Application Process

Please read this information very carefully before proceeding to the online application form!

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Due to severe cuts to our funding from the National Science Foundation, students for 2016 projects will only be recruited from the 18 Keck-member institutions

Application Deadline!

The deadline for receiving your completed online application and accompanying documentation (e.g. letter of Recommendation & Advisor Commitment) is February 1 for 2016-2017 projects.

Program Overview

Students accepted into Consortium projects will spend approximately four weeks in the field or laboratory collecting data. See the project announcements for specific descriptions of the time and activities involved.


Project faculty help the students prepare for the summer work by preparing reading lists designed to provide an introduction to the field area and problem as well as providing information on project logistics. In the field: Students receive a short introduction to the field area or laboratory, which will help them identify their individual research project within the context of the research group’s overall problem. Students spend the rest of the field time collecting their data, assisting other students, and discussing problems and results with the rest of the group.

Continuing Research

During the following academic year, the students are required to continue their work as independent study projects or senior honors theses at their home institutions under the guidance of an on-campus research advisor. The research group continues to communicate through e-mail.


The student project culminates with participation in the annual Keck Research Symposium in Geology, which is held in April. Students present results in poster format, and may also be expected to give a short talk. All students are expected to submit a four-page ‘Short Contribution’ to be published in the symposium volume. Participation at the symposium is expected of all program students.


IMPORTANT NOTE:  Due to severe cuts to our funding from the National Science Foundation, students for 2014 and 2015 projects will only be recruited from the 18 Keck-member institutions

  • Rising senior at the time of the summer field work.
  • Declared geology or geology-related major enrolled in a degree program leading to a bachelor’s degree.
  • Completed course prerequisites for the project, and willing to complete a semester, block, or year of independent study or a senior thesis based on the Keck summer research project.
  • Citizen or permanent resident of the United States or its possessions.

Fellowship and Expenses

  • Fellowship: The fellowship for student participants is $1500.00 (pending NSF funding and approval). Fellowships are disbursed to the student during the summer field season.  Note that there are sometimes projects that ask students to pay for some modest project costs.  This might include field expenses, analytical expenses or a contribution to travel expenses (see below).  In these cases, the normal $1,500 stipend will be reduced.
  • Travel and Travel Reimbursements: Reimbursement for travel to and from the project site depends on project location. For all domestic projects, the Consortium will pay up to $500 (in some cases more than $500 will be paid) for round-trip travel costs to the research site from home or college. Note: OVERSEAS (and some domestic) TRAVEL IS LIKELY TO BE GREATER THAN $500; STUDENT PARTICIPANTS MAY BE RESPONSIBLE FOR SOME OF THE EXPENSE. The Consortium also pays full costs of room and board during the summer project, and for extra research expenses required for successful completion of the Keck project (e.g., thin sections, chemical analyses, etc.). The Consortium pays all expenses related to attending the symposium, except for the cost of transportation to and from the home airport.

The Application and Selection Process

For questions about the application process, or about the Consortium in general, contact Dr. Robert J. Varga at (330) 465-7184 or Carol Morgan, Administrative Assistant; or review additional documents on our website.

Student selection is based on the applicants:

  1. potential to succeed in the geosciences;
  2. research interests and educational goals;
  3. compatibility with the research goals of the project; and
  4. potential contribution to the success of the project.

Students will be notified of acceptance in late February by email and paper copy.

Application materials for summer projects, including any supplemental materials (completed faculty advisor and recommendation forms) must be received on or before February 2, 2015.

Application Procedure

Before proceeding with your online application you must contact a faculty member at your institution who will provide a letter of recommendation for you, and you must consult with a faculty member who will serve as your on-campus Research Advisor for your project. Your Faculty Recommender and faculty research advisor may or may not be the same person.

A complete application packet includes:

  1. the online application form
  2. online recommendation form from a faculty member and/or your chosen faculty research advisor/sponsor
  3. the online verification from your research advisor/sponsor that they agree to supervise your work for the coming year.

Before going to the online application form make sure you have all the required information available including – your contact details, course grades, project choices, faculty recommender information, and research sponsor information.

If you wish to preview all the questions before going to the online application, you can download a PDF file with sample questions here. Do not submit this form – you must complete the online application!

  • Complete the Online Application Form (see below), including your answers to the supplemental questions.
  • Have your faculty recommender complete the online Faculty Recommendation Form.
  • Send your on-campus research advisor the link to the Research Advisor Duties information.
  • Have the faculty member who you have identified as your research advisor fill out the online Faculty Advisor Form (in most cases recommender and research advisor will be the same person). On this form your faculty research advisor will verify your current GPA and the grades for the classes you reported on your electronic application.
  • Ask your potential research advisor/sponsor to verify their agreement to act in this capacity during the coming year and to supervise your independent study or senior thesis based on your Keck Geology Consortium project research (see Research Advisor information).
  • Please note that only complete application packets will be considered in the selection process. Use the checklist at the top of the application form to make sure that your packet is complete.

Application Process

  1. After reading the project descriptions, consult your recommending faculty member and your potential research advisor/sponsor and decide which projects most closely match your interests and qualifications. Please be sure that your faculty advisor/sponsor is familiar with the responsibilities of research advisors.
  2. Complete the ONLINE APPLICATION FORM. Part of this electronic application includes listing science or related courses you have taken, and the grades received, as well as listing those currently in progress. PROVIDE YOUR ON-CAMPUS RESEARCH ADVISOR WITH THE GRADE LIST YOU ARE SUBMITTING ON THE APPLICATION FORM. THEY WILL NEED TO CERTIFY THAT THE GRADES ARE CORRECT. In addition, there are three (3) supplemental questions concerning future plans and how you expect to benefit from your research experience. Responses to these questions typically run to at least a half-page each (you can paste text into the response boxes from word processing programs).
    1. How will participating in your first choice project contribute to your academic, professional and personal objectives? Give specific examples.
    2. What strengths (academic and non-academic) do you bring to this project that will contribute to its success? Describe past experiences that highlight strengths not apparent from your transcript.
    3. Would you be an enthusiastic participant in your second choice project?
  3. Arrange to have a recommendation from a faculty member (who may also agree to serve as your research advisor). Your faculty recommender should access the online Faculty Recommendation Form. Your research advisor should complete the  online Research Advisor Form on which s/he will verify your courses/grades submitted on your online Application Form. It is your responsibility to ensure that the information you submit is accurate. in the interest of your security and privacy, we are no longer requiring the submission of actual transcripts. however, a misrepresentation of falsification of your academic achievement will result in the discard of your application for project consideration. Further, any such event will be reported to your home department to be addressed by your home institution’s code of academic honesty.