Chicago Studies Research Prize

Celebrating research excellence (and free tote bags)

Each year, the College Dean's Office, Office of Research & Teaching Innovations, and Chicago Studies welcome student self-submissions and faculty/departmental nominations for the Chicago Studies Undergraduate Research Prize, which is awarded for the outstanding BA thesis or capstone project from that academic year that focuses on Chicago or considers Chicago in comparison to other urban areas.  Our application cycle opened on Monday, April 22 (week 6) and will accept student self-submissions through Monday, May 6 (week 8) and faculty/departmental nominations through Monday, May 13 (week 7).

The Chicago Studies Undergraduate Research Prize recognizes the breadth of high-quality, original research that undergraduates produce each year in conjunction with their academic programs.  To be accepted for consideration, submissions must be:

  • based upon original research
  • accepted as a component of an undergraduate degree program (including minors and College-sponsored certificates such as the Chicago Studies Certificate)

Students from all academic disciplines in the College are eligible to submit qualifying theses/projects for review by our committee.  Students who submit Chicago-focused projects also receive our signature "I Studied Chicago..." tote bag -- see image!  Students who submit Chicago-focused BAs/capstones are encouraged to consider whether their work may also fulfill requirements for the College's Certificate in Chicago Studies; interested students should schedule an appointment to discuss the Certificate with Chicago Studies' Executive Director.

Thesis advisors and undergraduate programs/departments are also encouraged to nominate exceptional theses for the committee's review, using the same form/process. Faculty/staff nominations need not include a copy of the paper(s) nominated, and may come either from advisors or from DUSs, faculty chairs, or program administrators.  (Nominators will not receive a free tote bag, sorry.)

The recipient of the Prize receives a cash award of $1000 and automatic acceptance for publication in that year's Chicago Studies Annual.  All other submitted work will also be considered for inclusion in the Annual.  We also strongly encourage submitters to publish their work via Knowledge@UChicago, the Library's public-access data portal.  

The winner of the 2023 Chicago Studies research prize was Isadora Kron for her CEGU/Public Policy BA, "A Tale of Two Rivers:  Zoning Policy Conflict and the Production of Public Space on the Chicago River."  Read Isadora's prize-winning paper here!