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

What if you want to go on a WIP trip (overlaps the first week of SPUR)?

You may participate in both programs, but you must schedule a meeting with Dr. Schurmans before you leave for WIP.

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

No, SPUR is open to students who may be looking for their first research experience.

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.

Is it okay for my SPUR 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 or as your research thesis. Please be sure to clearly explain in your application what you plan to accomplish in the 10 weeks and how that fits into your long-term research plans.

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

You cannot be paid twice for the same work. You are expected to put in approximately 20 hours of work per week on your SPUR 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 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.

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.

Is it possible for me to do some of my research in another country for part of the time?

The program is designed to be in residence at Penn. Any exceptions to this would need to be discussed with the program director.

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

Students have pursued a wide variety of research questions spanning the departments represented within Wharton as well as interdisciplinary inquiries involving topics in medical care, sustainability, and political economy, among others. Projects have been both quantitative and qualitative.

For examples of previous research papers, please see ScholarlyCommons@Penn.

Examples of research questions include:

  • The development of sales forecasting methods in marketing
  • Equity cost of capital measures in accounting
  • U.S. labor force issues related to immigration
  • The importance within large organizations of interpersonal (informal) networks in management
  • Downside risk measures for the Capital Asset Pricing Model in finance
  • Machine learning methods for solving sequential classification in statistics
  • The marketing, pricing, and benefits of “nutritionally improved” foods in marketing and related fields