not automatically awarded in subsequent semesters. You must follow the online application process for each semester you plan to apply.



Applicants must be Commonwealth Honors College students in good academic standing (i.e., minimum cumulative GPA of 3.400). You may apply as early as your second semester at UMass Amherst. Seniors and rising seniors are not eligible to apply.

You may receive a fellowship for work done through either an approved stand-alone Honors Independent Study or an Honors Independent Study attached to non-honors root course.


Faculty Sponsor

The Faculty Sponsor must be a member of the faculty. Teaching Assistants and graduate students may not serve as Faculty Sponsors.


Application Process

The application process is two-part, requiring both you and the Faculty Sponsor to submit materials. You must initiate the process by recruiting a Faculty Sponsor and writing an essay. The Faculty Sponsor must review and comment on your essay before you upload the document. Since applications and proposals may not be revised online, you must communicate with your Faculty Sponsors regarding revisions before you submit your proposal. The Faculty Sponsor must write a project description and a letter of endorsement and upload those documents along with a curriculum vitae (CV).

Applications without the Faculty Sponsor's supporting documents cannot be considered for funding.

Applications must be submitted using CHC PATHS.


Application Requirements

Your application must include an essay of at least 300 words that describes what you hope to accomplish academically and personally through the fellowship. If you propose an independent project, you must provide a project description. Please note: application information may be used for a press release.

The Faculty Sponsor must upload a letter of endorsement and a CV, and provide a project description of at least 300-500 words (limit 700 total characters) describing the:

  • Overall scope of the project and the student’s role
  • Academic experience the student will receive
  • Amount and type of supervision the student will receive
  • Approximate number of hours per week the student will spend on the project



The selection process is competitive. Independent Faculty Reviewers will evaluate each joint application and evaluate the level of proposed mentorship and supervision and the student’s personal commitment to develop academically and to gain skills and training as preparation for future research projects.



Online applications are accepted the last week of March for disbursement during the following fall, and in early October for disbursement during the spring.

Refer to CHC PATHS for the exact deadlines for submission of proposals.

The March deadline is for freshmen and sophomores applying for fall semester (when students will be sophomores and juniors). The October deadline is for sophomores and juniors applying for spring semester.

The Faculty Sponsor deadline is seven days after the student application deadline. Faculty Sponsors must submit their supporting documents online to complete the application.

You and your Faculty Sponsors will be notified of selection decisions before the start of the new semester.

For additional information or questions, please contact the CHC Research Office



  • Begin by carefully reading the Research Assistant Fellowship criteria and instructions, above.
  • Identify a Faculty Sponsor AT LEAST one month before the deadline.
  • Print out the Research Assistant Fellowship Application Instructions and bring them with you when you meet with your Faculty Sponsor.
  • AFTER speaking with your Faculty Sponsor about your project, begin writing your fellowship application essay.
  • Give your Faculty Sponsor enough time BEFORE the deadline to review the essay, comment, and advise you on revisions.
  • Get explicit final approval of your proposal from your Faculty Sponsor BEFORE uploading the essay.
  • Once submitted, the proposal cannot be revised by you or Faculty Sponsor.
  • Begin the application in CHC PATHS. (You, the student, should initiate this.)
  • As soon as you have submitted your application, let your Faculty Sponsor know to be on the lookout for an automatic notification email from CHC PATHS that contains a link to the proposal system. As these notification emails sometimes end up in a spam folder, it is a good idea to follow up with your Faculty Sponsor.
  • Ensure your Faculty Sponsor has uploaded the letter of support and curriculum vitae (CV) and project description within the seven-day deadline.


A University of Massachusetts students looks at a computer

Learn about the variety of competitive scholarships and research grants offered through Commonwealth Honors College and throughout campus. 

View a list of scholarships generously funded by alumni, parents, and friends of the Honors College.

Honors Research Grants support your own research project or creative work under the guidance of a Faculty Sponsor. These competitive funds also teach you how to gain grant application skills and are often used to fund Honors Thesis projects.