Summer Travel Grants

The Center for African Studies offers funding to Harvard undergraduate students traveling to Africa for thesis research, internships, volunteer work, or study abroad. Grants require a minimum stay of eight weeks in Africa. Grant awards range from $2,500 - $5,000 and are intended to cover otherwise unfunded costs of round-trip travel and modest accommodations. Summer grants are highly competitive, and we encourage students to apply to multiple funding sources.

All applicants’ proposals must follow current university COVID-19 Travel Guidance. Remote opportunities are not being considered at this time, but please continue to check this webpage regularly for any changes to our current offerings. Those applying for travel funding are encouraged to submit a remote back-up proposal in the event that travel policies change before departure. All awardees must complete all pre-departure requirements noted on the Harvard Global Support Services website

The Center reserves the right to revoke funding if travel is no longer permitted to your requested country. Because of this, we encourage all awardees to purchase travel insurance or a ticket through an airline with flexible cancellation policies. 


  • Applicant must be a continuing, full-time student at Harvard College. 
  • Applicant’s purpose of travel must be for thesis research, internship opportunity, volunteer work, or study abroad.
  • Research/work/study must take place in any African country (check Harvard student travel policies for any restrictions).
  • Minimum duration of travel is eight weeks in addition to any required arrival quarantines.
  • For internship, volunteer, and study abroad opportunities, preference will go to students who have taken coursework in African Studies, have experience in the region, and/or have language experience related to Africa.

For research applications ONLY:

  • Research must be supported by a Harvard faculty member (for example, a Harvard junior/senior working on a Senior Thesis Project would have their faculty adviser sign off on the research proposal in the recommendation letter).
  • Applicant must have completed two African Studies-related courses (be explicit about these courses and their relevance in your application; see Funding FAQs for more information.)


We are now accepting applications for Summer 2023. Deadline: March 1, 2023 at 11:59pm

  • CARAT online application form link
  • Current unofficial transcript
  • Current resume/CV
  • 750 word proposal, including a description of the research/project you are planning to work on and whether or not it is continued research from prior time spent in Africa OR a description of your internship/volunteer/study abroad opportunity and how it connects to your field of study or future career plans
  • Detailed itinerary, including expected flight dates, plans for use of time while in Africa, and any arrival quarantines for all travel destinations
  • Detailed budget for all expenses while traveling. Please include any quarantine expenses. CAS will not pay you for time spent conducting research or participating in an unpaid internship. Funding is meant to cover expenses only. If your budget exceeds the $5,000 maximum, please describe how you plan to fund the excess expenses (i.e. OCS grant, personal funds, etc.). Be sure to list all other grants to which you have applied and your award status. Please note that grant funds cannot be used to pay research assistants. 
  • One letter of recommendation: Letters of recommendation should also be submitted through CARAT by the grant deadline. Simply notifying references through CARAT will allow you to submit your application but will NOT mark your application as complete. It is your responsibility to ensure all letters are submitted by the deadline.  CAS does not follow up with references on your behalf. For research grants, one letter of recommendation must be from the Harvard faculty member that has approved the project you are working on. (Recommenders outside Harvard University may e-mail recommendations directly to the Center for African Studies Student Support & Outreach Officer Lindsay Moats at
  • Internship, volunteer, and study abroad applications ONLY: Letter of support from sponsoring organization (If you have not yet been accepted into your program, please attach a document stating the anticipated acceptance notification date.)
  • Applications and/or any missing components received after the deadline are not considered.