Wharton Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR)

Summer 2024 Program Description

What is the Wharton Summer Program for Undergraduate Research?

Wharton SPUR is a unique program that provides a highly motivated student the opportunity to develop, design, and complete an independent research project under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Students conduct independent research on Penn’s campus and may connect with other research-minded peers through programs like PURM, SUMR, or Leadership Alliance. Students’ projects culminate into written research papers that will be submitted and reviewed for publication on ScholarlyCommons@Penn.

Students will receive a taxable award of up to $6,000 (paid in installments).¹

What are the program requirements?

Participants are expected to do the following:

  • Spend a minimum of 20 hours per week engaged in their research project and not accept alternative employment exceeding 20 hours per week or take more than one concurrent summer course.
  • Meet with their faculty advisor throughout the summer when mutually convenient and to consistently make appropriate progress on their project.
  • Submit a rough draft of the research paper by mid-August and the final paper (approved by the faculty advisor) at the end of the research assignment, and no later than September 15.
  • Upload the final, approved paper to ScholarlyCommons by no later than September 15.
  • Submit a blog post to communicate your research experience and/or findings to a broader audience (e.g., on this or other Wharton websites) by no later than September 15.
  • Present your research at a symposium in the fall or spring semester following your summer research.

In order to receive the total award installment, the final paper and blog must be submitted to the Undergraduate Division and the final paper must be uploaded to ScholarlyCommons on or before September 15. Non-compliance with the above deadlines and expectations could result in forfeiture of the award.

Eligibility and Application Requirements

All Wharton undergraduates in good standing are eligible. SPUR is only open to Wharton students. Please also note the following:

  • There is no preference for the focus of the research, and projects may be theoretical or applied and may utilize quantitative or qualitative research methods.
  • Applicants must have a faculty member signed on to provide advice on their project.
  • Priority will be given to those working with a Wharton faculty member although other research advisors will be considered and frequently are funded.
  • For information to assist with identifying an advisor with expertise in your area of interest, please visit the Wharton faculty bio pages >>, Wharton research centers (https://www.wharton.upenn.edu/research-centers/), or other Penn pages (https://research.upenn.edu/centers-and-institutes/).
  • A successful proposal should generally include a compelling, well-designed research project including methodology, strong academic achievement by the applicant, and an outstanding essay regarding program participation.

Apply Now

The application deadline is March 14, 2024.

Where can I get more information?

For more information about the program, first, review the SPUR FAQ. If you have additional questions, you may contact Dr. Utsav Schurmans, Director of Research and Scholars Programs (schurman@wharton.upenn.edu).

¹ Monetary awards constitute taxable income. If you are a U.S. citizen, taxes will not be withheld from your award, but you will receive a 1099 tax form from the University of Pennsylvania at the end of the year for tax reporting purposes. If you are an international student, the University will withhold 30% of your award amount for tax purposes, barring any tax treaties that may exist with your home country. International students can find information about Penn’s tax policies at the Office of the Comptroller.

“For my SPUR research, I was fortunate enough to be able to perform observations and conduct survey-style interviews with various members of the nursing stakeholder group throughout the entire nursing chain of command at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC.” Read more

Bridgett Scott, SPUR 2023

“The project also allowed me to develop skills valuable beyond the world of research. Critical thinking became a daily exercise as I read through vast amounts of literature, determining the relevance and credibility of its findings to the research question I aimed to answer.” Read more

Didrik Wiig-Andersen, SPUR 2023

“I gained exposure to how the finances of major corporations function. By working with massive amounts of data, I strengthened my data analytics skills. I also had a lot of fun!” Read more

Eric Yang, SPUR 2023

“This experience has rekindled my interests in possibly exploring further graduating studies in related topics down the line. And I think the technical skills you gain from this research project tie well into any future aspirations.” Read more

Gaurish Gaur, SPUR 2023

In such a research program, you would have the freedom to explore things that you are curious and passionate about. This is also an excellent opportunity for personal and intellectual growth.Read more

Siming He, SPUR 2023