Copeland Fund for Independent Study

What is it?

In honor of his presidency at the College of Wooster, Wooster’s Board of Trustees established the Henry J. Copeland Fund for Independent Study in 1995 and raised $1 million in gifts to endow this program. The Copeland Fund is now in its 28th year of operation, and we expect to be able to award over $90,000 in the current academic year!

Programs offered twice a year

Each year, we invite students to apply to one of two programs. Consideration of applications in the fall of the academic year is intended primarily for seniors enrolled in Senior Independent Study (I.S. 451). Consideration of applications in the spring of the same academic year and is intended primarily for rising seniors who will be working over the summer on their Senior Independent Study (I.S.) projects. Seniors who are taking 451 in the spring semester also are welcome to apply for funding during this latter competition. Rising seniors who receive Copeland funding during the spring application cycle will not be eligible to receive funding again in the fall.

What kinds of things are funded?

Please Note: If you plan to request travel funds for international research, you must first reach out to the Global Engagement Office to receive travel approval. This must be done prior to submitting your application for funding.

We invite each eligible student to consider how support from the Copeland Fund for Independent Study might enhance their senior project in significant ways. The Committee has no preconceived notions of what a successful request might involve. Preference will be given to proposals that (a) involve the completion of projects of unusual distinction and promise and (b) demonstrate why the project involves expenses above and beyond those normally incurred in undertaking Independent Study. The Copeland Fund Committee makes grants for many purposes, such as:

  • to purchase supplies, materials, and small items of equipment, with the understanding that supplies and equipment become the property of the College
  • subsidize students’ travel to major libraries, art galleries, museums, archives, and science laboratories at other institutions
  • support travel to conduct participant-observation and in-person interviews for their project
  • interview important figures in a student’s major field of study
  • pay for registration at major conferences specific to an I.S. topic
  • to develop appropriate research tools such as questionnaires
  • For additional ideas, see some of the exciting projects that have been supported by Copeland funding in the past.

See additional Copeland Funding Proposal Guidelines here.

Application process

These grants are highly competitive. Students interested in applying for Copeland funds should discuss their needs carefully with their I.S. advisors and complete the online Copeland Fund Application.

You can view the Copeland Fund Application pdf prior to completing the online application.

The application asks you to describe your I.S. project, explain how assistance from the Copeland Fund will enhance your project, and provide an estimate of your proposed expenses from the fund.

Following your submission, your application will be forwarded to your I.S. advisor(s) with a brief recommendation form for them to complete.


There are two proposal deadlines in both the Fall and the Spring. The earlier deadline is intended to allow the committee time to make early awards of Copeland funds to time-sensitive applications. This will allow students who can demonstrate an early need for access to funds to begin their Copeland-related research in time to plan for activities such as the purchasing of scientific equipment or travel during Fall Break or Thanksgiving Recess. Proposals which do not qualify for early Copeland funding during the first round but could feasibly be completed later in the academic year, will be automatically placed for consideration in the second round.

All deadlines are “hard” deadlines because of the tight timeline the Committee has to review student applications and faculty recommendations. The applications will be downloaded at 8am the day after each deadline list below.

Fall Deadlines

  • Monday, September 11, 2023 for applications with time-sensitive requests
  • Monday, October 16, 2023

Spring Deadlines

  • Monday, February 5, 2024 for applications with time-sensitive requests
  • Monday, March 25, 2024

Faculty advisors will be asked—via an email following the student’s completion of their online application—to fill out a brief recommendation form regarding the merits of the proposed project.  These recommendations are due by the Tuesday following each deadline and will be made available to the Committee the following day. 

Committee Members

All grants from the Copeland Fund will be determined by a faculty committee that consists of:

  • Lisa Wong (Music)
  • Sara Martin (Chemistry)
  • Meredith Hope (Psychology)
  • Qimin Huang (Mathematical & Computer Science)
  • Tracy Cosgriff (Art and Art History)
  • Candace Chenoweth (Director of the Global Engagement)

We encourage you to consider applying for assistance from the Copeland Independent Study Fund in support of your senior project.