Radcliffe is Harvard’s Institute for Advanced Study. It is a cross-disciplinary laboratory of ideas that brings together students, scholars, and practitioners to engage with issues that can only be fully understood by drawing on research from across the humanities, sciences, social sciences, arts, and professions.

Radcliffe is unique among Harvard schools: Although we do not award degrees, we offer unparalleled opportunities for undergraduates and graduate students. Radcliffe provides learning and research experiences that are difficult to find in a traditional classroom setting. Radcliffe students work directly with our fellows and faculty, providing unique opportunities for mentorship, and they work across departmental boundaries, connecting with peers across the University. The Institute enriches the Harvard student experience by fostering interdisciplinary, engaged scholarship focused on the most pressing issues of our time.

To receive invitations and updates for the opportunities listed on this page, join the Radcliffe student listserv.

Questions? Contact Kristen Kravet, student engagement lead, at kristen_osborne@radcliffe.harvard.edu.

Law, Education, and Justice Student Working Groups

All Harvard students are invited to apply to join Law, Education, and Justice (LEJ) Student Working Groups. These noncredit groups give students the opportunity to engage deeply and build community around important issues within LEJ. During the 2020­–2021 academic year, the groups will be titled Say Her Name: Gender, Race, and Punishment from Tituba to Breonna Taylorand From Plantations to Prisons: A Spotlight on Harvard.Both groups will be led by Kaia Stern, practitioner in residence at the Radcliffe Institute, cofounder and director of the Prison Studies Project at Harvard, and lecturer on education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. 

Say Her Name: Gender, Race, and Punishment from Tituba to Breonna Taylor

Meeting Time: 9–10:30 AM ET, Tuesdays, October 6–December 1, 2020
Location: Virtual Zoom meetings  
Note: This working group is not for academic credit.

Beginning the first week in October and continuing through the fall semester, five to six Harvard students (three to four undergraduate and two to three graduate students) will engage in virtual discussions with five to six students from the I-Can Academy, located inside Suffolk County’s Nashua Street Jail. The purpose of the fall working group will be to cocreate a spring working group on the topic of gender, race, and punishment. Each student who participates in the fall working group will be welcome, though not required, to continue in the spring (which will also be a noncredit working group). In the spring semester, five to six additional students from both Harvard and the I-Can Academy (for a total of 20–24 students) will participate.

Say Her Name will explore the systems of gendered and racialized punishment that have shaped the current conditions around school suspensions, arrests, incarceration, and state violence. The working group will draw from community voices, academic texts, media, and narrative sources to give particular attention to factors long associated with gender, race, and punishment, including madness, sexuality, concepts of sin, poverty, and citizenship. Questions for consideration include: What do we mean by gender and race? In what ways do we punish ourselves, each other, and the so-called criminal? How is punishment gendered and racialized? The working group will spend its time doing group work and in-session writing as well as in dialogue with guest presenters and one another, and most sessions will be led by students.

In addition to asking rigorous questions about the relationship between gender and punishment, a primary goal for the working group members is to discern their own epistemologies. Students are expected to attend all meetings and to participate fully. Participation consists of careful review of assigned material in preparation for sessions, discussion, group work, and student presentations. As part of the final project for the workshop, students will contribute to a collaborative timeline on the topic of gender, race, and punishment. Final projects can be creative, academic, and/or advocacy oriented.

A note on trauma: Bearing witness is part of creating transformative and beloved community. Students should be aware that the content that will be covered in this working group is distressing. We encourage all participating students to seek out the facilitation team as well as mental health resources such as:

From Plantations to Prisons: A Spotlight on Harvard

Meeting Time: 10:30–11:45 AM ET, Thursdays, October 8–December 3, 2020
Location: Virtual Zoom meetings  
Note: This working group is not for academic credit.

Beginning the first week in October and continuing through the fall semester, 10 undergraduate and graduate students from across Harvard University will come together to consider the continuum of racialized violence in the United States. “From Plantations to Prisons” serves as an introduction to the current crisis of mass criminalization, which includes mass incarceration and mass deportation. Specifically, it will focus on the religio-historical roots of the US penal industry, suggesting a continuum between plantations and prisons that calls into question our basic notions of justice. Group discussion will draw from scholars, community voices, academic texts, media, and narrative sources to give particular attention to factors long associated with crime and punishment, such as concepts of sin, race, and citizenship. Throughout meetings, students will engage in discussion of texts and materials as part of a more intimate, seminar learning environment. The group will spend its time doing group work and in-session writing as well as in dialogue with guest presenters and one another, and most sessions will be led by students.

This working group is structured in two parts. Each student who participates in the fall working group will be welcome, though not required, to continue in the spring (which will also be a noncredit working group), when the group work will consider the plantations-to-prisons framework in the specific context of Harvard University.

In addition to asking rigorous questions about what justice means, the goals for the working group are to develop a critical understanding of the historical context of racialized punishment in the United States; to explore how this context affects teaching and learning; and to discern participants’ own epistemologies and pedagogies as educators who practice and promote education that repairs harm and meets multiple community needs. Students are expected to attend all meetings and to participate fully. Participation consists of careful review of assigned material in preparation for the sessions, discussion, group work, and student presentations. As part of the final project for the working group, students will contribute to a collaborative timeline on the topic of study. Final projects can be creative, academic, and/or advocacy oriented.

A note on trauma: Bearing witness is part of creating transformative and beloved community. Students should be aware that the content that will be covered in this working group is distressing. We encourage all participating students to seek out the facilitation team as well as mental health resources such as:

How to Apply

Applications are due by 11:59 PM ET on Monday, September 21, 2020. Apply here. We will convey application decisions by Friday, September 25, 2020. 

Questions? Contact Abbie Cohen or Kristen Kravet.

Grant Programs

We invite Harvard undergraduate and graduate students to apply for stipends of $1,500 to support their research, service, and creative projects related to the topic of Harvard and the legacy of slavery or to the Radcliffe Engaged focus areas of 1) law, education, and justice and 2) youth leadership. Grant recipients will join virtual cohorts and receive mentoring and support from staff and faculty members and from each other.

Radcliffe Engaged Focus Areas

The Radcliffe Engaged Student Grant Program provides $1,500 stipends per project to support the research, creative, and service work of Harvard undergraduate and graduate students on topics related to the Radcliffe Engaged focus areas:  

  • law, education, and justice (exploring how historically high rates of incarceration in the United States constitute a crisis with broad social, educational, and family impacts); and  
  • youth leadership (supporting the cultivation of civic engagement, problem solving, and leadership among young people as a critical component of a healthy democratic society).  

Proposed projects can explore academic research, creative pursuits (such as those using art, writing, or multimedia), or the design of an original service project. Service projects must be grounded in research and include a critical analysis of the work to be undertaken. Students may submit applications as individuals or groups; however, we can accept only one application per project. All work must be completed by the end of May 2021. 

Grant recipients will join a virtual student cohort and receive mentoring and support from Radcliffe staff and faculty members and from each other. Cohort meetings will occur on a regular basis from October 2020 to April 2021. 

Proposals must include a concept note of no more than 750 words outlining:  

  • the project’s title and purpose;  
  • the work it entails and the anticipated outcome; and  
  • how it relates to one of the Radcliffe Engaged focus areas. 

Funds cannot be used for travel or travel-related expenses, in accordance with University guidelines

Applications are due by 11:59 PM ET on Monday, September 21, 2020Apply here. We will convey funding decisions by Friday, October 9, 2020.   

Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery

The Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery Student Grant Program provides $1,500 stipends per project to support the research and creative work of Harvard undergraduate and graduate students on the topic of Harvard and the legacy of slavery, broadly defined. 

Projects may (but need not) be connected to courses, and we welcome a wide range of submissions including works of art, multimedia projects, and other creative endeavors as well as traditional research undertakings. These grants are meant to encourage engagement with the initiative from a wide range of perspectives and to examine critical topics including, but are not limited to:  

  • Harvard, legacies of slavery, campus life, and the Boston-Cambridge community; 
  • legacies of slavery and the sciences at Harvard;  
  • legacies of slavery in Harvard museums and archives;  
  • and Harvard and legacies of slavery in the context of Caribbean nations/

Students may submit applications as individuals or groups; however, we can only accept one application per project.

Grant recipients will join a virtual student cohort and receive mentoring and support from Radcliffe staff and faculty members and from each other. 

Proposals must include a concept note of no more than 750 words outlining the project’s title and purpose, the work it entails and anticipated outcome(s), and the value it would add to understanding and reckoning with the legacy of slavery at Harvard. 

Funds cannot be used for travel or travel-related expenses, in accordance with University guidelines

Applications are due by 5 PM ET on Wednesday, September 16, 2020. Apply here. We will convey funding decisions by Friday, October 2, 2020. 

Grants FAQs

Who is eligible to apply for student grants? 

Any currently enrolled undergraduate or graduate student at Harvard is eligible to apply. Students on leaves of absence are not eligible.

When does my project need to be completed? 

All Radcliffe Engaged projects must be completed by the end of May 2021.  

Are there any requirements upon completion of the project? 

Grant recipients will be required to submit a brief final report on their project. They will also be asked whether they would be willing to present their project (at a public event, to the selection committee, or in another setting, as appropriate).

Are there restrictions on how to spend the stipend? 

Funds cannot be used for travel or travel-related expenses, in accordance with University guidelines

Funds will be awarded directly to students and may not be transferred to other departments or organizations.

What if my project requires IRB approval?

Students are responsible for obtaining appropriate approval for Human Subjects Research, if applicable. We encourage interested students to visit Harvard’s Committee on the Use of Human Subjects website for detailed information. Undergraduates may also refer to the Undergraduate Research Training Program (URTP), a comprehensive platform to assist and create better prepared undergraduate researchers.

Emerging Leaders Program

Harvard College sophomores and juniors (classes of 2023 and 2022) have an exciting opportunity to participate in the new Emerging Leaders Program (ELP). The ELP is a youth-mentorship initiative focused on engaging local high school students in leadership development, social movements, and civic engagement. Through online one-on-one and group sessions, mentors will support and encourage high school participants’ success in the program and curriculum. College mentors will also have an opportunity to develop their own leadership and mentoring skills and to advance their knowledge of youth leadership, social movements, and civic engagement.

Program Details

What is the Emerging Leaders Program?

The Emerging Leaders Program is a new mentorship initiative at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study designed to bring together Harvard students motivated about social change and leadership with high school students from the surrounding Cambridge area. Drawing upon Radcliffe’s unique history, the holdings of the Schlesinger Library, and partnerships with local schools, the curriculum will focus on leadership development, the history of social movements, and practical civic engagement skill development. The program’s goal is to spark dialogue that leads to real-world impact, empowering those who might not traditionally view themselves as leaders.

Why join the Emerging Leaders Program?

If you are interested in connecting with, inspiring, and mentoring high school students on topics of leadership, social activism, and civic engagement, this program is perfect for you. Mentors will enhance their own perspectives on leadership and learn hands-on knowledge and skills while guiding their mentees through the program. Your cohort of mentors will also engage in training and reflection sessions together, providing opportunities to meet classmates outside your own program or extracurricular network. Rising sophomores and juniors are invited to apply. 

What is the program structure and expected time commitment?

Mentors, who will be paid $15 per hour, are expected to commit to approximately 70 hours between October 2020 and May 2021. In the fall, they will attend and participate in a series of two-hour training sessions on mentoring best practices with other mentors and in a mentor-mentee orientation event. In the spring, mentors will attend and participate in approximately 14 weekly two-hour program sessions with mentees. Themes will include youth development, leadership, social movements, and civic engagement. Throughout the year, mentors will participate in monthly mentorship and reflection sessions as well as evaluations and assessments of the program. 

How do I join the Emerging Leaders Program?

You are right for the student mentor role if you: are a currently enrolled Harvard College students in your sophomore or junior year; exhibit a passion for youth leadership and mentorship; are able to commit to attend and participate in training sessions, group meetings, and reflection sessions throughout the year; have strong peer leadership and facilitation skills; and demonstrate good interpersonal and communication (written and verbal skills).

Successful student mentors will serve as positive role models for their mentees and potentially as advisors for future iterations of the Emerging Leaders Program.

The 2020-21 application deadline has passed.

I have more questions about the Emerging Leaders Program. Who should I contact?

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Kristen Kravet or Abbie Cohen with any questions.

Radcliffe Research Partnerships

The Radcliffe Research Partnership (RRP) program matches Harvard College students with Radcliffe fellows in a research and mentorship program. Fellows act as mentors, while students provide research assistance, acquire valuable research skills, and participate in the Institute's rich intellectual life.

As an RRP, you will be paid $15 per hour and work an average of 8 to 12 hours a week under the supervision of a Radcliffe fellow. To be eligible to participate in this program, Harvard College students must be active, registered and enrolled in courses, and have legal authorization to work in the United States.

View descriptions of 2020-21 research partnership opportunities and a list of frequently asked questions.

The 2020-21 application deadline has passed. If you're interested in being informed about projects that may still have an open position or new projects as they come up, please email rrp@radcliffe.harvard.edu.

Questions? Contact the RRP program at rrp@radcliffe.harvard.edu.

Student Advisory Board

Harvard undergraduate and graduate students are invited to apply to join the Radcliffe Student Advisory Board (SAB). SAB members shape programs and experiences at Radcliffe and represent the Institute at their respective schools and departments. More information about the board and application details will be available in early September. 

Virtual Student Events

Virtual student events create opportunities for students to gain priority access to our speakers, connect and share projects with one another, and encourage students to reflect upon pressing social issues. Radcliffe will hold a series of these free virtual programs over the academic year, and we welcome student participation. Subscribe to receive email invitations to these student-only events. 

Priority Registration

Harvard students at all levels are welcome at our free public events and receive priority registration at many of them. Recent examples include “Vision & Justice (which featured a performance by Wynton Marsalis and a panel discussion with Yara Shahidi, among other dynamic speakers) and “Radical Commitments: The Life and Legacy of Angela Davis,” which culminated in a keynote conversation with Angela Davis herself.