International Research Opportunities Program (IROP)

Anna Visciano
Anna Visciano (IROP '07) with  her
students at the Thembelitsha
Primary School in Knysna,
South Africa

IROP grants are competitive awards supporting qualified projects in diverse settings: universities, government agencies, museums, archives, art galleries, archeological and historical sites, research libraries, laboratories, and field sites. By working closely with a UNH mentor, students identify potential research sites and foreign mentors, and address issues of cross-cultural preparation. Independent research abroad differs from traditional “study abroad” programs in both its rewards and challenges.  Please read “What is the difference between Hamel Center international research programs (IROP, SURF Abroad, Study Abroad Research Grants) and traditional study abroad programs?” to learn the distinctions.

Eligibility and Stipend >>
Engaging in Research >>
Returning to UNH >>
Application Guide >>

Eligibility and Stipend

Students of all majors may apply for an IROP award to fund their research, scholarly, or creative project. Students applying for IROP must have a minimum 3.0 cumulative UNH GPA and junior-level preparation in their major prior to conducting the proposed research. Students planning to apply for an IROP grant must also meet with the international research coordinator, Georgeann Murphy (, before preparing their application—no later than a month before the application deadlineSee the IROP Application Guide for more details. 

Any student interested in applying for an IROP grant must first file a Confidential Reference of Student Conduct form to establish eligibility. We advise downloading the form, completing the top part, and hand delivering it to your College Dean's Office before you begin work on an application. Doing so will quickly establish eligibility for students with a clear record, or indicate the need for a petition.

Note that any student sanctioned by the University Student Conduct System for a serious violation of the University of New Hampshire Student Rights, Rules and Responsibilities must petition his or her dean's office prior to consideration for participation in a UNH-managed or UNH-approved study away program.

IROP awards endeavor to support the full cost of research expenses, including travel and nine weeks' room and board; applicants submit a detailed budget as part of their proposals (see application). Total awards vary with project needs and cost of living in the research destination.  The average of recent awards is $6300.

The rich experience of visiting another country, another culture, is part of the IROP experience. Applicants please note: your IROP proposal will require not only a detailed description of your research project and a plan for preparing yourself to do it, but also a plan for how you will prepare yourself, with language and cultural investigation, to engage the country you will visit. Whatever your country of origin, IROP encourages a visit to a country you do not already know well. UNH students from countries outside the U.S. who wish to return to their home countries to conduct research should consider applying for SURF Abroad. (See "What is the difference between IROP and SURF Abroad?")

IROP assumes close contact with your UNH mentor during your preparation for research. During the time between your acceptance into the IROP program and actual departure for your chosen research location, you must ensure adequate language skill and cultural preparation. Assume responsibility for completing the research described in your proposal, and commit to 9 weeks of summer research.

If you or your UNH mentor will not be on campus in the semesters prior to your research summer, your proposal must justify and explain your arrangements. (For example, perhaps you and your UNH mentor will be participating in a study abroad semester). Consider a SURF Abroad grant if you’ll already be studying away and wish to continue your research in the same country.

Engaging in Research

While studying in your chosen country, you will aim to answer your particular research questions in the field, in a lab, a library, an archive, a gallery, a theater—wherever your project topic and intellectual curiosity lead you.  The Hamel Center requires you to keep expense records and monitor your budget, and asks that you document everything you can both in writing and with images.

While studying in another country, you must remember to comply with the professional ethics of your field as well as host country laws.  Join locals as a gracious UNH representative, and connect with other researchers and the IROP staff via the UNH Blackboard and personal blogs.

Returning to UNH

Presenting your research in the semester after your return from abroad is a requirement of the IROP grant. Plan to return to UNH following your research summer for a minimum of one semester.

Upon returning to UNH, you will write a 2500-word project summary and submit this to the Hamel Center by the end of October. With the help of your mentor, you will prepare your research for presentation in your discipline as, for example, a seminar paper, honors thesis, senior thesis, or capstone project.  

In late September you will present an overview of your research to a general audience at the annual International Undergraduate Research Symposium, and work with your faculty mentor to find a forum for presenting your research within your discipline during the academic year. Although publication is not a requirement, we encourage you to share your research and cultural experience in various forums, such as writing an article for Inquiry, UNH’s undergraduate research journal, and perhaps presenting at the Undergraduate Research Conference (URC) or a professional conference in your discipline.  The Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research offers research presentation grants to support conference travel.

Your UNH transcript will note your completion of all IROP requirements and your project title.

Read more about the IROP experience from program alumni >>