Summer Scholar Program Guidelines


The primary purpose of the Summer Scholar Program is to support and recognize students engaged in strong independent projects during the summer. Students from all majors may compete for one of thirteen available awards. A Summer Scholar is officially registered for a unit of independent study in a sponsoring academic department. The mission of the program is to create an opportunity for qualified students, working independently under the supervision of a faculty mentor, to develop self-sufficiency and critical thinking skills vital for success in post-graduate years. Summer Scholars meet together at pre-arranged intervals during the summer to report on their progress and results; thus, they forge a learning community as they share their experience with faculty mentors and each other.



Guidance for students writing Summer Scholar Proposals

 Applicants should refer to the proposal writing guidelines found at this link



 Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Student has completed at least 8 units at Roanoke College before beginning the project.
  • Student plans to return to Roanoke College, after completing the summer project, for the fall term.
  • Student has a G.P.A. of 3.0 or higher at the time of application.


The student candidate should seek the guidance of the faculty supervisor in preparing the application materials. The student should be the principal author of the project description and all other application materials.

The proposal consists of the following items:

A completed application form

  • A cover sheet
  • An abstract
  • A project description (see Guidelines for Writing the Project Description)
  • A tentative work schedule/timetable of tasks to be completed and target dates for their completion, including planned meetings with faculty supervisor
  • A working bibliography
  • A letter of support from the faculty supervisor

The student or faculty member submits eight copies of the application to the Director of the Summer Scholar Program by March 15.

The college's Faculty Development Committee screens applications. Decisions are announced by April 1.

Project Requirements

  1. The Summer Scholar research period coincides with Summer Sessions I and II (June and July). Students with projects that require a longer work period may begin as early as mid-May and end as late as the first week of August.
  2. Student Scholars must be able to devote eight to twelve weeks of full-time effort to the project. This means that, during the term of the Summer Scholar award, they are not permitted to hold jobs or to enroll in summer courses other than the independent study for which they will register as part of the program.
  3. The sponsoring faculty member must agree to provide supervision for a minimum of eight weeks. During this time, faculty are free to pursue their own projects and teach summer school. The normal expectation is that a faculty supervisor will be available during the entire eight-week period to consult with the Student Scholar in person; in the case of exceptions, the faculty supervisor should attach a summary of her or his availability and a description of alternate arrangements. Faculty may supervise only one Summer Scholar each year. If two faculty members wish to share supervision of a student, they will divide the stipend of $500. In addition to working with the individual student, each faculty supervisor will be responsible for one or two specific group tasks during the summer (leading a colloquium, giving a talk, directing a social event, and so on).
  4. Students agree to participate in the Summer Scholar Colloquia. The colloquia give Summer Scholars and their faculty supervisors an opportunity to exchange ideas and research experiences. During these gatherings, Summer Scholars will report on the status of their projects. Five colloquia are scheduled during June and July; Summer Scholars are permitted to miss only one. In addition to the colloquia, students may attend any of three optional workshops (topics include using the library for advanced research, preparing an oral presentation, and preparing a poster or PowerPoint presentation).
  5. Modest grants are available on an individual basis for project-related supplies, local travel, and other small needs. Students must submit a written request for these one-time grants, detailing the need for and intended use of the funds.
  6. Summer Scholars are required to make a formal, public presentation of their work. The date set aside for these presentations is typically the Saturday during Family Weekend.
  7. At the conclusion of the program, each Summer Scholar must submit the following items to the Director of the Summer Scholar Program:
  • A copy of the project report, together with appropriate archival material, for inclusion in the Roanoke College Fintel Library archives. Archival materials include creative portfolios, slides or samples of art works, video or audiotapes, and so on. Deadline for submission: September 15.
  • A one-page brief summary of the student's Summer Scholar experience. Due on September 15.

Terms of the Summer Scholar Award

  • Stipend of $2500. If other funds are available to support the project, the summer Scholar award will supplement any stipend from those funds to a total of $2500. Summer Scholar stipends are paid in three installments: $1000 on June 15, $750 on July 15, and $750 upon submission of the final report (deadline is September 15).
  • On-campus housing. Summer Scholars are encouraged to live on campus. Board is not included in the housing award.
  • Tuition-free course credit. Tuition is waived for one unit of independent study.
  • Faculty Supervisor stipend. Faculty receive $500 for supervising a Student Summer Scholar.
  • Honors credit. Students in the Honors Program may, with the approval of the Honors Program Director, use the Student Summer Scholar program to help fulfill their Honors project requirement.


Faculty Development Committee screens Summer Scholar applications and makes the final selection. The number of Summer Scholar awards depends on available annual funding; at the present time, thirteen awards are available.

Student Summer Scholars are formally introduced to Roanoke College faculty, typically, at the last faculty meeting of the academic year.

Criteria for evaluation of Student Summer Scholar applications include the following:

  • Satisfaction of minimum eligibility rules.
  • Quality of the proposal and feasibility of project.
  • Appropriateness of project to sustained, summer-long study.
  • Strength of faculty support and recommendation.

In close contests, preference is given to rising seniors; also, the screening committee aims to distribute positions among the divisions and departments fairly and equitably.