The Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP)

The Program - Research experience at a top tier research institution
The Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP) is an eight-week competitive research experience at Northwestern University for sophomores and juniors from colleges and universities across the United States. All fields of research at Northwestern are open to SROP participants including the social sciences and humanities, physical sciences, chemical and biological sciences, technology, math and engineering fields. The program encourages students from underrepresented minority groups to apply. For 2014, the program will run from June 23 through August 13.
Each selected participant is thoughtfully matched with a Northwestern faculty member and will carry out an appropriate full-time research project. Some faculty mentors have agreed to work with students to craft an independent research project based on the student’s interests, and other mentors will have students contribute to an ongoing project.

The research training is coupled with activities that prepare students for the graduate school application process, success in graduate school, and the development of their professional careers. Workshop topics include preparation for GREs, research presentations and communication skills.  The summer research experience culminates with students writing a final paper and presenting their findings. The SROP is designed to position students for success in their graduate and professional careers.

The SROP provides both fun and intensive training.  Participants are expected to make a full-time commitment to their research, work energetically on their projects, and develop a professional attitude toward their research, faculty supervisors, SROP administrators and fellow student researchers. During the eight-week period of the SROP, each participant is expected to work at least 30-40 hours per week on their project.  The hard work is rewarded with plenty of social time to develop new friendships and explore Chicago.  

History and Achievements 

For 28 years, the Northwestern University SROP has provided undergraduates with an opportunity for direct involvement in research and a taste of graduate student life at a world class university. Its mission has been to increase diversity among students pursuing graduate education and to provide a valuable academic research experience for students.

The success of Northwestern SROP participants has been significant. Our most recent statistics indicate that 61% of the NU SROP students who complete their bachelor’s degrees have enrolled in graduate or professional schools across the country. This is more than double the national average where only about 30% of bachelor’s degree recipients pursue advanced study. The SROP is also a great tool for recruiting students to and maximizing the diversity of Northwestern’s graduate programs. Past participants have come from colleges and universities including: 

Bates College

Tuskegee University
Boston University Truman State University
Brown University University of Chicago
California Institute of Technology University of Delaware
California State University, Fullerton University of Florida
Carleton College University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign
Cornell University University of Iowa
Dartmouth College University of Maryland - Baltimore County
DePaul University University of Maryland - College Park
Georgetown University University of New Mexico
Grambling State University University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
Harvard University University of Rochester
Howard University University of Texas – Austin
Jackson State University University of Texas - Pan American
Massachusetts Institute of Technology University of the Pacific
Miami University University of Wisconsin - Madison
Morehouse College Vanderbilt University
Northeastern Illinois University Virginia Commonwealth University
Rice University Washinton University in St. Louis
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology West Virginia University
San Diego State University Western Washington University
San Francisco State University Winston-Salem State University
Spelman College Xavier University of Louisiana
St. Mary's University of San Antonio
Stanford University
SUNY Binghamton University
Benefits and Conditions

Each student chosen to participate in the SROP will receive:
  • a $4000 stipend
  • a round-trip plane ticket (to Chicago)
  • University housing (single rooms)
  • a meal subsidy of $450 (not intended to cover all meals) 

SROP participants who choose to live off campus will be responsible for their housing expenses during the summer.

Early Admission Decision Program

This program provides an accelerated and early admission process that enables qualified rising seniors to apply for admission to a Northwestern PhD program without submitting GRE scores. The qualification process begins between a student's sophomore and junior year. Rising juniors who successfully complete their SROP research project and demonstrate that they have the potential to succeed in a Northwestern PhD program may be invited back for a second SROP experience. If they choose to accept the invitation and the first 4 to 5 weeks of their second summer experience go well, they may be invited to participate in the Early Admission Decision Program (EADP).

Students who accept an invitation to participate in the EADP will participate in admission interviews and submit an admission application by October 1st. Admission decisions will be sent out by November 1st. Please note that some programs/departments do not participate in the EADP.

Course Credit

Course credit is available for the Northwestern SROP; however, you will need to communicate with the registrar's office at your home institution to determine if they will accept the credit.  
SROP participants may not register for any classes (i.e. summer school, MCAT prep, GRE prep, etc.) or accept a job for additional pay without prior approval from the SROP coordinator.

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Who May Apply

To be considered for acceptance into SROP, you must:

  • be a current sophomore or junior
  • have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale
  • be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • have an interest in pursuing a doctoral degree at Northwestern University

Those belonging to groups which have been traditionally underrepresented in graduate education (e.g., certain racial and ethnic minorities, first-generation college students, etc.) are encouraged to apply.

Current juniors who applied to the SROP in 2013 are eligible to apply for the 2014 program.

Please note: applicants interested in pursuing MBA, JD, or MD degrees are not eligible for this program. Also, Northwestern University students are not eligible to apply for this program and should contact The Graduate School for information about programs to which they may apply. 

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The application opens on November 18th, 2013. Students from partner institutions may submit applications up until February 1st, 2014. Applications will be considered complete when all of the information requested in the application is submitted and we have received your current transcript(s) and two letters of recommendation from faculty members.  Notifications to selected participants will begin on March 1st, 2014.

A memo will be sent to the recommender you identify on your application with instructions for them to upload their letters of recommendation.

Before starting the application, please note that you will be able to save your work in the application. There will be four essays/statements to complete in the application, and it is suggested that you prepare those statements in MS Word or another comparable word processing software. After completing your essays/statements, you can simply cut and paste them into the appropriate places in the application without fear of losing them. Here are the four essay topics:

1. Please explain why you are interested in pursuing a graduate degree at Northwestern University in 200 words or less.

2. Please describe the research areas that are most interesting to you in 250 words or less, and please be as specific as possible.

3. Please describe your educational and career goals in 250 words or less.

4. Please explain how you would contribute to the diversity of the community of scholars at Northwestern in 200 words or less.

You may access the application by clicking here. If you have any questions about the program, please contact Penny Warren at 847-491-8507 or

Corporate and Government Sponsorship

Providing financial support to the Northwestern SROP can benefit a company in several ways. For example, a corporate sponsor would have the opportunity to sponsor students from institutions with whom it has strategic alliances. Also, corporate sponsors are featured in program promotional materials, at research forums, and on the scholars’ research posters which are frequently presented at national conferences. Additionally, the company may promote careers at the company and invite SROP students to visit its facilities. 

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Past supporters of the Northwestern SROP include: 
Ariel Capital Management
Baxter Healthcare Corporation
CNA Financial Corporation
Ford Motor Company
MARC/Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB)
Microsoft Corporation
Nycomed Amersham Imaging Inc
The Omron Foundation
The Abbott Fund
The Boeing Company
The National Institutes of Health (NIH)
The National Science Foundation (NSF)
The National Science Foundation – Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (NSF-AGEP)
For more information on corporate sponsorship opportunities, please contact Jonathan Cummings, Associate Director, Office of Corporate Relations, Northwestern University,, 847-491-4185. 

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