Smart Scholars Program

Applications are now closed. We will update this page and announce widely the 2019-2020 program in SU19.

The 2018-2019 Smart Scholars Program supports research opportunities at the Smart Museum of Art in close collaboration with curatorial and research staff and affiliated faculty. The museum also promotes excellence in undergraduate education at the University of Chicago by expanding opportunities for object-centered inquiry. The Smart Scholars Program is designed to foster an expanded range of scholarly and creative expressions for undergraduate researchers interested in the visual arts. Completion of the program will result in an original creative work (of visual art, music, dance, writing), exhibition, program, or scholarly essay. 

Program Expectations: Scholars will undertake academic research (library, database, archive, conservation, materials science laboratory, or other museums) into one or more objects at the Smart Museum of Art; regular meetings with a mentor from any of the museum’s departments (to be assigned); successful completion of proposed project. Scholars are expected to dedicate at least 10 hours per week to the program. 


  • Third- and fourth-year undergraduates from any major, in good standing at the University of Chicago.
  • Excellent research and communication skills; time-management skills

Grant funding: Candidates may apply for one, two, or three-quarter grants in the amount $1500 per quarter. Scholars are also eligible for a $1500 research travel stipend requiring a budget and schedule at the time of application.

Application Process: 

You will submit your complete application materials ONLINE HERE including uploading a single pdf file that includes all of the following: 

  • (1) Current academic CV (it can be more than two pages)
  • (2) 350 Project Proposal, accompanied by a list of one or more focal works from the SMART's art collection. You should consult the collection here:
  • (3) Names, titles, and emails of two faculty references (one of whom should be willing to act as secondary academic advisor for the proposed project)
  • (4) Unofficial Transcript (please download an unofficial copy from the registrars office; do not submit a screen shot of your myuchicago page)
  • (5) Budget and timeline for travel (if proposing travel for research; up to $1500)

Candidates will undergo a thorough review by SMART museum staff and finalists will be invited to interview with their research mentor. 

PLEASE DO NOT SUBMIT ANY MATERIALS DIRECTLY TO THE Smart Museum or its staff. This includes letters of reference; if you do so, your letters will be automatically deleted and your application no longer considered. 

If you have any questions or difficulties uploading your application materials, please contact Nichole Fazio, Director of CCRF, at

APPLICATIONS NOW CLOSED. Deadline: Application review will begin on October 19, 2018. 

A program designed and funded through a collaboration between the Feitler Center for Academic Inquiry, the SMART Museum, the Humanities Collegiate Division and the College Center for Research & Fellowships (CCRF).