Wharton Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR)

Summer 2023 Program Description

What is the Wharton Summer Program for Undergraduate Research?

Wharton SPUR is a unique program that provides a select group of up to 10 highly motivated students an opportunity to design and perform in-depth research over a 10-week period in the summer under the guidance of some of Wharton’s preeminent faculty members.  Additionally, the program forms a community of scholars in which students can hear research presentations by faculty members and doctoral students, learn about resources for research, and learn vicariously about other areas of inquiry through the sharing of research experiences. Students’ projects culminate in oral presentations and written research papers that will be submitted and reviewed for publication on ScholarlyCommons@Penn.

SPUR will run early June to early August 2022. Participants will meet bi-weekly with their faculty advisors (or as mutually convenient, consistent with making appropriate progress on their projects), meet with other SPUR scholars to hear research presentations and present their own progress, and submit a final research paper (approved by the faculty advisor). Students will receive a taxable award of $3,000 (paid in installments).¹

What are the program requirements?

Participants will perform a research project during the program period under the guidance of their designated faculty advisor, and meet with the advisor on a bi-weekly basis (or as mutually convenient, consistent with making appropriate progress on the project). In addition, 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 during the 10-week period of residence.
  • Give an oral presentation of work to date at the end of the residence period.
  • 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.

How do students apply?

All Wharton undergraduates in good standing are eligible. SPUR is only open to Wharton students.

There is no preference for the focus of the research or the kind of research project as long as the proposed project falls within program guidelines.  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. For information to assist with identifying a faculty advisor with expertise in your area of interest, please visit the Wharton faculty bio pages >>

A successful proposal should generally include a compelling, well-designed research project, including methodology for the 10-week program, strong academic achievement by the applicant, and an outstanding essay regarding program participation.

The application deadline is March 16, 2023.

Applications may continue to be accepted after the initial deadline on a space-available basis. Email your interest to Dr. Utsav Schurmans at schurman@wharton.upenn.edu.

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