International Research Opportunities Program (IROP)

IROP awards support nine weeks of summer research in diverse settings abroad: 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 international mentors, and address issues of cross-cultural preparation. IROP awards endeavor to support the full cost of research expenses, including travel to the research country and nine weeks' room and board. 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. Your IROP application 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.

Note: Independent research abroad differs from traditional “study abroad” programs in both its rewards and challenges.  To learn the distinctions, please read “What is the difference between the International Research Opportunities Program (IROP) and traditional study abroad programs?” 


  • IROP awards may support research that contributes to a senior project or thesis. 
  • Students may not accept both an IROP award and other awarded funding for the same research during the same time period (e.g. NSF, Pfizer, Space Grant, or other grant that awards money for research).  If you have any questions, please consult with Hamel Center staff.
  • IROP recipients may not be enrolled in summer courses during the award period unless they receive prior approval from the Hamel Center director.


  • Undergraduate at UNH or UNHM
  • Enrolled in a UNH baccalaureate degree program
  • Minimum 3.0 cumulative UNH/UNHM GPA at the time of application  (Transfer students must have completed at least one full-time semester at UNH or UNHM at the time of application, with a minimum 3.0 GPA earned from UNH/UNHM courses.)
  • At least junior status (in third year of full-time college coursework) at time of application, returning to campus for at least one more semester (with a minimum enrollment of eight credits) following the research summer 
  • In good academic standing with a clean conduct record  (Successful applicants will be required to receive approval from their College Dean’s Office – through the International Experiences Student Eligibility Form – before accepting the award.)
  • Demonstration of appropriate foreign language competency and knowledge of the country/culture in which the research will be conducted

Application Deadline

October 25, 2023 for summer 2024*

Applications must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. on the deadline date above.

* Students planning to apply for IROP must meet with the Hamel Center director, Dr. Paul Tsang (, before preparing their application – no later than September 29, 2023. Before meeting with Dr. Tsang, students must have a firm commitment from a UNH faculty mentor. Applications submitted by students who have not met with Dr. Tsang in advance will not be accepted.

IROP Application Guidelines

Read the Application Guidelines before completing the application forms. A complete IROP application includes: 1) Application Intake Form (to be completed through the online application portal), 2) Project Proposal, 3) Project Risk Assessment Form, 4) Cultural and Language Preparation Form, 5) Budget, 6) Letter of Confirmation from International Mentor, 7) UNH Faculty Mentor Recommendation, 8) UNH Faculty Recommendation (non-mentor). Please refer to the IROP  Application Checklist which outlines each step of the application process.

We strongly urge you to take several steps before you write your proposal and complete your application. Some homework up front will minimize confusion at deadline time and will increase your chances of success! These steps are:

1. Review the information in these guidelines for detailed information about the program and the application process.    

2. Make sure you are eligible. To apply, you must be a UNH or UNHM undergraduate enrolled in a baccalaureate degree program, with a minimum UNH cumulative GPA of 3.0 at the time of application.  You must be at least a junior (in your third year of full-time college coursework) at the time of application, and you must be returning to campus for at least one semester (with a minimum enrollment of eight credits) after completing your summer research.  *Note: To be eligible, transfer students must have completed at least one full-time semester at UNH at the time of application, with a minimum 3.0 GPA earned from UNH courses.

In order to be eligible for IROP, you must also be in good academic standing and have a clean conduct record.  Successful applicants will be required to receive approval from their College Dean’s Office – through the International Experiences Student Eligibility Form – before accepting the award. 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 College Dean’s Office prior to consideration for participation in IROP.

3. Make sure your proposed research country/site is eligible.  To minimize health and safety risks, UNH policy prohibits student activities, undergraduate and graduate, in countries or areas that the U.S. Department of State rates as Level 3: Reconsider Travel or Level 4: Do Not Travel. There may be instances when an individual student considers that there is a compelling educational interest to conduct an activity in a Level 3 or Level 4 country or area and that it is possible to mitigate the risks. In these cases, an individual student may petition UNH’s International Travel Risk Review Committee (ITRRC) for prior approval.  UNH’s ITRRC also may require approval for travel to locations that pose a specific health, safety, or security concern as indicated by sources other than the U.S. Department of State. Examples of such sources may include but are not limited to: Centers for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), non-U.S. government authorities (e.g., Australian or Canadian authorities), UNH authorities, travel assistance providers, and international education organizations.

4. Make sure you have a firm commitment from a UNH faculty mentor.  Complete and sign the top portion of the “IROP Faculty Mentor Recommendation Form” and give it to your mentor as soon as possible.  You should also plan to give your mentor any personal background information you think might be useful toward the recommendation letter (e.g., a resume or list of relevant coursework, jobs, skills or knowledge; educational and career goals).  Note: All tenure-track, research, clinical, and extension faculty are eligible to mentor an undergraduate research project funded through the Hamel Center without prior approval.  Other non-tenure-track faculty may be eligible with prior approvalSee complete guidelines on faculty mentor eligibility.

5. Secure a second letter of recommendation from a UNH faculty member who is not your mentor.  Complete and sign the top portion of the “IROP Faculty Recommendation” form and give it to your second recommender as soon as possible

6. Make sure you have a firm commitment from an international mentor.  With your UNH faculty mentor, you should identify and communicate with an appropriate international mentor at the site where you propose to do your research.  You should discuss the proposed research project with the international mentor, to ensure that all aspects of the project (research design, time frame, budget, safety, cultural preparation, living arrangements) are manageable.  Share with your international mentor the “International Mentor Responsibilities” document, to ensure that he/she understands the responsibilities of the role. For inclusion with your application, your international mentor should write a letter (signed and on professional letterhead, where possible) that includes the following:

  • Confirmation of his/her willingness to serve as your on-site mentor for the summer research period abroad, as well as to look after your welfare while you are on-site in his/her country.
  • A description of how you will be incorporated into his/her ongoing research (if the proposed project is that kind of research), and/or how he/she plans to assist you on your project.
  • Background information, including the international research mentor’s professional title/role and his/her area of expertise as it relates to the proposed IROP research project.
  • Contact information, including mailing address, email, and phone number.

7. Consult the Hamel Center website for advice on writing an effective proposal, and allow ample time to complete all application materials.  You may also make an appointment with a Hamel Center staff member who can look over your proposal draft to see if it meets requirements for format and style. (Note: It is your mentors, not a Hamel Center staff member, who can critique your draft with regard to its discipline-specific content.)

8. Ask your UNH faculty mentor and international mentor to review your proposal draft.  Be sure to allow sufficient time for your mentors’ review and comments before the deadline.

9. Determine if your project will require approval from a University review committee.  Certain types of research are subject to federal regulations and University guidelines. For example, any projects involving interviews, surveys or questionnaires – i.e. all having to do with human subjects – must receive approval from UNH’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) before the research begins.  Similarly, research involving vertebrate animals, infectious agents, DEA controlled substances, lasers, x-rays, hazardous chemicals, radioactive materials, carcinogenic material, recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules, NMR/superconducting magnets, and/or patents and copyrights must receive approval from the appropriate University review committee before the research begins.  If you have questions about how to obtain research approval, talk with your UNH faculty mentor and international mentor, or consult a Hamel Center staff member.  You do not need to submit this approval with your IROP application; however, if you are granted an award, the Hamel Center must receive confirmation of approval from the appropriate University review committee before dispensing your award money. So, it is in your best interest to begin the approval process at the time of your application.  For more information, go to: . Keep in mind that your international research country/site might require approvals in addition to UNH approvals – consult with your international mentor.

10. Make sure your research project will not involve the exporting or importing of any materials (including samples and equipment) restricted by federal regulation. See UNH guidelines on Export Controls for further information.

11. In order to travel abroad you will need a valid passport, and for many countries you might also need a visa.  Processing times for new and renewed passports are exceedingly long at present. If you do not have a valid passport, it is strongly recommended that you apply for one before you apply for IROP.  If you have a passport that is close to expiring, you should also give yourself plenty of time to renew it if necessary. Note: Some countries require that your passport be valid at least six months beyond the dates of your trip. Check the U.S. Department of State’s website to learn about entry and exit requirements for the country to which you plan to travel. You should also learn about the visa process for your proposed country (how long it will take, how much it will cost, and what documents are required).  Note: For countries that require a visa, IROP recipients should apply for a tourist visa, not for a student visa.  Below are some helpful passport and visa sites with information on how to acquire these official documents.

The project proposal is the most important part of the application. Using the outline below, answer all of the following questions fully but concisely: be succinct. We strongly suggest your final proposal adhere closely to this outline, including subheadings; please do not, however, reproduce the questions in your proposal. Rather, prepare each section of the project proposal in essay format.

Students are expected to write the IROP proposal themselves, in its entirety.  Of course, students should consult with their UNH and international research mentors before writing the proposal and ask their mentors to critique it once they have written a draft.  Even with mentor input, however, the final proposal should reflect the students’ own work.  Students should allow sufficient time for revision.

Proposal Outline

1. Title page: including the project title, your name and major, your faculty mentor’s name and department, and the program for which you are applying

2. Abstract:  a brief summary of your proposed project, not to exceed 200 words.

3.  Project History and Definition

  • general problem, theme, or issue to be addressed
  • historical or theoretical context
  • most relevant previous research, scholarship, or artistry on this topic by other researchers, scholars, or artists
  • project’s specific question, hypothesis, or objective(s)

4.  Approach/Methodology

  • methods, procedures, theories, or lines of thinking and/or creating you will use to address your research topic and answer the question(s) you pose
  • if you plan to conduct interviews or surveys: what assumption/hypothesis/general principle you will test; the number of participants you will seek and how you will recruit/select them; sample interview/survey questions
  • materials and sources you will need to study in order to pursue your project
  • how you will analyze, interpret, and/or evaluate your findings (i.e., the material you study, the data you collect, or your creative experience)
  • how and why your mode of analysis will enable you to accomplish your objectives and/or answer your research question(s)
  • foreseeable challenges, obstacles, or difficulties – and how you are prepared to address them

5.  Significance/Meaning/Implications

  • contribution of your project to the problem and your field
  • wider implications of your research or artistry (e.g., social, cultural, intellectual, creative, practical, theoretical)
  • if this project is a portion of a more comprehensive research project being conducted by your UNH and/or international mentor, include an explanation of how it fits into the whole

6.    Personal Outcome

  • tangible product(s) of your project (e.g., report, paper, thesis, presentation, production, exhibition, film, etc.)
  • contribution of the project to your educational goals, including how this project will enhance your understanding of your particular field
  • contribution of the project to your long-term career goals

7.    Location

  • principal location of project work
  • other research or artistic sites and source locations to which you will travel
  • how your project is related to the specific country/location to which you will travel; why you are going there, rather than anywhere else, to conduct your project
  • specific resources and/or contacts at the research site that will be instrumental to the project and to accomplishing your objectives
  • if you need prior approval to gain access to your research site and its sources, describe how and when you will obtain written permission

8.    My Role/Preparation/Experience

  • your specific role during the research period
  • your preparation and qualifications to undertake the project (e.g., previous coursework, jobs, extracurricular experiences; other research, training, or performance experience)
  • your plans for further preparing yourself before undertaking the project (e.g., coursework in research methods or related subject matter, additional in-depth research on the topic, skills acquisition/training, practical experience, other resources)  Note: If you or your UNH mentor will not be on campus in the semester prior to your research summer, explain your arrangements for preparing for each aspect of your role prior to the research period.
  • if one of your methods will be interviews and/or surveys: how you will prepare yourself to design and conduct these (e.g., coursework, training by your mentor, etc.)
  • role of your UNH faculty mentor, including how often and in what ways you will be in contact with your faculty mentor over the course of the summer 
  • role of your international mentor and others (graduate students/technicians/collaborators), including the plans you and your international mentor have made to communicate on a regular basis during the research period
  • if you will be working as part of a research team while abroad: who the other members of the team are and who directs the team

9.    Timetable

  • time allotted to each portion of your project, week by week, with as much detail as possible
  • brief explanation of research activities and timetable for your entire project, if the IROP-funded portion is part of a larger project (e.g., senior capstone or thesis)
  • Note: A successful IROP project will require a substantial amount of time, effort, energy, and focus to complete. Your research plan for your time abroad should anticipate nine (9) weeks of full-time research.

10. Appendices

  • Statement of Previous Hamel Center-Funded Research (if applicable)

Students who have previously received Hamel Center funds (e.g. REAP, Undergraduate Research Award, SURF USA) must submit with their application a “Statement of Previous Support.”  This statement (no more than one page, double spaced per award) should include the following information about previously funded research:  1) Hamel Center grant received, 2) Project Title, 3) Faculty Mentor, 4) project start/end dates, 5) a brief description of how the current proposed research extends and/or differs from research previously funded by the Hamel Center, including how the results of that former research might inform the research now being proposed (if applicable).

  • Attachments
    • illustrations, diagrams, or video/audio recordings as necessary
    • one- to two-page bibliography of primary and secondary sources that you will use toward this project (e.g., books, journal articles, films, interviews, media sources, master classes).  Note:  Be sure that all sources which you consulted in preparing the proposal are cited in the proposal text and listed in the bibliography.  Format the in-text citations and bibliography according to the style guidelines for your discipline.
    • surveys, questionnaires, and interview questions, if these are part of your research

Proposal Format and Style 

The proposal should:

  • be typed and double spaced, using Times New Roman 12-point font (black) *Note:  You may single-space your Timetable.
  • have one-inch margins on all sides (top, bottom, left, right)
  • be no more than 2500 words (approximately 10 pages) – this word limit excludes the title page, abstract, appendices/attachments
  • include page numbers
  • follow the Proposal Outline carefully, using clear subheadings (as above) for each section
  • include definitions of words specific to your field or research, if faculty members outside your field are not likely to be familiar with them.  Note: In general, you should keep in mind that the Faculty Advisory Committee members who review applications represent a range of disciplines, so your proposal should be written in a way that can be understood by an educated reader who is not necessarily a specialist in your field.
  • Save your proposal as a PDF to be uploaded to the online application portal.  Use this naming format: Lastname_Firstname_IROP_Proposal

The Project Risk Assessment Form is a fillable PDF.  Please consult with your UNH and international mentors before completing the form, then complete the form and save it to your computer using this naming format: Lastname_Firstname_IROP_Risk

Note:  Together with their UNH and international mentors, successful applicants will be required to complete a comprehensive Emergency Plan for the nine-week research period, to be completed before the student leaves the U.S. for the research site. Awardees will receive further information during IROP orientation.

The Cultural and Language Preparation Form is a fillable PDF.  Please complete the form and save it to your computer using this naming format: Lastname_Firstname_IROP_Cultural

Please review the following instructions before completing the IROP Budget Form.

In consultation with your UNH and international mentors, determine as accurately as you can your estimated expenses. The total should represent the amount without which your project will not be possible. All expenses must be itemized; explain the cost of any supplies, equipment, or expenses other than travel to the primary research site/housing/meals, justifying their necessity to the project.

Legitimate and Excluded Expenses. The rule to follow:  If your expense is directly related to your research, including travel to research sites and room and board while conducting research, it is a legitimate IROP budget request.  The following are examples of expenses you may incur which are NOT legitimate research expenses:  laundry, toiletries and personal items, trip insurance, excess luggage charges, shipping fees for non-research materials, excessive bank transactions fees, recreational travel unrelated to your research.  Uncertain about whether an expense is allowable?  Contact the Hamel Center.  Note: All final budget requests are subject to Hamel Center approval.

  • Supplies: These include, but are not limited to: note-taking supplies (e.g. paper/notebooks, pens/pencils), art supplies, supplies for lab or field work (e.g. chemicals, lab animals, etc.).  You should provide the exact cost of each item.

  • Other Expenses: This category refers to any expenses in the following areas – photocopies, internet access/computer time, cell phone/phone minutes/phone calls, postage, special fees for access to research sites, or services rendered (e.g. interpreter) – along with any expenses that might not be covered within the other categories. Most of these items should be estimated by the number needed for your research project and the cost for each. For example, 100 photocopies multiplied by 10 cents each will give you the total amount of $10 needed by you. For “services rendered,” you should contact the person where the work will be done for an estimate of the cost.
    • Note: You may request up to a maximum of $200 toward internet and phone expenses combined.  To budget wisely, be sure to investigate the availability of free internet at your residence(s) and/or research site(s) prior to requesting expense funds.  Also, with the help of your UNH and international mentors, research carefully the least expensive options for cell phone use in-country.
    • Also, note that IROP does not cover the cost of visas, passports, student identification cards, or vaccinations/prophylactic medications.

  • Permanent Equipment (e.g., voice recorders, cameras, GPS’s, bicycles, musical instruments, books, etc.):  First, check to see if you can borrow this equipment either from your home department or from the Hamel Center.  If you cannot borrow the equipment, you may request IROP funds to pay for the equipment you need during the research summer.  Please note, however, that any durable, non-expendable items purchased with IROP funds are University property and must be returned to the Hamel Center (if adaptability and voltage make that feasible) or re-sold at the research destination (you must provide a receipt from the purchaser). The principle here:  IROP funds cannot be used to buy equipment for your continued use once the research summer is over.  If you are purchasing musical instruments for your use after the research summer, for example, you must pay for them yourself.

  • Travel Expenses:
    • Round-trip transportation to/from your primary research site (airfare or other).  Note: IROP travel support assumes travel to/from your primary research site and the Boston/Manchester area specifically – not travel to/from your primary research site and another area of the U.S., or personal travel to/from another foreign site before, during, or after your research period. Only in particular qualifying circumstances (e.g., travel arrangements that are demonstrably less expensive than travel between Boston/Manchester and your primary research site) will alternate travel requests be considered. Consult the Hamel Center before submitting alternate travel requests.
    • In-country transportation (trains, buses, taxis, car/driver).  In-country expenses may include travel from your summer residence to other research sites (e.g. libraries, archives, museums, and the field).  Where possible, you are encouraged to consider public transportation (including train and bus passes), which is often cheaper.

Final notes: 

  1. Except in cases of extreme and unforeseeable events (a precipitous airfare rate increase, for example), student researchers are bound to conduct their projects within the limits of the original award amount. Increased expenses incurred because of late booking, changing travel plans, early returns, etc., must be borne by the student.

  1. If you are awarded an IROP grant and you subsequently need to purchase an item or service that is not in your original budget, or if your research travel itinerary deviates from the original, approved project, you must obtain Hamel Center approval before making the expenditure or change in research plan.  Any requested budget changes must still fit within the original, approved budget amount. 

Save your Budget as a PDF to be uploaded to the online application portal.  Use this naming format: Lastname_Firstname_IROP_Budget

Share this International Mentor Responsibilities document with your international mentor as soon as possible, and ask him/her to prepare a confirmation letter as described.  Your international mentor should return the letter to you, and you will be responsible for uploading the letter with your complete IROP application. 

Save the letter as a PDF using this format: StudentLastname_StudentFirstname_IROP_International Mentor

Complete the top portion of the IROP Faculty Mentor Recommendation Form and give the form to your mentor well in advance of the application deadline.  Your mentor will be responsible for uploading the form and their letter of recommendation to the online portal no later than the application deadline.

Complete the top portion of the IROP Faculty Recommendation Form and give the form to your second UNH faculty recommender well in advance of the application deadline.  Your faculty recommender will be responsible for uploading the form and their letter of recommendation to the online portal no later than the application deadline.

Members of the Hamel Center’s Faculty Advisory Committee review all applications. Each proposal is read by at least three faculty reviewers, drawn from the appropriate colleges and departments.  An application may receive a maximum of 25 points from each reviewer.

1.  Quality of the Proposal: 12 points

  • Is the proposal complete? Are all parts clearly explained in accordance with the proposal outline?
  • Is the proposal well written and well defined, with clearly stated research question(s)/objective(s)?
  • Does the proposal demonstrate careful preliminary investigation of project background, including necessary bibliography?
  • Does the proposal present a feasible plan and clear disciplinary approach to answering the research question(s)?
  • Is the project manageable and appropriate for the IROP time frame (i.e., anticipating 9 weeks of full-time research)?
  • Is there a clear rationale for why the research should be conducted at the proposed site?
  • Are the project and research site(s) safe?
  • Is the proposal understandable to a general, educated reader who is not a specialist in the proposed research field?

2. Qualifications of the Applicant: 5 points

  • Does the student possess sufficient disciplinary background/experience/preparation to conduct the research?
  • Does the student have the necessary language skills to conduct the research?
  • Has the student developed an adequate plan for cultural preparation?

3.  Appropriateness of the Budget: 2 points                                                                          

  • Is the budget itemized?
  • Is it clear why all budget items are necessary to the project?
  • Is the budget reasonable?                                                                                                                             

4.  Mentor/Faculty Letters: 6 points                                                                                        

  • Does the student have the necessary preparation to undertake the project in the allotted time period?
  • Does the student have the emotional and intellectual maturity to conduct independent research abroad?
  • Does the project have significance to the field and also educational value for the student?
  • Is there a strong relationship between the student’s project and both the UNH and international mentors’ own research/scholarly/creative work or areas of expertise?
  • Will the student receive adequate support from both the UNH and international mentors during the summer research period?

Notification:  All applicants and their faculty mentors will be notified of the review committee’s decision in writing within approximately six weeks of the application deadline.  If your application is successful, you will then be asked to sign a Letter of Intent and will receive further program information, including procedures for receiving your award.

In addition to the expectation that you will conduct/complete the research project proposed in your application, the IROP award comes with the following requirements:

  1. Final Report: describing your project and your findings (2500 words).
  2. Final Evaluation: to be completed electronically by you and your mentors. 
  3. Letter(s) of Appreciation: to be written by you to your sponsoring donor(s).
  4. Presentation of Research: presentation of your research results 1) at the Hamel Center’s International Undergraduate Research Symposium (fall), and 2) at a second appropriate forum (on or off campus) during the academic year.

IROP students are also encouraged to consider publishing a research brief, commentary, or article in Inquiry, UNH’s online undergraduate research journal, and/or to contribute to the Hamel Center’s Undergraduate Research Blog.

Submitting Your IROP Application

Students: Please have all application documents ready for upload before submitting your application here >>

UNH Faculty Mentor Recommendation for IROP

Faculty Mentors: Please follow the instructions in the IROP Faculty Mentor Memo >>

UNH Faculty Recommendation (non-mentor) for IROP

Faculty Recommenders (non-mentor): Please submit the IROP Faculty Recommendation Form and Letter of Recommendation through the online portal.