The Richter Scholar awards are available for the purpose of globally-oriented independent study 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 prioritizes funding research projects in foreign countries; however, globally-oriented projects within the U.S. may also be funded on a case-by-case basis.  This may include projects that are domestic in nature, such as a trip to Little Havana to study Cuban emigration stories, or virtual research with an international lab/contact. Proposals that focus on “touring”, however, rather than exploring a topic in-depth receive lower priority. Also, proposals that simply describe a research project will receive lower priority. Successful applications usually combine a developed educational project as well as a plan to explore the culture. International students are welcome to apply, but should consider any visa problems that might arise as a result of international travel.

Notes: Please consult the U.S. State Department website prior to application to understand any additional travel restrictions and requirements.

Important details to consider:


When: Summer 2024

Length: 2-9 weeks

Who: Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Students

Funding: Up to $7,500

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 full-time enrolled and in good standing with the University. Travel must be completed during Summer 2024 and the final report must be submitted to the Graduate School office during Fall 2024–or prior to the student’s graduation (whichever occurs first).

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 Jeanie Baird 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