North Central College - Naperville, IL

Richter Myths and FAQ


If a proposal is not accepted on the first submission, then the committee will never accept it.

Some proposals are accepted on the first submission, but others are returned to the author with specific questions that the committee would like addressed before making a decision. For example, a student may be asked to further explain their proposed methodology and/or better place their proposed work within the context of the existing body of knowledge. In most cases, once a student submits a revised proposal that completely addresses the committee's questions, the proposal is accepted for funding.

Richter committee members will not talk to students or faculty advisors about Richter proposals prior to submission.

Richter committee members welcome talking with students and faculty during the proposal development phase. A committee member will answer questions and even review a draft proposal prior to submission. Committee members are Professors Suzanne Chod, Alberto Fonseca, Perry Hamalis, Sarah Lureau, Nancy Peterson, and Patricia Schacht.

Projects submitted by business, fine arts, and theater majors are never funded.

Richter grants are awarded to students in all disciplines. For example, within the past year, a business major received funding to examine placement of high-end children's products in China and a fine arts major completed a war memorial and investigated how his work compares to that of other war memorials. And of course, awards have been made to students majoring in education as well as the natural sciences, humanities, and social sciences.

If awarded a grant, you have to take an independent study or honors thesis class.

All Richter grants are associated with a one- to three-credit course, such as SOA 399, HON 400, or LEV 499. Most departments have an independent study class in which a student may enroll.

When a student enrolls in the required class depends upon the scope of the project and proposed format for conducting the research. For example, some Richter projects span more than one term. A student may first spend a term or summer collecting data and then, upon returning to campus, the student enrolls in an independent study class and works one-on-one with their faculty sponsor to analyze their data, draw conclusions, and write their results. Since projects vary in scope, a project may not necessarily follow this two-term format, but regardless of the research plan, a student who receives Richter funding must take a one- to three-credit independent study or honors thesis course.

Projects with a small proposed budget are more likely to be funded than high-cost projects.

The committee evaluates each proposal on its own merits and does not rank proposals based on cost or any other criteria. For budgets, total cost is not a determining factor. Rather a well-developed and detailed budget section demonstrates to the committee that the student understands and has considered all aspects of the proposed work. The committee looks to see if the student has justified all project costs and has provided an explanation as to how cost of each item was estimated.

A student must have previous research experience to be granted a Richter.

There is no set of previous experiences that a student must possess to enter the Richter research arena. For many students, writing a Richter proposal is their first full research experience, although they may have been exposed to research in other ways. For example, some students so enjoyed an in-class project or paper that they decided to study the subject in more depth and thus used that class experience as a springboard into developing a Richter proposal. Others may have had the opportunity to work alongside a faculty member on their research and through that process caught the "research bug" and decided to pursue their own project. And yet others are simply inquisitive and want to investigate a fascinating topic. Thus, there is no one way to begin to conduct just need to be self-motivated, inquisitive, and love your topic!

Richer grants can be conducted over D-Term.

Students may use D-Term to travel to their research site(s) and collect data. Upon returning to campus, most students will enroll in the required independent study or honors thesis class during the winter term to complete their project. The Richter program, however, is seldom conducive for a D-Term study abroad trip because those trips have such tight schedules and there is rarely sufficient time to collect data.

A student's Richter project must be in their major.

For many students, their Richter project does coincide with their major. However, this is not a requirement. The unique nature of the Richter Grant Program, allows a student to research any topic regardless of their major(s). Some students pursue a topic related to their minor while others take an interdisciplinary approach to their project and thereby develop a unique project that reflects their passion -- whether that be, for example, psychology and biology or religious studies and fine arts.

Graduate students are not eligible for Richter funding.

Since its inception in 1977, the goal of the Richter Grant Program is promote undergraduate research. As such, the program is not open to graduate students.

A student has to make a formal presentation to the committee.

The student does not make a presentation to the committee. Rather, the committee only reviews the student's proposal and the letter of recommendation from the student's faculty advisor. Upon completion of the research, however, Richter-funded students are required to participate in the NCC Rall Symposium for Undergraduate Research that is held each year in May. At Rall, the student will present their research results via a performance, poster session, or short oral presentation depending upon the student's discipline.

Richters are only awarded to juniors and seniors.

Students are eligible for Richter funding as early as their first year at NCC. While completing courses related to your field of interest helps ground a proposal, pursuing a Richter sooner rather than later really can help students gain a competitive advantage when applying for internships, jobs, and graduate schools. It can also provide a foundation for subsequent undergraduate projects, or even a second Richter.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please contact Nancy Peterson (630-637-5184) or Sandra Chapman (630-637-5269) for any questions or concerns.