If you can’t find the answer to your question on this page, please feel free to please feel free to email Dr. Utsav Schurmans, Director of Research and Scholars Programs (

Can I work with more than one faculty advisor?

Yes, each advisor must sign an advisor approval form and must also approve your final written report. You can also have informal advisors who help you but are not formally recognized in your paper as faculty mentors.  You are expected to thank any informal advisors in the acknowledgements section of your paper.

Are you at a disadvantage if you have never had another research experience?

No. It is expected that many applicants will be looking to engage in their first research project.

Is it possible to get independent-study credit?

It is against University policy for you to get credit for a program for which you will be receiving an award.

How much of the summer am I expected to devote to conducting my research?

While you are expected to work the equivalent of at least 20 hours per week for two months, there is flexibility on the timing and duration of your research. Some projects may involve prolonged investigative travel, for example, while others may involve shorter travel with extended time analyzing data at home or at Penn. Recall that you are expected to work the equivalent to at least 20 hours per week for two months.

Is it okay for my SIRE project to be on-going, i.e., can future research be based on the summer project?

Yes – for example, it may be possible for you to continue your research in an independent study. Please be sure to clearly explain in your application what you plan to accomplish while participating in SIRE and how that fits into your long-term research plans.

Can you participate in SIRE as well as University Scholars or another summer research program?

You cannot be paid twice for the same work. You are expected to work approximately 20 hours per week over two months on your SIRE project. You may use the rest of your time for another project, job, or class.

Are faculty members aware of the program?

Faculty members have been informed of the program via email, but you may encounter someone who is unaware of the program. You may refer them to Dr. Schurmans if they have any questions.

Should we contact potential faculty advisors directly?

Yes, applicants are expected to initiate contact with possible faculty advisors. Before you approach a potential advisor, you should have narrowed your research interest and identified specific research questions. The faculty member can help you further refine your proposal.

Can I work with faculty advisors in multiple schools?


Can I work on a project with another student?

Though it is possible for two students to jointly apply, the project must be large enough in scope to justify having more than one researcher. Please note that a joint proposal must clearly state the roles of each student. Joint projects may be conducted by Wharton students only.

What kinds of projects have been carried out in the past?

Please see examples of previous research papers at ScholarlyCommons@Penn.