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Please review the following policies that may impact your decision or ability to apply for fellowships.

The Center's Role

The Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF) administers many (though not all) national and international fellowship competitions for undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni of the University of Pennsylvania.

Maintenance of Good Standing

Applicants must be in good standing at the time of application, throughout the application review period, and for the period leading up to commencement of the fellowship. Applicants and recipients are required to notify the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships of any changes in academic standing and any disciplinary actions taken by the Office of Student Conduct.

Ethical Conduct and Accurate Information in Applications

Applicants for fellowships must provide accurate information that aligns with ethical principles throughout the application and interview processes:

  • Your application must be a true and honest representation of yourself and your experiences. You must truly and accurately report your role in organizations, publications, and other scholarly, leadership, and personal activities in your application. You must not exaggerate or overstate your accomplishments.
  • When sharing your experiences and background with your recommenders, you must truly and accurately describe your past activities. In order to write a recommendation letter on your behalf, your recommenders must have complete and accurate information about your past experiences.
  • Each component of your application must be your own work. Although you are encouraged discuss your plans and interests with professors, mentors, peers, advisors, and others you trust, the ideas, concepts, and structure of your application must be your own work.
  • Your application materials should be current at the time of submission. Provide up-to-date documents and other supplementary materials when you submit your application. Unless otherwise indicated, national and international fellowships will not consider new or revised information submitted after the deadline date.
  • Information provided by CURF to fellowship candidates is not intended for distribution. To prepare your application, CURF will provide information and resources to help you be a competitive applicant. These materials are intended only for University of Pennsylvania candidates and should not be reproduced or shared.

Letters of Recommendation

Consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships allows students the choice whether to waive their rights of access to recommendation and endorsement letters submitted on their behalf. Applicants for major fellowships typically waive their right to review recommendation and endorsement letters written in support of their application in order to ensure selection committees that recommenders and institutions share their views frankly and openly. If a candidate decides not to waive the right to access material, that letter is considered available for the candidate to view.

Applying from Abroad

Penn students are encouraged to study and conduct research abroad. When applying for fellowships while abroad, applicants must ensure that all required application materials are submitted to the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships by the stated deadline. If an applicant is invited to interview for University of Pennsylvania endorsement for a major external fellowship that requires university endorsement and an internal interview, a Zoom session can be arranged during the available interview times specified by the selection committee unless otherwise indicated on the CURF fellowship page.


All application materials submitted to the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships will be held on file for three calendar years after the submission date. File materials for unsuccessful applicants will be destroyed after three years. Fellowship candidates are encouraged to apply for all fellowships for which they are eligible, including applying for multiple fellowships in the same year. Each letter is specific to the specific fellowship for which an applicant is applying, so recommenders must often submit several versions of the same letter. Recommendation letters can only be used in the application cycle during which an applicant applies. Updated letters must be submitted each year.

Individuals who receive multiple fellowships are expected to notify CURF (and any other sponsoring organizations) of this fact to avoid possible conflicts in expectations or obligations.

Access to Records

All applications for Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships competitions and programs are maintained in accordance with relevant university policies including the university policy related to confidentiality. The Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships will not release candidate names to any source outside University of Pennsylvania officials. Names of fellowship recipients, however, are considered directory information, as defined by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

All University of Pennsylvania records may be checked and relevant information used in evaluating your application.

Unsolicited Material

The Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships accepts only those materials required from applicants in each of its competitions. CURF reserves the right to destroy unsolicited materials.