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Summer in South Asia Undergraduate Fellowships

Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, all travel must follow current guidelines, which are detailed in the International Institute Travel Policy.

Beginning in 2006, and thanks to a generous gift from an anonymous donor, the Summer in South Asia Fellowship has provided over 100 students with funding to volunteer and/or conduct a project in India over the summer months. The program is designed to be student-centered.

Students awarded fellowships in 2023 will receive $4,500. This typically is sufficient to cover all or most costs associated with traveling to—and time spent in—India.

SiSA Fellows have focused on a wide variety of topics related to their academic degrees and/or areas of personal interest. This fellowship has provided students with opportunities ranging from building solar panels with community members in a rural area, to working on a Bollywood movie set. Participating in this fellowship provides students with invaluable international experiences that are transformative and leave a lasting personal, academic, and professional impact on their lives.  

No prior research or professional experience is required, and staff members at CSAS are available to assist throughout the application process.

Learn more about the impact of SiSA by reading about programs our alumni have designed for themselves over the past ten years, and watch the video of the 2018 fellows discussing their projects.

Application Requirements

MCompass Online Application

All applicants must fill out the online Summer in South Asia Fellowship application through the  MCompass platform. Only non-graduating undergraduate students from any academic discipline may apply.

Unofficial U-M Transcript

All applicants must upload an unofficial UM transcript as part of the application. While there is no minimum required GPA, the admissions committee will take academic performance into account.

Recommendation Letters

Two (2) letters of recommendation are required; at least one must be from a faculty member or GSI at the University of Michigan. As with all recommendations, please request letters from someone who can speak to your ability to succeed in SiSA.

Dates and Deadlines

October 15, 2022: Application period starts

January 20, 2023: Application period ends

February, 2023: Results


What sort of students are we looking for?

To be eligible for a Summer in South Asia fellowship, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Non-graduating undergraduate students from all academic disciplines
  • Applicants must not have spent a significant amount of time in India
  • Joint projects by multiple fellows are not permitted
  • There is no GPA requirement, although GPA is considered during the application process
  • Applicants may have additional sources of funding, but may not receive financial compensation for their volunteer work

Funding Amount

Students will receive $4,500 total.

This typically is sufficient to cover all or most costs associated with traveling to—and time spent in—India.

Application Procedure

The application requires students to complete the following:

  • M-Compass Application
  • Two recommendation forms must be completed on your behalf 
  • One copy of unofficial transcripts

The Summer in South Asia Fellowship offers students the option to choose between pursuing a volunteer opportunity or conducting an independent project while in India. 

The Summer in South Asia Fellowship is most commonly awarded to students who volunteer or apprentice with an organization of their choice.  Students typically choose their volunteer site based on academic and/or personal interests. The Center for South Asian Studies is available to assist you with the application process – providing guidance on volunteer sites, topics of interest, and some logistical arrangements. 

Independent Project
Strong independent proposals for individual study projects are eligible for fellowship funds.  Applicants who select this option will spend their time in India focused on their project, and therefore the expectations for the final report are greater.  

If selecting this option, students should have:

  • Knowledge of the topic they will be focusing on
  • At least one faculty member willing to serve as an informal advisor on the topic. This person can be based in the US or in India, and should have knowledge of South Asia.
  • Comfortable with independent travel in India
  • IRB approval where required

See the Guide to Finding a Volunteer Opportunity and our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information on this fellowship and the application process.

Summer in South Asia Fellow Blog

2019 Summer in South Asia Fellow Blog

While in India, Summer in South Asia Fellows are expected to participate in a shared blog. This blog gives them an opportunity to keep family, friends at home, each other, and the CSAS staff up to date on their activities as they encounter some of the greatest challenges and most satisfying encounters of their lives.

Read the blogs of former Summer in South Asia Fellows:

SiSA Symposium Videos

So what exactly did the former fellows do in India?

Watch them talk about their projects and experiences here.


What if I still have questions?  

For more information about the Summer in South Asia Fellowship please contact:

Clemente Beghi, Fellowships Coordinator
Center for South Asian Studies
Weiser Hall
500 Church Street, Suite 400
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1042
Telephone: 734-615-4059