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.

“The program allowed me to consider research as a potential career and, more importantly, taught me multiple skills about working in the real world and recovering from challenges!” Read more

Arnav Aggarwal, SPUR 2021

“SPUR gave me a chance to pursue my field of passion and learn from my new mentor.” Read more

Alexandra Vlasenkova, SPUR 2021

“SPUR is a good full-time commitment for the summer. If you like the possibility of pursuing graduate studies after college, this is a terrific opportunity.” Read more

Shaolong (Lorry) Wu, SPUR 2021

Sai-hyun Kim, W20“Overall, SPUR was a great opportunity for me to see what conducting research is like and how to efficiently manage my time. Although it was a bit more difficult this year…I was able to come up with a research question that was testable and meaningful.” Read more

Sai-hyun Kim, SPUR 2020