Wharton Research Scholars

Wharton Research Scholars is an intensive one-year research program for a select group of students who are interested in conducting research under the supervision of some of Wharton’s preeminent faculty members. As part of the program, participants complete an honors thesis. The course is highly recommended for students interested in pursuing a PhD and/or fellowships, such as Rhodes, Marshall, Schwarzman, and Knight-Hennessy.

Students apply to work on a specific project they propose in consultation with a Wharton faculty member who agrees to act as their faculty mentor. Students are allowed to have more than one faculty mentor provided at least one is a member of the Wharton faculty.

Throughout the year, students convene to discuss progress, strategies, and challenges within their projects. This interaction fosters a strong scholarly community where students can learn from each other’s experience. The research scholars also meet regularly with their faculty mentors who advise the students throughout the year. The program culminates with final presentations and publication of research papers on the University of Pennsylvania Libraries’ ScholarlyCommons.

The year-long WRS program, offered in fall/spring or spring/fall sections, is listed as WH 2990: Wharton Honors Thesis Research Seminar (0.5 CU each semester) and can count as a business breadth, unrestricted elective, extra course, or, with permission from the faculty mentor’s department, a concentration course.

Eligibility and Requirements

  • Sophomores and juniors are welcome to apply.
  • Applicants should have a demonstrated interest and skill set necessary to engage in research. (While there are no prerequisite courses for WH 2990, WH 1500: Evaluating Evidence is a recommended introduction to all aspects of business research for students with limited research experience.)
  • Students are required to identify a project in consultation with a faculty mentor.
  • Students are required to find at least one Wharton faculty mentor who agrees to provide guidance throughout the project.

How to Apply

To apply, students submit a brief research proposal, a description of their qualifications to undertake a Wharton honors thesis, and a formal faculty advisor agreement the semester before the start of the course.

Applications for fall 2024/spring 2025 are now being accepted on a rolling basis (provided space is still available) until the last day of classes in the Spring semester (May 1, 2024).


Program Contacts

Dr. Utsav Schurmans, Director, administers the program. Dr. Catherine Schrand, Faculty Director, provides program oversight.