Richter Scholarship Program

The Richter Scholar awards are available for graduate and undergraduate students for the purpose of globally-oriented independent study scholarships for students in the undergraduate College, and the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences on the Reynolda Campus of Wake Forest University. Traditionally, the Richter Scholarship has funded students studying and researching projects in foreign countries; however, due to COVID-19, we anticipate also funding globally-oriented projects within the U.S. as well. For example, a U.S.-based student might travel to Little Havana in Miami to research Cuban immigrant experiences.

The Richter Scholar awards are for up to $3,000. Students are encouraged to pursue enriching, broadening projects that have the promise of being life-changing. To enrich the independent study experience, each student is required to have a faculty mentor for his or her project. Copies of research reports and papers developed under the auspices of the Richter Scholars Program shall upon request be forwarded to the Trustee for the Richter Funds. All publications resulting from the Richter Scholar Program shall acknowledge the sponsorship of the Richter Memorial Funds.

2021 Update: We anticipate awarding Richter Scholarships to graduate students in summer 2021. Due to COVID-19, there are additional travel restrictions and visa requirements for foreign travel. Please consult the U.S. State Department website prior to application to understand the requirements.

Important details to consider:


When: Summer 2021

Length: 2-9 weeks

Who: Graduate School of Arts & Sciences students

Funding: Up to $3000

Application Process

Students should complete the Richter Application. Please note that your proposal description should be single-spaced, font size 12, Times New Roman (preferred), one-inch margins.

Criteria for Selection

A committee of faculty and administrators in the Graduate School will review applications and select the scholarship recipients. Scholars will be selected based on the following criteria: feasibility of the project, matching with the Richter Scholarships goals, contribution of the project to the overall education and enrichment of the student, commitment of the student and faculty advisor to the project, and the student’s demonstrated ability to initiate and sustain creative activities and research. Students must have at least a 3.0 overall average at the time of application. Students must be in good standing with the University. Travel must be completed before the end of the calendar year during which the funds are awarded (2021), the final report must be completed before graduation.

Successful applications typically describe a substantive research project (i.e., clearly outline the project, where, and why). The Richter is not given just for travel abroad but also emphasizes this educational experience. The details of the research project should be clear. If the applicant will involve some person or group in the country visited, successful applicants typically secure a letter of support or some indication that the student will be able to undertake the proposed project and will have any necessary supporting materials needed.

In addition to the research emphasis, successful applications convey how the student will be exposed to the culture in the location [country] visited, have new experiences, and meet with new types of people. In particular, the Richter group is looking for projects that might have a “life-enhancing” impact.  Think “Pro Humanitate” from a personal and global perspective. Individually conceived and executed projects are encouraged. The duration of successful projects normally ranges from 3-6 weeks.

Human Subjects/Participants Research

If you are considering a project which includes gathering data about living human individuals, your project may be considered human subjects research (HSR). Applicants are advised to confer with their adviser about the approvals necessary for their project prior to submitting their application. If you are considering HSR for your Richter application, please contact Pam Moser at, in advance of your submission, to determine if you need WFU Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval. This is required if you are proposing a project which may include HSR. We recommend that students planning to conduct HSR to also have two planned scenarios: one if in-person is permitted and feasible, and one if in-person is not permitted or feasible due to Covid-19 or other reasons.

If you are considering HSR in the European Union, please note that collection of personal data about individuals in the EU is subject to a strict privacy law called the EU-General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The United Kingdom has its own version of the law, the UK-GDPR.

History of the Richter Scholars Program

Bank of America as sole trustees of the Paul K. Richter Memorial Fund and the Evalyn E. Cook Richter Memorial Fund selected Wake Forest University in 2000 to receive a grant (a renewable annual discretionary distribution from the two funds). The grant supports the Richter Scholars Program. J. Edward Richter, born in Chicago in 1898, established these two funds in memory of his parents. A 1921 graduate of Yale University, he attended the University of Cambridge in England during 1921-1923 where he studied history and architecture. His two years at Cambridge were to have a significant influence on his views regarding education. Shortly before his death in 1967, Ed Richter, in consultation with the trust officer at the Continental Bank (now part of the Bank of America) decided to leave his entire estate in the two trusts, the income from which would be distributed to private colleges to support independent study projects and related travel.

More Information

Sarah Simpson
Wake Forest University
Graduate School of Arts & Sciences