Sheridan Libraries Dean's Undergraduate Research Awards: April 2 deadline

The Sheridan Libraries Dean's Undergraduate Research Awards, or DURAs, are available for students working on research projects that draw on primary source materials in the rare book, manuscript, and archival collections of the Sheridan Libraries at JHU. These collections span 5,000 years of rare and unique objects and texts, from ancient cuneiform tablets and Egyptian papyri fragments to illuminated medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, 20th-century African American photography, U.S. suffrage movement records, and a growing LGBTQ collection.

DURA supports research conducted in person or remotely, from May 2021 to April 2022. (DURA fellowships involving pre-1800 rare book and manuscripts materials will be restricted to summer months, i.e., May-August.) Students who wish to conduct research remotely must write to the DURA Program contact, Joseph Plaster (, to ensure that the Libraries can digitize their chosen collections. Potential applicants are strongly urged to contact Plaster in advance to discuss proposals and develop applications collaboratively.

Research outcomes may take the form of an essay, exhibition, digital project, film, or other deliverables. The Sheridan Libraries will award a flat amount of $2,500 to DURA recipients; awardees will receive half the funds at the beginning of their research and half at completion. The Undergraduate Research Awards are supported by the Alexander Grass Humanities Institute and may also be supported by the Singleton Center for the Study of Premodern Europe.


  • The fellowships are restricted to JHU freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. Seniors are eligible to apply if their proposed fellowship will be completed prior to their graduation.
  • Applicants must identify a faculty mentor or a curator/librarian, who can help applicants identify materials for research, formulate project proposals, and conduct research.
  • Awardees must complete their projects no later than April 18, 2022, and present their research at a public event (in person or remotely) in late April 2022.

Application Instructions

  • A two-to three-page, single-spaced proposal that addresses each of the following: the specific topic to be explored and question(s) you want to investigate; specific rare book, manuscript, oral history, and/or archival materials in the Sheridan Libraries' collections that you propose to examine; qualifications for conducting the research (e.g., your undergraduate status, general academic interests, related classes, personal experience, work experience,); your timeline for completion of the project scheduled, including how often you and your mentors will meet about the project; expected outcome(s) of the project (e.g., developing an honors thesis topic, proposed exhibition, or digital application, etc.) Submit by email to Joseph Plaster at
  • One letter of recommendation from a faculty mentor or librarian mentor. This person should send a recommendation indicating their support and commitment to mentoring the proposed project by email, to Joseph Plaster at, by April 2, 2021.