Summer in South Asia Fellowships

Up In The Mountains (Dharamsala, India)
Photo by Man Kuan Lei, SISA 2014

Elisa Warner, Summer in South Asia 2014 Fellow

Elisa Warner, Summer in South Asia 2014 Fellow

SISA Image 1
Courtney Green--SISA 2013

Photo courtesy of Courtney Green, 2013 SISA Fellow

Up In The Mountains (Dharamsala, India)
Photo by Man Kuan Lei, SISA 2014

SISA Image 2
Rory Crook

Photo courtesy of SISA Fellow Rory Crook

Independent. Funded. Life Changing.

Apply now for the Summer in South Asia (SISA) Fellowship 2015!

Stage 1 and 2 Applications Due March 11, 2015!

Thanks to a generous donation
 to the Center for South Asian Studies, undergraduate students at U-M have an opportunity to design and carry out their own fellowship programs in India during the summer. This fellowship is intended for non-graduating students who have not already spent significant amounts of time in India. The program is designed to be flexible: you research and choose the NGO or business you'd like to be affiliated with, tell us what you want to study, design a program to accomplish your goals, and we will fund the best and most unique proposals to cover most of your costs.

We strongly encourage students to affiliate with a non-governmental organization or a business as part of your research project, but researching independently may also be acceptable. Paid internships will not be funded."

Learn more about SISA by reading about programs previous fellows have designed for themselves.

EligibilityWhat sort of students are you looking for?

  • Non-graduating undergraduate students are eligible to apply (freshman, sophomores, and juniors).
  • We accept students of all disciplines and majors at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor campus.
  • Applicants should have no or little previous experience traveling in India.
  • Only available to students who have not previously participated in the Summer in South Asia Program.
  • There is no GPA requirement (it is considered during the application process, but there is no minimum).

Requirements for the ProgramWhat am I getting myself into?

  • Students must initiate and implement individualized research projects; joint projects by multiple fellows will not be permitted.
  • Students must do their research projects only in India.
  • Students must spend a minimum of four weeks in India working on their research projects.
  • Students must maintain a blog during their time in India.
  • Students must prepare research reports and present the results of their research at a Colloquium open to the the University community.

Application ProcessHow do I do this and when is it due?

Click on Apply Now below to begin your application in M-Compass. Stage one and stage two applications must be completed by March 11, 2015.

In the Stage-One M-Compass application, students are required to submit the following application materials:

  • Online M-Compass funding application

After completing the stage one application, please contact Janelle Fosler by email at or by calling 734-647-7342 to obtain approval to progress to stage 2 of the application process.  The stage 2 application includes:

  • An uploaded Statement of Purpose (1-3 pages) including proposed time period, institutional affiliation, your reasons for pursuing the project, how this experience will contribute to your career goals; and budget
  • Two online recommendations - requested from M-Compass

An uploaded U-M transcript

Final award decisions will be issued March 15, 2015 and fellowship recipients will receive additional requirements at that time.

Apply Now

Examples of Possible Programs What do you mean by "self-directed research projects?"


Figment from 2014 SISA Fellow--and Waste Warriors intern-- Man Kuan Lei.
This video for the sole use of the CSAS Summer in South Asia program.

All projects MUST be self-directed research projects and cannot be paid internships or jobs. 

  • Swami Vivekanada Youth Movement (SVYM). This organization works in areas to development new innovations in civil society in India, through grassroots to policy-level action in health, education, and community development sectors. In the past, Fellows have worked with this organization in both the health and education sectors. They have assisted the organization by teaching courses and conducted independent research projects on the effectiveness of different teaching methods and strategies in nursing in a hospital setting.
  • Jeevika Development Society. Jeevika works to empower rural and lower class women through financial and social means. In the past, a Fellow worked within Jeevika to help assist in women’s groups, create reports for the organization, and developed her own research project while there. The Fellow examined the commonalities between oppressions faced by women with different identities and the structure organizations use to create interventions.
  • Waste Warriors. Waste Warriors collaborate with individuals, municipalities, schools, and businesses to provide door-to-door waste collection. They are working to provide a reasonably priced subscription to waste collection in an effort to keep communities clean. An alum of the fellowship worked alongside the Waste Warriors to try to improve the lives of the waste workers and develop ideas to make the project more efficient. 
  • Fellows have worked in a variety of different capacities for NGOs, educational institutions, hospitals, and with independent scholars.  So long as there is an independent research element to the proposals then it qualifies as a proposal for this program.
  • In the past, Fellows have also done preliminary work for an honor’s thesis. We hope that this experience will be beneficial for each Fellow in the future. Doing preliminary research for a thesis is a great way to make that happen.
  • The proposals do not have to be involved in civil society, medicine, environment, and so on. One could seek out an apprenticeship that complements one’s academic work. For instance, an art or art history student might apprentice with a master Indian artist or artisan.
  • To find the NGO, organization, institution, or individual that’s right for you, first find a topic that you’re passionate about and then try doing a basic internet search for a place to start. You likely won’t be able to find something the first time you look, but don't give up!

Summary of Important DatesDo I still have time for everything?

Stage 1 and Stage 2 applications must be completed by March 11, 2015.  Students who wish to apply are encouraged to read blogs written by previous students and watch video recordings of previous years' presentations.

Important Dates:

  • January 29 – March 11, 2015:          Advising Sessions to refine proposals
  • March 11, 2015:                                 Stage 1 and 2 applications due
  • March 15, 2015:                                 Notification of Results
  • Late March, 2015:                              Orientation Meeting