The Weiss Summer Research Program

With approximately 100 students participating in summer research each year, Holy Cross is a national leader in providing undergraduate summer research opportunities. 

Our eight-week program enables students to dive deep into a problem of their own devising, or to work closely alongside a mentor on their own research. Although this is an ideal experience for students interested in pursuing graduate studies, it also provides valuable experience in planning and executing an extensive project, budgeting project expenses, teamwork, and written and oral skills — all experiences valued by employers in a variety of fields. And students develop real substantive expertise in ways that can not be matched in the classroom.

Students apply for admission to the Weiss Summer Research Program in the spring, then spend eight weeks in residency on campus (usually June through July).  Students receive a stipend to enable them to focus full time on their research. With one-on-one faculty mentorship, a weekly workshop, and the small but intense community of fellow student researchers, summer research at Holy Cross is a distinctive experience. Each fall, students report on the results of their work at the annual Weiss Summer Research Symposium.

The program and symposium are named after Charles “Chick” Weiss who joined the psychology faculty in 1975 with a Ph.D. in neurobiology and physiology from Ohio University. An esteemed professor, mentor and scholar, Weiss served as the chair of the psychology department from 1984 to 1989. He also served the College as coordinator of Grants and Research (1989-95), the director of the Office of Grants and Corporate and Foundation Giving (1995-2003), and the director of Strategic Initiatives and Corporate and Foundation Relations from 2003 until his retirement in 2016. Weiss was integral to bringing major projects to life, most notably the College’s integrated science complex, Brooks Concert Hall and the Summer Research Program.

Research in the Natural Sciences

In most cases, students in the natural sciences work on faculty research projects, designed by faculty who are leading researchers in their fields. This frequently leads to both important discoveries in a variety of fields, as well as co-authored papers and conference presentations. Visit the Research in the Natural Sciences website »

Research in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Arts

Students can either sign on to an existing faculty research project or design a project to suit their own intellectual interests. Our student researchers have published academic papers, presented at academic conferences, created websites, composed musical arrangements, performed plays, and created works of art.  Visit the Research in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Arts website »

Research in Economics

Distinctive in its team approach, students work on faculty-designed projects, and participate in a close-knit team of researchers. Their work has resulted in an extensive range of co-authored papers and conference presentations. Visit the Research in Economics website »

Commonly Asked Questions

Who can participate?
Admission to the program is competitive but is open to all students, including first-year students.

Where will I live during the summer?
The Summer Research Fellowship includes on-campus housing throughout the eight-week period of the program.  Students also receive a partial meal plan (~1 meal swipe per weekday).

Which program should I apply to?
That depends on your interest; although there are no prerequisites to the program, most summer researchers are working in fields in which they have some classroom experience. And although it is not required that students work within their majors, it is generally the case that summer research projects delve deep enough into a subject to require some familiarity with the field. If you are unsure, the J.D. Power Center for Liberal Arts in the World can provide guidance.

How do I find a research project?
The best first step is to talk to a faculty member. If you are unsure of a good faculty match, the J.D. Power Center for Liberal Arts in the World can provide guidance.

What is the cost?
There is no cost to participate; Summer Research Fellows are paid a weekly stipend, and all are paid a housing stipend to cover their housing on campus.  A partial on-campus meal plan is provided to help cover food expenses.

Do I get credit for summer research?
It is not possible to earn a full course credit through the Weiss Summer Research Program, though students can have their experience noted on their transcript through the Experiential Learning Partial Credit

Can I enroll in summer school, or an LSAT prep class? Can I have a part time job?
Summer Research Fellows are expected to put in 40 hours a week on their project.  Summer Research Fellows are not permitted to hold an outside job during regular work hours, and the terms of the stipend prohibit work on campus during their fellowship period. If you need to work a job at night and/or on the weekends, that is up to you, but you do not want that employment to interfere with your research.

Weiss fellows are permitted to take a summer school class in the evening hours. The course should not interfere with regular work hours.

Goals of the Weiss Summer Research Program

  • Develop students’ understanding of the value of scholarship and the importance of situating a research agenda in a larger context. Advance students’ understanding of the scholarly and/or creative process and scholarly integrity.
  • Foster students’ appreciation for what it means to be part of a dynamic and diverse scholarly community, both on campus and beyond.
  • Strengthen students’ ability to communicate scholarly knowledge and engage effectively with different audiences.
  • Enhance students’ capacity for integrative thinking across courses and disciplines, over time, and over different dimensions of their educational experience. 
  • Improve student’s ability to think creatively when generating questions and engaging in inquiry, analysis and problem solving.
  • Prepare students for advanced study and vocational discernment.
  • Inspire continued intellectual accomplishment and future projects.
  • Cultivate mutually beneficial scholarly collaboration between faculty and students.