How to Write a Research Grant Proposal

Through the generous support of Mount Holyoke College alumnae, the history department is able to provide funding for students interested in carrying out primary source research towards a supervised independent project. For more information on the different types of funding available, see Award Opportunities. Such funding typically requires that students submit a written 2-3 page proposal.

A research grant proposal seeks to convince the reviewers that your project is worth funding.  A successful proposal invites readers to consider a clearly defined historical question, urges them to recognize the importance of that question, and assures them that you have the means to answer it. Writing a proposal also develops a clarity of thought about a project that creates momentum for its accomplishment.

A good research proposal should:

  • clearly state the question which your research will seek to answer should explain why the project is interesting and valuable in the context of current research on the topic 
  • indicate the methods and sources you will use to answer the question 
  • precisely state the financial support you will need and how the money will be spent 
  • include a short (1 page) bibliography of scholarly literature related to the research project 

The department welcomes proposals for any history-related project being carried out by a Mount Holyoke College student, so long as the research is carried out under the supervision of a faculty member from the department. For this reason, if you are interested in applying, we strongly recommend that you get in touch with a member of the department to discuss your project before you begin to draft your proposal.