Map LogoWhat is a MAP?

The Mentored Advanced Project (MAP) Definition

Mentored Advanced Projects provide a chance to work closely with a faculty member on scholarly research or the creation of a work of art.

A Mentored Advanced Project is an approved course of faculty-directed scholarly or creative work that is the culmination of significant preparatory work. It serves to integrate the knowledge and skills gained by the student's course of studies, and aims to produce results that merit presentation to the wider scholarly world.

The MAP program builds on the growing body of evidence demonstrating the value of undergraduate research. (Douglas Caulkins, “Student Faculty Research Collaboration in a Liberal Arts College.” Anthropology of Work Review, Vol XIX, No. 4 (18-23); David Lopatto, Science in Solution: the Impact of Undergraduate Research on Student Learning; David Lopatto, Undergraduate Research as a High-Impact Student Experience, AACU Peer Review (Spring 2010 Vol.12 No.2)

A MAP can be the capstone of the academic major or a concentration, or it can serve to integrate a separate sequence not recognized as a formal program. The MAP may be independent or conducted with a research team. In many fields, MAPs are connected with the faculty member's scholarship and may contribute to ongoing faculty research. Specific MAP offerings are described in greater detail by departments, concentrations, divisions, and non-departmental majors.

The MAP opportunity is made available by specific programs and individual faculty members at their discretion, so students should not expect to set the terms for a particular MAP. Sound planning and attentiveness to the available opportunities are recommended to students who seek a chance to culminate their undergraduate work in a creative or scholarly field.

Grinnell College has funding available to support travel for students (or first-year graduates) whose MAP results are accepted for off-campus public presentation or performance. If your MAP work has been accepted for external presentation, you may apply for travel support (In the "Summary of Student Travel Guidelines" drawer)

Summer MAPs require both a faculty request for funding (due 1st Friday in February) and a student MAP application. For information on deadlines, please see Planning a MAP below.

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Five Features of the Mentored Advanced Project (MAP)

A Mentored Advanced Project (MAP) can take a variety of forms, but must have the following five features in order to be recognized and approved as a MAP:
  1. The project is advanced. Evidence of this attribute will be that the context in which the project occurs has one or more pre-requisites above the introductory level. Students who wish to enroll in a MAP must have completed second-year status and have obtained the instructor's permission.
  2. It is the culmination of a sequence of previous academic work in one or more disciplines. The student's MAP application project statement should explain the relation between specific previous work and the project. Clearly, a student will need to engage in planning in order to prepare for a MAP. Such planning would be in keeping with the "Comprehensive Academic Plan" that the faculty approved and that we now require students to complete when they declare a major.
  3. It is intensively mentored by one or more faculty members. Generally, mentoring will take the form of regular (e.g. weekly) face-to-face meetings, but, if necessary, frequent electronic or telephone contact could substitute for some of these meetings.
  4. The student demonstrates initiative in shaping the project at each stage. The evidence of student initiative will show up initially in the written application to undertake a MAP, see 2 above, although, depending on the context in which the MAP is undertaken, the major initiative may be evidenced at a later stage.
  5. It results in a product that is shared, very possibly with an audience broader than the instructor and other students in a course. By design, the product (research paper, performance, portfolio, intellectual journal etc.) has the potential for outside evaluation, public presentation, and archiving, although in each case the faculty member and student will decide on the appropriate venue and evaluation for the specific project. This site provides a partial list of conferences and journals for undergraduate research. The Publications and Venues for off-campus dissemination of MAP research pages can also give you an idea of venues for publication and presentation.