What type of student is best suited for the Radcliffe Research Partners (RRP) program? Or, Is this program for me?
If you are self-motivated and interested in the subject matter of a particular RRP project, you are most likely a good candidate for this program. Radcliffe fellows will expect you to contribute your ideas, show up for pre-arranged meetings, and do most of the project work on your own. Additionally, a good candidate for this program will be able to work for a certain number of hours per week, to be discussed with the fellow (see below).
What type of work will I do?
Depending on the needs of the project, research partners have helped to edit books, perform archival research, and translate articles. While literature review is a common assignment, some fellows have students writing computer code, editing films, creating art objects, organizing events, performing data collection and database management, and so on. Required special skills will be noted in the individual project descriptions. In contrast to many research assistantships, the work should not be primarily clerical.
What are the benefits of being in RRP?
There are many benefits to participating in the RRP. Students have said that the mentorship and partnership gave them a sense of community and support, as fellows became their academic role models. Many students will have the opportunity to improve their knowledge and can learn new skills while working with a fellow. As Radcliffe fellows are usually on sabbatical or not teaching during their fellowship year, they may have more time to talk with you about your professional choices, graduate school, and so on.
This program allows you to work in a small group or as an individual with someone who is advanced in their field. You will be able to see how it is to have a life as a scholar, researcher, or professional artist. Because there is no pre-set curriculum, you can work with the fellow to suggest assignments for yourself that use your current skills or stretch and advance your capabilities.
Some students have made significant contributions to a project and are later listed as co-authors on articles or are thanked in book prefaces. This is not a given but is dependent on the level of contributions to the work.
How many hours per week am I expected to work?
The number of hours that you work on a weekly basis depends on a discussion that you and your Radcliffe fellow have. Additionally, we encourage you to make sure you keep your fellow informed of the times you may be less available, for example during mid-terms, finals, or spring break. You will have the opportunity during the application process and after hiring to discuss work assignments, the number of weekly hours that you both agree on, your availability during the term, and how best to contact one another. The maximum number of hours you can work is 20 per week.
Are all Harvard College undergraduate students, including first-year students, eligible?
Yes. Every year some first-year students apply and are hired. Seniors who are writing a thesis and wish to participate in this program should give the Radcliffe fellow a realistic forecast of their availability leading up to their thesis submission deadline.
This program is for Harvard College students only. Graduate students and students at the Division of Continuing Education are not eligible.
Can I apply to multiple projects?
Yes—students can apply up to three projects at a time. You must submit an application for each project that you’re interested in.
Can I work with more than one fellow?
Unfortunately, no. If more than one fellow wishes to hire you, you will have to choose one to work with.
Do I HAVE to include a reference?
Yes—we do require a reference as part of our application. You must include your reference’s contact information. Incoming first-year students may list a non-Harvard faculty or staff reference. The person you list as a reference does not have to write a letter of recommendation, and may or may not be contacted by the Radcliffe fellow as part of the selection process.
It is past the deadline; can I still apply?
Yes—after the deadline, we accept applications on a rolling basis until the fellows decide to close their projects. We do still advise you to apply as soon as possible.
How do I know which projects are still open?
We update Harvard University’s Student Employment Office (SEO) with open projects on a regular basis. Please email us if you have any trouble finding RRP positions on SEO.
Any other tips?
Students who have participated say that communication with their fellow is key. A research partnership is not a course—it’s a working arrangement that calls for you to be proactive and reliable. If you can’t be at a meeting, it is your responsibility to communicate that to your fellow. If you want more work, let the fellow know. Most fellows are willing to arrange the partnership so that your experience can be rewarding and worthwhile.