Health Humanities Undergraduate Summer Fellowship

We invite current BU undergraduates to apply for the Health Humanities Summer Fellowship. This eight-week fellowship will provide funding and mentoring support for students to pursue independent projects in the field of health or medical humanities. Fellows will work with a faculty mentor and also meet together periodically (via Zoom) with other fellows over the summer to share progress. Fellows will produce a final product (such as an essay, report, podcast, short film, website, etc) that will be hosted on the Health Humanities website.

Application deadline: Info TBA
Funding: $4000 (15 hours/week) for the fellow + $1000 for the faculty mentor
Commitment: Eight weeks/part-time

1) Applicants must be rising juniors or rising seniors at BU (you should plan to be enrolled at BU the fall semester following the summer fellowship period)
2) Must have a major or intended major in CAS, though it does not need to be a humanities major (or minor); any CAS major is fine. OR, if you are based in another college (Sargent, Comm, etc.), you need to have a minor in a humanities field in CAS (possible areas are listed in #4).
3) Minimum 3.0 GPA
4) Completed at least two humanities courses (outside of the writing requirement) by the end of Spring 2021. Humanities fields typically include Art History, Classical Studies, Core Humanities, English, History, Linguistics, Philosophy, Religion, Romance Studies, and World Languages & Literatures.
5) Find a faculty mentor to support your project. The faculty mentor does not have to work in the field of health humanities but should be willing to help guide your research. They may be any member of the full-time instructional faculty at BU.
6) You do not need to be based in Boston for this fellowship but you do need to reside in the U.S.

Application instructions: 
Applications are due by April 16, 2021 at 5pm EST. Please find the application here with further instructions below.

You will need to provide contact information for your faculty mentor, who must agree to supervise this work. You must also upload an unofficial BU transcript (on which both your name and your BU ID are visible) and will have the option to upload a résumé or CV.

The application requires the following short essay responses:

  • Why do you want to be a Health Humanities Summer Fellow? (250 words)
  • What are your future educational or career goals? (250 words) Please note that you do not need to plan on going into a health-related or a humanities-related field to be a good candidate for this fellowship.
  • What is your proposed topic for the summer research project? (250-500 words)
  • What kinds of sources will you look at to research this topic and are they readily available? (100 words)
  • What do you hope to produce by the end of the summer? Examples might include an essay, a report, a podcast, a blog, a film, etc. (50-100 words)

What kinds of projects would qualify?
To get a sense of the health humanities, you might peruse this website, including our resources for further reading, information about archives, and list of resources for thinking about COVID-19. We welcome a range of projects, from exploring the visual or material culture of COVID-19 to the history of race, gender, and public health; from comparative religious positions on end-of-life care to the cultural politics of vaccination; from the history of disability to the ethics of new medical technologies; from an analysis of literary depictions of plagues to a cultural or historical analysis of the role of “positive thinking” in how people understand health.

As you can see, the range of topics if quite broad, and these possibilities are only a start! A good project will have a particular question relevant to how humanities scholars explore health, medicine, and society, whether historically or in the present. You should have a clear idea of what you want to learn and a set of resources* (e.g., archives, images, literary or philosophical texts) in mind to pursue your interests. Your work will culminate in a final product, which might be a conventional academic essay, a short film, a podcast, a visual presentation or photoessay, a digital humanities site, or some other creative form that conveys what you have learned. You will have time during the summer to settle on the presentation form best suited for your project.

*For this fellowship, projects should not involve living human subjects for which IRB approval would be necessary (for instance, performing surveys or experiments on people); rather, projects should be oriented to research methods commonly used in humanities fields.

Faculty mentor role:
Each fellow should have a faculty mentor–this will likely be a professor you have taken a class with before and with whom you would like to continue working. The mentor should be familiar with the student’s project and agree to work with the student periodically over the summer to check in on progress and offer support when needed. (Students will also work more regularly with a graduate student mentor, who will be arranged through the Health Humanities Project). The faculty mentor does not need to have expertise in the health humanities or even in the humanities at all, but might provide scholarly and research insight in other ways. Faculty mentors receive a stipend of $1000.

For question, please contact us at

Health Humanities