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Summer Undergraduate Research Internships

The UT Knoxville Office of Undergraduate Research funds 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 2021 are not eligible.

Multiple internships of up to $1,900 each will be awarded to support students who will work on a research or creative project with a UT, Knoxville or UTIA faculty mentor in the summer of 2020. (These funds are paid through departmental payroll at up to $15/hr.) Students who participate in the fall research celebration, Discovery Day, and display their research through a poster will be awarded an additional $100 through departmental payroll.

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.  Faculty mentors will receive $400 for supplies.


  • 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 up to $15/hour during their summer internship, and payment is administered by their department.
  • At the conclusion of the summer, students must submit a digital copy of their poster to be presented at the fall research celebration, Discovery Day.  With completion of this final project, the student will be awarded an additional $100 through departmental payroll. Posters must be submitted to
  • Students funded by this program agree to present their results at the annual fall research celebration, Discovery Day.

How to Apply

After January 5, 2021, visit the Internship Application site to begin. You can save the document and return to make changes prior to submission. The deadline for student applications is February 12, 2021, with the ideal announcement of recipients prior to spring break. The application includes your entry form 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.

View the Summer Research Internship Judging Rubric


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. Traditionally, applications receiving funding have received a 3 or 4 in each category.

Proposal Narrative (0-4 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 time frame.

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

Educational Benefit and Implications (0-4 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  (0-4 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 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
  • Relationship 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, 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 June 2. Any delays in the hiring process could delay payment.
  • The funds will be transferred to the department for dispersal to the student through biweekly payroll.
  • Departments will not be reimbursed for work done outside of the program dates.  Summer 2021 program dates TBD.

Need more information?

Plan to attend the Last Minute Summer Opportunities/Summer Research Internship Seminar. Time and location TBD.

Register for this seminar