Undergraduate Summer Research Internships

The UT Knoxville Chancellor’s Office and Office of Research & Engagement fund a summer internship program to promote research and creative activity among undergraduate students. All current full-time undergraduate students enrolled at the Knoxville campus are eligible to apply. Students graduating in May or August 2014 are not eligible.

Up to 75 internships of up to $1,800 each will be awarded to support students who will work on a research or creative project with a UT Knoxville faculty mentor in the summer of 2014. Students who complete a final project in one of three variations will be awarded an additional $200.  These final projects include 1) a 200-word abstract for a presentation at the Undergraduate Research Symposium held in Spring 2015, 2) a draft poster to be presented at the Exhibition of Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement held in Spring 2015, or 3) an application to a national scholarship or fellowship program.

The role of the faculty mentor is paramount as they will provide guidance in the choice of a project and in the practice of professional approaches and methods. Projects may be a student’s undergraduate thesis, a part of the faculty mentor’s research program, another research project, or an ongoing project begun previously. The key is that each student be involved in scholarly work independent of a classroom setting. Such work may be research or it may be a creative activity involving the fine arts. Please note: this internship can be applied to an international research project as long as a faculty mentor at UT is involved.


  • Students must first obtain a faculty mentor, who will assist in the choice of a topic, completion of the proposal form, and pursuit and completion of the proposed project.
  • Students will be paid $15/hour during their summer internship, and payment is administered by their department.  All work must be conducted between May 1 and August 19, 2014.
  • At the conclusion of the summer, students must submit a final project — a 200-word abstract for a presentation at the Undergraduate Research Symposium held in Spring 2015, a draft poster to be presented at the Exhibition of Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement held in Spring 2015, or an application to a national scholarship or fellowship program — to spound@utk.edu at the conclusion of the internship and no later than the first day of classes, August 20, 2013.  With completion of this final project, the student will be awarded an additional $200.
  • Students funded by this program agree to present their results at the annual Exhibition of Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement, or another suitable public forum, such as a the Undergraduate Research Symposium or a professional meeting in the student’s academic field.

How to Apply

An electronic application has been created this year.  Visit  https://webappsportal.dii.utk.edu/UndergradResearchInternship/ to begin your application.  You can save the document and return to make changes prior to submission.  The deadline for student applications is February 14, 2014, and our goal is to announce internship recipients soon after spring break.  The application includes your entry form, which includes your GPA, and a two-page research proposal.   Upon submission, the application will be forwarded to your faculty mentor for approval.

To aid the proposal process, we offer the following writing guidelines.

Here is an easy template for your convenience:

            UTK SUR Internship Grant Application_2014 (2)


Awards of internships will be based on merit.  A faculty committee comprised of domain experts will review proposals and determine the internship recipients and level of funding. However, please note that reviewers may not always come from your specific discipline. Particular attention will be given to supporting a broad range of disciplines across the UT campus. You and your mentor should read the following criteria as you prepare your application. Your application may receive a maximum of 25 points from each reviewer. Please note that all applicants will receive reviewers’ comments.

Proposal Narrative: 14 points

Describe your research project, scholarly, and/or creative work; its purpose; aims; significance; iterative process; completion criteria to ensure your work is accomplished as proposed; resources needed and its allocation; and timeframe.

  • Proposal is well written, well defined, and convincing
  • Proposal is complete; all parts are clearly explained
  • The project is manageable and appropriate for the timeframe
  • Resources are well allocated

Educational Benefit and Implications: 6 points

Describe the educational benefits and/or implications of the research project and/or creative work in your discipline and dissemination intentions such as applications to national scholarships, organizations, and/or fellowships

  • Qualifications, preparation, and experience of the student are adequate for carrying out the project
  • Intent to apply to national scholarships and/or fellowships

Faculty mentor(s) impact: 5 points

Describe the faculty mentor’s involvement in the proposed project, why it matters to you, how it fits into your own academic journey, why you are passionate about it; describe your qualifications, preparation, and experiences for completing the project.

Describe the faculty mentor(s) impact including the relation between the your project and the faculty mentor’s own research, scholarly, or creative work or areas of expertise; the mentor’s past or present experience supervising you in coursework, research, or independent work; how the mentor has prepared you to undertake the project in the time period allowed; and/or significance of the project and the project’s potential educational value for you.

  • The mentor’s past or present experience supervising the student in coursework, research, or independent work
  • Preparation of the student to undertake the project in the time period allowed
  • Significance of the project and its potential educational value for the student
  • Relationships between the student’s project and the faculty mentor’s own research, scholarly, or creative work or areas of expertise


  • Students who are chosen for an internship shall receive and complete an Internship Acceptance form which should be submitted to Sharon Pound at spound@utk.edu, outlining the details of the internship.
  • Upon receipt of the Internship Acceptance form, the department contact will be notified and will complete the process to hire the student in an Intern position with a subarea of Student: Fellow/Training. This will be an hourly paid position ($15/hour). The earliest possible date to receive payment will be May 31. Any delays in the hiring process could delay payment.
  • The amount and timing of payments will be in accordance to the approved detailed work plan.
  • Faculty mentors shall notify the Office of Research in the event that students are not meeting the requirements of the internship. Payments to the interns will be reduced as appropriate.
  • Departments should provide Payroll Distribution Reports as documentation of the amount paid for the internships to Marsha Jennings at mcox21@utk.edu.  The Office of Research & Engagement will then provide funding to the departments for the actual amounts paid to the Interns, not to exceed the level of funding awarded.  Documentation for payments made to students in FY14 should be submitted by July 7, 2014 for reimbursement in FY14.  Remaining payments up to the awarded amount will be reimbursed in FY15 once documentation is submitted.  Departments will not be reimbursed for work done outside of the program dates of May 1 through August 19, 2014.