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Exploration Grant Program

The ONSF Exploration Grant Program supports current UT undergraduate students in their efforts to plan for, research, and establish connections for nationally competitive scholarship opportunities, with particular emphasis on the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Other possibilities include post-graduate funding programs in the U.K. and Ireland like the British Marshall, Mitchell, Gates Cambridge, and Rhodes, the DAAD programs, and other recognized national scholarship opportunities that support post-graduate experiences. Successful applicants will be expected to make significant and measurable effort in establishing solid connections and support for their program and/or research efforts well in advance of the national application process of choice. In the case of the Fulbright, formal letters of affiliation are required for the national application process and compel students to make contacts in their future host country. For other international post-graduate opportunities, grant funds could support travel to meet with future research advisors. Exploration Grants would facilitate the preliminary experience necessary in building key relationships in order to develop strong, competitive applications, which are sound in scope and well-supported by the host-country, institution, individuals, and/or program of choice. Typically, proposals are for about 3 – 4 weeks, during the summer. This is NOT a study abroad grant.

Type of Award:

  • Up to $5000.00 grant
  • Named an Exploration Scholar

Terms of Award:

Upon receipt of the award, the scholar is expected to undertake the proposed exploratory travel, establish requisite relationships in the host country, and develop drafts of a personal statement and project proposal. In advance of departure, scholars are required to attend a series of pre-departure Exploration Grant seminars providing guidance on the requisite components of the national scholarship for which they will apply upon completion of their exploration experience. The seminars are a critical component of the Exploration Grant; completion is required and is key in preparing to draft statements and make contacts for the purpose of future affiliation. Upon return, the scholar is required to submit the national scholarship application(s) for which they undertook the Exploration Grant (e.g., Fulbright, Rhodes, Marshall, Mitchell, etc.).

2018 Deadline: TBD (January)

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Must be a current full-time UTK undergraduate; preference will be given to rising juniors and rising seniors;
  • There is no stated minimum GPA.  However, you are expected to meet the GPA requirements and program eligibility for the national opportunity to which you will apply post-Exploration Grant.

Applicants for study/research grants will:

  • Identify the host country/institution/program
  • Review the scholarship program priorities/requirements for the host country/institution
  • Discuss project ideas with faculty, adviser, and/or mentor
  • Create a competitive exploration experience proposal
  • Investigate, contact, and secure affiliations in the host country
  • Prepare supplementary materials (Creative/Performing Arts only)

Application Instructions:

Submit a complete and final online application form (which includes several short responses and uploading your current resume or CV and academic history).

In addition, you must have one (1) letter of recommendation, submitted confidentially by your recommender to the Director of ONSF, at


Application Deadline:

Applications submitted after the stated deadline will not be accepted. The recommendation letter is required by the same deadline, submitted by your recommender to


Application Review Process:

Exploration Grants will be reviewed by an internal faculty committee.

The Exploration Grant Program is generously funded by the:
College of Arts & Sciences, Department of Modern Foreign Languages & Literatures, Haslam College of Business, Office of National Scholarships & Fellowships, Office of Undergraduate Research, and Student Success Center.

The Office of National Scholarships & Fellowships (ONSF) supports UT undergraduates and alumni who are undertaking nationally competitive application processes. It provides support only and cannot, under any circumstances, accept responsibility for missed deadlines, incomplete applications, missing letters of recommendation or other supplementary materials, or selection outcomes at the campus or national level.  The responsibility of completing and submitting an application rests solely on the student or alumni engaging in a national application process. The ONSF does not guarantee or promise any outcome.

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