Grant Proposal Guidelines

The Libby & Douglass Cater Society offers Junior Fellows an opportunity to obtain grants to pursue independent research projects or internships that will enrich and deepen their educational experience at Washington College.

As members of the Cater Society, Junior Fellows may request funding to help support the specific project or internship they wish to undertake. The purpose of the funding proposal is to help the Advisory Council evaluate and prioritize requests for financial support so that the Society can support as many worthy projects as possible. In making your proposal, please estimate your financial needs conservatively, asking for no more than you really need so that your classmates may also have an opportunity to have their projects funded.  Proposals must include the signature of a Washington College faculty member who, ideally, has helped you design your research and endorses your project. 

You must use the standard online application form. Your application must include the following items:

Provide a general understanding of the nature of the project you are proposing.

Explain whether you will be undertaking research, working on a creative project, undertaking an internship, participating in a community service project, etc. Indicate how you became interested in doing the project, any preliminary work you have already completed, and how the proposed project will contribute to your holistic education in the liberal arts.

Your explanation should be sufficiently detailed so as to enable the Advisory Council to understand exactly what you will be doing. You should also explain the educational value of doing the project, not only for yourself, but also for the Society and the broader community of which it is part. Your goal is to persuade the Council that your project is intrinsically important.

Define the extent of your inquiry. If you will be doing an internship, indicate whether it will be part- or full-time and how long it will last. If you will be undertaking research, what will be the limits of your study? If your project is a creative one, indicate whether you hope to complete it or whether your goal is a first draft, a performance, an exhibit, etc. Indicate and justify any limitations on your project due to time, money, available information, government restrictions, etc.

Describe how you will carry out your project. If you will be setting up a scientific experiment, explain what additional expendable materials you will need, how you will proceed with your experiment, etc. If you will be doing an internship, explain exactly what you will be working on, whether it will be part- or full-time and its duration. You must also indicate what Washington College faculty member will be overseeing your work and who at the work site will be supervising you. If your project is a creative one, explain what you will be working on, what materials you plan to use, etc. If you will be doing research, describe your process, indicate whether you will be doing interviews, using primary documents, etc. In all cases, indicate the steps and time frame for the project: when will you begin, how long will it take, and when you expect to complete it.

Please provide an itemized budget for your project, breaking it down into separate cost areas. Make sure you take into account all of the expenses involved: materials, equipment, transportation, printing, etc. The Society funds “consumables” rather than hardware, e.g., film, rather than cameras.  Indicate the total estimated cost for the project you propose as well as the specific amount of support you are requesting. If the costs go beyond the amount of your request, indicate how you plan to fund the balance.

Funding is provided for senior thesis research on a competitive basis and is not guaranteed.  Junior Fellows whose senior thesis research is funded will be expected to present in the college-wide Senior Thesis Celebration event at the end of the year.

 The Douglass Cater Society of Junior Fellows publishes in the Washington College Review (WCR) certain outstanding papers based on Fellows’ research projects. You may want to keep this opportunity in mind when describing the final product of your research efforts.

Membership in the Douglass Cater Society of Junior Fellows is required.  Eligible projects can include independent research, collaborative research with a faculty member, independent research conducted during short term programs, internships, and presentation of research findings at scholarly conferences. 

Submission Requirements

Submit one complete copy of your proposal via the Google Forms link on, or before, the deadline stated on the website.

IRB Approval

All research involving human subjects must have a separate application submitted to the IRB at Washington College and receive approval before collecting any data or receiving any funding. You can find more information about the IRB process here.

Due Date for Reports

Research and internship reports are due no later than seven days after one’s oral report. Meeting this deadline is essential for consideration of reports for the WCR. For tax purposes, Form 1099 will be sent to each grantee and to the Internal Revenue Service, reporting the grant as income; therefore, receipts, vouchers, boarding passes, and all pertinent receipts should be maintained by the grant recipient as proof of expenditure.

Commitment on Acceptance of a Grant

The Society holds regular meetings throughout the academic year at which all members who received grants make brief oral reports on their research or internships. In accepting a grant, a Fellow agrees that participation in these meetings has absolute priority over other activities that happen to fall on the same date, e.g. athletic events, other student meetings, social events, etc.

Criteria for Grant Approval

  • Do the project’s goals and approach make sense?
  • Is the project clearly focused? What is the issue being addressed?
  • Is it worth doing? Will it result in increased general knowledge of significant value?
  • Does the applicant have sufficient academic background and skills to carry out the project effectively? For example, if interviews and sampling are involved, has the applicant studied qualitative methods, and statistics and sampling theory?
  • Is the project feasible? For example, will the applicant be able to gain access to necessary information?
  • Is the project physically realistic? For instance, can the applicant obtain a visa for a foreign country, if needed?
  • Can the project be completed in the time available?
  • Is the available grant money sufficient to meet expenses?

If you wish to submit a grant proposal, use the following guidelines:

All research projects or internships must be completed before graduation, so that the beneficiaries of grants may report on their experiences to the other Cater Fellows and the College community as a whole. Hence, second-semester seniors are generally not eligible to receive grants.

Budgets submitted with grant requests must be based on actual projected costs. Applicants must be prepared to find supplemental sources of financing if the Cater Society is unable to grant the total amount requested. Students should identify potential supplemental sources of financing and discuss the likelihood of obtaining such funding.