Get a Stipend of up to $4,500 at the University of Chicago in the Smart Scholars Program 2021

Are you an undergraduate student of good standing in any major?

Then submit a proposal for the smart scholars program 2021 in order to be awarded a stipend

worth $4,500 distributed over the course of the academy.

Application Deadline: August 29 2021


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  • Successful proposals will be awarded a $4,500 stipend distributed over the course of the academic year.


Principle Responsibilities:

  • Academic research into one or more objects in the collection of the Smart Museum of Art.
  • Regular meetings with a mentor from any of the Smart Museum’s departments (to be assigned).
  • Successful completion of the proposed project.
  • Hybrid position (on-site at the Smart Museum and independent remote work).


  • Undergraduate student in good standing at the University of Chicago in any major
  • Must have already completed at least one full year of undergraduate studies at the University of Chicago
  • Must be a registered student at the University of Chicago for the current academic year


Preferred Skills

  • Excellent research and communication skills, time management skills, and some training or experience in the proposed area (medium of proposed creative work, program, scholarly essay, etc.). It is helpful if applicants have already completed an introductory Art History course, but this is not a requirement.

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Application Instructions

Application requirements:

(1) Resume or CV (Curriculum Vitae)

(2) 350-word project proposal, including:

     (a) Identification of one or more focal works from the Smart Museum of Art’s collection

     (b) Description of work to result from research: creative work (such as visual art, music, dance, writing), program, scholarly essay, etc.

     (c) Identification and description of any resources needed to complete research and resulting project, if applicable

     (d) Please see the information about Q&A sessions/proposal workshops and contact information below if you have questions about what to include or not include in your proposal narrative (as you craft your proposal, please read about projects completed by Smart Scholars last year on the Smart Museum of Art’s website)

(3) Unofficial transcript (please download an unofficial copy from the Registrar’s office; do not submit a screenshot of your myuchicago page)


  • E-mail your completed application packet (items listed above in the “Application requirements” section) as a single PDF document to Aaron Wilder, Academic Engagement Coordinator,

About the University of Chicago Smart Scholars Program

The Smart Museum of Art supports excellence in undergraduate education at the University of Chicago by expanding opportunities for object-centered inquiry.

The Smart Scholars Program is designed to foster an expanded range of scholarly and creative expressions for undergraduate researchers interested in the visual arts.

This program supports research opportunities at the Smart Museum of Art resulting in an original creative work (such as visual art, music, dance, writing, etc.), program, or scholarly essay.

Students propose their own projects grounded in academic research into one or more objects in the Museum’s collection.

For example, this research can propose utilizing library, database, archive, conservation, materials science laboratory, or another museum’s resources to pursue the realization of the proposed project.

Discover more opportunities from the University of Chicago.

Key Dates and Order of Program

  • Monday, July 26: Call for proposals announced
  • Tuesday, August 3, 4–5 pm Central: Q&A session/proposal workshop #1 | Zoom registration
  • Friday, August 6, 9–10 am Central: Q&A session/proposal workshop #2 | Zoom registration
  • Sunday, August 29, 11:59 pm Central: Proposal submission deadline
  • September: Interviews
  • Monday, September 27: Fall Quarter starts and selected Smart Scholars begin their projects
  • Proposal submission deadline is Sunday, August 29, 2021, by 11:59 pm Central. 
  • Candidates will undergo a thorough review by Smart Museum of Art staff and finalists will be invited to interview.


Program and Venues

  • The program would run at the University of Chicago.
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