Awards & Scholarships

Annual Undergraduate Research Scholarship Program

Microscopy Society of America (MSA) scholarships for undergraduate research are intended to foster the educational and research potential of full-time undergraduate students interested in pursuing microscopy as a career or major research tool. Applications for research involving any area of microscopy are suitable for the program. The MSA Undergraduate Research Scholarship Program has been providing funding for undergraduate research for over 25 years. Over 100 projects covering a wide range of topics in the physical and biological sciences have received support through this program. Nearly all the scholarship recipients have maintained a strong interest in imaging an analytical sciences and have gone on to graduate school, professional school, teaching, or industry positions.

The program which is funded by MSA and by matching funds from MSA Sustaining Members is able to support over 50% of applicants. These awards help to provide student stipends, supply costs, and limited travel expenses associated with research. Additional support in the form of instrument use time, equipment purchases, etc. is generally provided by the student's supervisor and/or through the sponsoring institution. Abstracts reporting the research results, are prepared by scholarship awardees, and published in Microscopy and Microanalysis.

We are extremely grateful for the matching support provided by MSA Sustaining members and individuals. Their support over the years has enabled the program to increase both the number of awards and the maximum amount of each award.

The MSA Undergraduate Research Scholarship Program is currently soliciting applications from students interested in conducting a research project which involves the use of any microscopy technique. Students are required to be sponsored by a member of MSA. The maximal award is $3000. The application deadline is Dec 31, of each year (20xx), for use within the next year (20xx +1).

Application Form

2017 Undergraduate Scholarship Awardees

2018 Undergraduate Scholarship Awardees


Undergraduate Research Scholarship Program Application Information

Applicants must be full-time undergraduate students. Research must be completed prior to graduation.* Applicants must have junior or senior standing by the time the work is initiated. Applicants do not have to be a member of MSA, however, they must be sponsored by an MSA member.

Scholarship funds must be expended within a designated period not to exceed one year from the award date (April 1st).

Applicants may receive only one scholarship.

Applications for research to be performed at an institution other than the one in which the applicant is enrolled are acceptable.

Successful applicants must agree to furnish MSA with an abstract for publication in the Society Journal, Microscopy and Microanalysis, describing the results and status of their project within two months after the conclusion of the award period, to acknowledge the award in all resulting publications, and to provide reprints of any other resulting publications to the Society. A brief note indicating the awardee's future plans is also requested at the time of abstract submission.

Completed applications, including all items listed on reverse side, must be received at the MSA Office by December 31 to be considered for funds to be awarded by the following April 1. Applicants are responsible for seeing that all required materials are sent to the Office in time and should check with the Office to make sure their applications are complete.

*In special cases and by prior agreement funds may be used, in part, to support ongoing work which extends one additional summer semester past graduation.

A completed application consists of:

  1. An original and four copies of a completed Application Form. A copy of the form is attached here. Please note that copies are not required if all materials are being submitted electronically.
  2. An original and four copies of a research proposal not more than three pages long. It should include, at least, an introduction, a section on methods, and a description and itemization of the study's goals.
  3. An original and four copies of a budget indicating how the awarded funds will be expended. Please specify the source(s) of additional funding for instrument use, laboratory equipment, etc.
  4. Two letters of reference from scientists or university faculty familiar with the applicant's capabilities. Four copies of each letter are requested, if possible.
  5. A letter from the supervisor of the laboratory in which the proposed research will be performed, confirming that the applicant and research project are acceptable. Four copies of the letter are requested.
  6. An original and four copies of the applicant's curriculum vitae, including details of education and/or training in microscopy and a brief statement of career goals.
  7. A letter of recommendation from an MSA member (may be combined with one of the letters in Items 4 or 5 above). Four copies of the letter are requested, if possible. Students are required to be sponsored by a member of MSA. For help in identifying current MSA members, visit or call (703) 234-4089.

Application materials, including the Application Form, research proposals and budgets, and supporting letters, should be sent to:

MSA Undergraduate Research Scholarships
11130 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 350
Reston, VA 20191
Phone: (703) 234-4115

Submissions may be made electronically by sending an e-mail to Association Management.

For further information contact:

Dr. Ralph Albrecht
Animal Sciences
Univ. of Wisconsin
1675 Observatory Dr.
Madison, WI 53706
Phone: 608-263-3952/4162
Fax: 608-262-5157

*MSA scholarship funds are generally approved for student stipends, supplies, and occasionally for limited travel essential to proposed studies. Fees for use of instruments, extensive travel, or purchase of/or contribution toward purchase of, laboratory equipment are generally considered to be part of the institutional and/or advisor's commitment to the research project.