SPS Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Research

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2022-23  |  2021-22  |  2020-21  |  2019-20 |  2018-19  |  2017-18  |  2016-17 | 2015-16 | 2014-15 | 2013-14 | 2012-13

Applications Open: January 2

Applications Due: March 15 

Apply here!

Program Overview

The Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award is provided to students based on exceptional research achievement in any physics-related field. Students are chosen from among qualified applicants on the basis of their research, letters of recommendation, and SPS participation. Evaluators will consider factors such as evidence of strong research skills, innovative and original thinking and promise for future study. Awardees will receive up to $2000 to cover travel and registration costs to attend one AIP member society professional meeting of their choosing in the 12 months after receiving the award. Additionally, award recipients will receive a $500 honorarium for themselves and a $500 honorarium for their SPS chapter. 

Award at a Glance

  • Two or more awards may be made each year to individuals who meet the criteria.

  • Winners are able to attend and present their research at a AIP member society meeting of their choice, and receive a $500 honorarium for themselves and a $500 honorarium for their SPS chapter.

  • Awardees will also be required to submit a research report to the annual Journal of Undergraduate Reports in Physics (JURP).

  • Awarded to undergraduates on the basis of their exceptional research, letters of recommendation, and SPS participation.


  • Applicants must be members of the SPS national organization.
  • Applicants must be undergraduate students at the time the application is due.

Application Procedure

  • Applicants must complete the online application no later than March 15. If this deadline falls on a weekend, the application is due the following Monday.
  • In addition to completing a general application form, applicants must submit the following information.
    • Title and text of research abstract
    • A list of references for where the research explained in the abstract has been presented or published (if any)
    • Written description of SPS-related activity
    • Two letters of recommendation - One from an SPS advisor and one from another faculty member or a research advisor
  • Note: The online application will guide applicants through the process of requesting letters of recommendation (letters must be uploaded, not emailed or mailed to the SPS National Office) and adding the additional supporting information.
  • All of these items must be submitted through the online system by the deadline in order for an application to be considered.

Proposal Review

In determining the recipients, the Awards Committee shall consider:

  • Quality of the abstract
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Demonstration of active participation in SPS


Please address questions related to this award to SPS-Programs [at] aip.org.

Note: Awardees will be required to submit a completed W-9 federal tax form before funds dispersal—download form at: www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw9.pdf