University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
College of ACES
ACES Academic Programs
Give to ACES

ACES Undergraduate Research Scholarship Program

The Morrow Plots & the Institute for Genomic Biology
The Morrow Plots & the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology

Spearheading Innovation and Discovery Since 1982


Since 1982, the College of ACES has supported the ACES Undergraduate Research Scholarship Program to provide research opportunities for qualified students who demonstrate superior academic ability and a strong interest in research related to the agricultural, consumer, and environmental sciences.


Program Objectives

The ACES Undergraduate Research Scholarship Program is designed to develop and foster student interest in scholarly research in a broad range of biological, physical, and social science disciplines related to solving problems in the agricultural, consumer, and environmental sciences. Eligible students enrolled in the College of ACES are invited to apply for support for original research projects. Students conduct research projects under faculty guidance comparable to that which is given to graduate students. This is an opportunity for qualified students to explore the rapidly expanding frontiers of science and technology, meet major new intellectual challenges, and contribute to scientific knowledge.



Students are eligible for the ACES Undergraduate Research Scholarship Program if they meet the following general requirements:

  • By the time that the project will be conducted, have sophomore, junior, or senior standing.
  • Be officially enrolled with a declared academic major in the College of ACES.
  • Have a grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 or higher for their two most recent semesters.

Approved projects are funded up to $1,500, based on a project budget sheet submitted with the application. Students whose projects are approved are also awarded a $500 merit scholarship for the academic term during which the research project is conducted.



Project proposals are accepted and reviewed throughout the calendar year on a rolling basis. However, submitting project proposals a few months before starting the research project is strongly encouraged. The Faculty Research Mentor for the proposed project needs to have a current faculty and/or research appointment within the College of ACES.

Applicants are strongly urged to identify and define an appropriate research project well in advance of their application date. Application forms and additional program information are available from the Honors Desk in the ACES Academic Programs Office.


Preparing the Research Proposal

Project proposals should follow the format shown on the application form and are limited to two pages plus a budget sheet and a title page. The project budget should itemize all funds necessary to support the proposed research. Allowable expenses include laboratory supplies (e.g., chemicals, glassware, biological materials, etc.), other disposable supplies, and off-campus travel necessary to collect data. Funds will not be provided for wages or major equipment purchases. Any budget items that are not self-explanatory should be justified in footnotes.


Presentation of Research Findings

A project report (2-3 pages) summarizing research findings should be submitted in writing to the Honors Dean at the conclusion of the project. Students are also expected to display their findings in a poster session at Explore ACES (in March), at the Undergraduate Research Symposium (in April), or at another scholastic event or professional meeting approved in advance by the Honors Dean.

An undergraduate researcher whose paper or poster has been accepted and who plans to present research results at a professional meeting may apply for up to $800 to help defray travel expenses.

Projects that lead to publication of full-length papers in peer-reviewed journals may qualify for up to $500 toward publication expenses. To qualify, the published paper needs to list the undergraduate researcher as an author and acknowledge the support of the ACES Undergraduate Research Scholarship Program.

Requests for supplemental funding (the application forms are downloadable from this page -- see below) should be directed to the Honors Dean and need to provide evidence that an appropriate research paper or poster has been scheduled for presentation and/or accepted for publication. Requests for travel funds should be submitted to the Honors Dean at least thirty (30) days prior to professional meetings.


Academic Credit

Undergraduate researchers may receive academic credit (typically up to 3 hours) by registering for an independent study course (usually a 200-level course [for non-James Scholars] or a 300-level course [for James Scholars or Chancellor's Scholars]). Standard registration procedures should be observed, with the final grade to be assigned by the Faculty Research Mentor when all project requirements have been met.


Challenging Tomorrow's Scientists

Our agricultural, consumer, and environmental science resource systems are complex and rapidly changing. Recent advances in information technology and biotechnology serve to underline the profound importance of today's agricultural sciences to society. Scientists are now using these tools to improve the production and utilization of food, fiber, fuels, chemical feedstocks, and other agricultural-related commodities while preserving our fragile environment and depletable natural resources.

Tomorrow's scientists will be at the forefront of scientific investigation, exploring even more sophisticated means of producing high-quality products, maximizing the use of our resources, and enhancing the quality of our daily lives. Many professionally trained graduates of the College of ACES will fill these critical roles. The ACES Undergraduate Research Scholarship Program introduces highly qualified students to the fascinating world of agricultural, consumer, and environmental science research. By providing opportunities for student researchers to investigate important scientific problems and present new knowledge, we seek to increase their professional competency and help prepare them for even greater challenges as the 21st century unfolds.

The ACES Undergraduate Research Scholarship Program is funded through private donations to the University of Illinois College of ACES.


How to Apply for Financial Support from the ACES Undergraduate Research Scholarship Program:


The Campbell Scholars Program


Established in fall 2017, the Campbell Scholars Program provides undergraduate research funding to exceptional students majoring in the ACES disciplines. Please follow the links below to access more information about this outstanding new program and download the application form. The next proposal submission deadline is December 15, 2018.


The ACES Applied Research and Extension Summer Internship Program


The ACES Office of Research, the Office of Academic Programs, and the Office of Extension and Outreach are offering summer internships to qualified students. Applications are being accepted from ALL sophomores and juniors currently enrolled in the College of ACES with an overall GPA of 3.40 or above.

Please refer to the documents linked below for full details. The application deadline for summer 2019 will be announced in fall 2018.


Inquiries and application materials should be directed to:

Rob Chappell, M.A., Assistant to the Honors Dean

ACES Academic Programs

128 Mumford Hall, MC-710

(217) 244-1684


College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences



“The correct analogy for the mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting — no more — and then it motivates one towards originality and instills the desire for truth.”

-- Lucius Mestrius Plutarch (46-120 CE): "On Listening to Lectures” (Moralia 48C)


ACES Ignite Undergraduate Research Program 2018


Dr. Anna Dilger, ACES Honors Dean,

Robert Chappell, Assistant to the Honors Dean,


What is the purpose of the Ignite Undergraduate Research Program?

  • It provides a gateway for creating a comprehensive educational experience for students that includes building a solid academic foundation, developing effective interpersonal communication skills, and applying these skills to real-world situations so that graduates are well prepared to enter the work force.
  • The overall goal is to support students with gaining experience beyond traditional university boundaries that allows them to enter the work force with valuable experience that accelerates their ability to navigate the “first job” learning curve.


We want to encourage top caliber incoming freshman and transfer students to engage in undergraduate research during their first year at University of Illinois, College of ACES.  Incoming students with an AI of 88 and ACT of 28 or higher or community college GPA of 3.5 or higher are offered up to $2,500 work stipend to support their participation in an undergraduate research or creative project and will be paid $15/hr. Funding, provided by Academic Programs and allocated to the faculty mentor, will be used for wages for the student to support work conducted with a faculty mentor and will last 12 months from the time the research starts. Faculty participation is voluntary.


Intentions of the Ignite Program:

  • To provide high caliber recruits with a value added incentive to come to University of Illinois, College of ACES.
  • To identify high caliber freshman for faculty to integrate into their research programs.
  • To facilitate the opportunity for faculty to determine whether future investment of time and resources into the professional development of the student is warranted.
  • To improve student retention through early exposure to faculty outside of the classroom.
  • To encourage students to develop professional skills (i.e. accountability, responsibility, interpersonal communication, etc.) that will be valuable to them in the workforce.
  • To ignite interest in our disciplines to support workforce development. 


Links to External Resources