Planning a MAP

Planning a MAP: What MAP Students and Mentors Need to Know

For Faculty

Research Ethics

Researchers at Grinnell need to consult the relevant ethical resources.

Dates to remember:

Faculty Deadlines

Student Deadlines

Completed MAP applications should be returned to the Registrar’s Office.

Planning a MAP: What MAP Students and Mentors Need to Know

The Top 10 Ways to Persuade an Institutional Review Board to Reject Your Research Proposal (PDF) David Lopatto, Ann Ellis CUR Focus, Spring 2010, Vol 30, No 3

Off-Campus Presentation Target

As you plan a Mentored Advanced Project, you should begin by thinking about the scope and desired results of your culminating scholarly or creative project. MAP applications must include a specific off-campus venue in order to be considered. Students will not be held to this venue, but need to have a goal in mind. List of Publications, Presentations, and Awards.

MAP Credits

The Mentored Advanced Project takes place under the direct and continuous supervision of a Grinnell faculty member. The project must comprise a total of 4, 6, or 8 credits, with no more than 4 credits earned in a single semester or summer. Although a MAP component may earn 2 credits (for example, you might follow-up a four credit summer MAP with a two-credit MAP in the fall where you finish up the research and write the final draft of a research paper) there are no 2-credit MAPs. The first semester of a MAP must be 4-credits. Background or preparatory work is best pursued as a regular Independent Study in advance of the MAP. The MAP proposal, including a description of all components of the project, should be submitted at the time of registering for the first component.

Please see the summary of the Curriculum Committee’s Resolutions (PDF) for more details.

Student MAP Proposal Guidelines

Detailed instructions on developing a successful MAP application

In consultation with your faculty mentor, prepare a detailed formal proposal describing the topic and project that seeks to persuade your reader that your project is worth supporting. Of course, no scholar can ever predict the exact outcome of scholarly and creative work, so your final project may not match your proposal exactly; however, writing a strong proposal increases the likelihood that you will produce a successful product. Due to the inherent “advanced” nature of the MAP, make sure that the proposal shows how you are grappling at a deep level with what’s been done before in the discipline and how your project responds to that previous work. Your MAP application should demonstrate your ability to conduct such an advanced study. Overall, this proposal should argue, using evidence, that this project is important, academically rigorous, and likely to result in a product that makes a new contribution to the field of study.

Specific points to consider in preparing your application:

  • A Mentored Advanced Project is an approved course of faculty-directed scholarly or creative work that culminates significant preparatory work. It integrates the knowledge and skills gained by your course of studies, and aims to produce results that merit dissemination to the wider scholarly community. Using this definition, argue that your proposed project is both advanced and integrative given the background and skills you bring to it.
  • State your problem or hypothesis and clearly place it within the field of previous and ongoing work of others. This description should reflect a thorough review of the literature on your topic, to make sure you know what other scholars are doing and what conclusions they are coming to.
  • Formulate and describe your approach to the project—the steps you will take to answer the questions/address the hypothesis you have already presented. Clearly and thoroughly articulate your methodology and why you will use this particular approach for your analysis, formation of a creative product, and/or data collection. Include references to particular influences and previous work that informs this process.
  • Identify what your research will contribute to the body of knowledge in the disciplinary area in which you are working. What will those who review your final product learn about the larger field of scholarship within which your project falls?
  • Pay attention to the requirements of academic honesty:
    • Remember that this proposal is a scholarly piece of writing; as such it should represent your most careful formal writing. As with any scholarly piece of writing, you must attribute ideas and words to their sources clearly and consistently, using whatever citation system is accepted in your discipline.
    • If you are proposing work that will be done in collaboration with others, whether faculty members or students, clarify what language and ideas belong to others and what are yours. Even if the project as a whole is collaborative, you must argue individually in your own words why the project represents advanced and integrative work for you.

Applying for a MAP

To propose a MAP, use the application form available from the Registrar and also online. Applications for summer MAPs and academic year MAPs can be found with the registrar’s forms.

The deadline for proposing a MAP or any other Independent Study during the academic year falls on Monday of the week following the end of the pre-registration period. Deadline for students who were on Off-Campus Study the semester prior to the MAP, or who are applying for the second semester of a two-part MAP is the Friday of the first full week of classes.

The application should set out a clear set of goals and a highly detailed plan, including the questions or problems you intend to address and how you intend to go about addressing them.

Supplies needed to complete the project (poster, artwork, photocopies, etc.) are the responsibility of the student and the academic department. If your MAP will incur special costs or expenses, please be sure to include a tentative budget with the application.

Planning a Summer MAP

Timing and Time Commitment

The standard ten-week period for a summer MAP begins with the week of Memorial Day and ends in early August. Summer MAPs require both a faculty request for funding (due 1st Friday in February) and a student MAP application. Planning summer MAPs must begin very early. All summer MAP students receive a stipend awarded by the Committee for the Support of Faculty Scholarship, so faculty desirous of mentoring students in an advanced project during the summer must submit a funding request form before the February deadline. A CSFS request for funding is necessary for student-initiated projects as well as for MAPs based on a faculty member’s research. Summer MAPs differ from those pursued during the academic year. The summer MAP is expected to be a full-time on-campus endeavor (this is why the College pays a stipend to the summer MAP student, as well as why students cannot be employed elsewhere on campus during the MAP). Mentors are expected to provide frequent and regular supervision, including at least two regularly scheduled meeting per week that the MAP is conducted.

Defining Projects and Identifying Summer MAP Students and Mentors

Faculty members who normally use student assistants in their summer research programs apply for funds for student summer stipends as a matter of course each year, and identify qualified MAP candidates late in the Spring semester. Because summers are reserved for faculty research, opportunities for student-initiated summer MAP projects are very restricted. Students who hope to pursue a summer research program of their own devising must discuss their plans with potential mentors well before the February deadline for summer funding requests. They should develop for the application a clear set of goals and a highly detailed plan, including the questions or problems they intend to address and how they intend to go about addressing them. Students who are on a Personal leave of Absence or an Emergency/Medical Leave of Absence are eligible for summer independent study, directed research or MAPS, provided the following conditions are in place:

  • The MAP meets Grinnell’s standards for summer MAPS
  • The student has filed a personal or emergency/medical leave return letter and has been granted approval to return for the subsequent semester
  • The student will be registering in April for fall classes
  • The student must sign a promissory note agreeing to repay the stipend and appropriate tuition for the credits they earned if they do not enroll for the fall term.


To secure funding for a summer MAP, the faculty member needs to submit a request to the Committee on Support of Faculty Scholarship (CSFS) in early February. The summer map funding form is available online. This request normally includes a stipend to support the MAP student during the summer, and in some cases modest expenses (such as research supplies (not including books)) needed to carry out the project. 

Research supplies have a maximum budget of $1000. 

Summer Application

The MAP application form is available from the Registrar’s Office, including an online printable MAP application form. For summer MAPs, the Registrar’s deadline is too late to secure funding for a project if your faculty mentor did not do so by the February deadline. There are two parts to summer MAP applications and two deadline options. Part A of the application, due in late April or early May, asks for the title and the plans for meetings and coursework. Part B asks the applicant to describe the project in detail. The MAP Director will determine whether Part B will be submitted in May or if the project will be better served by delaying Part B submission until June. The June deadline best suits MAPs where students are working on the faculty member’s research. The May deadline better serves student-initiated projects by helping the student and director develop a clear set of expectations early on. It is important to remember that the application is not complete (and thus cannot be approved by the Dean’s office) until both parts are submitted.


MAP students are eligible to rent college-owned housing, subject to availability, either for that ten-week period, or for a six-week period during the first half or second half of the summer. Initial deposits and rent can automatically be deducted from MAP stipend payments. To accommodate building maintenance needs, the earliest date for students to move into the college-owned housing will be Memorial Day, and it will not be possible to remain any later than the first full week of August. (See summer housing) Students interested in learning more about this opportunity should contact the Residence Life Housing Office.


If the MAP student has not previously been employed by the college, the student needs to complete employment forms at the Office of Student Accounts. The student should refer to the I-9 for appropriate employment verification. It is not possible to receive a paycheck without filing these employment forms. Student paychecks are issued throughout the summer on alternate Fridays as determined by the Office of Finance and Treasurer, and are available for pick-up at Student Accounts.

Student Travel Guidelines

General Travel Expense Guidelines

Please complete a Travel Expense Voucher (under “Travel Reimbursement Information”) and return with original itemized receipts to the Dean’s Office (Nollen 2nd) within thirty days from the date of travel. If you need assistance, please contact Marcia Baker in the Dean’s Office at ext. 3098.

Funds should not be committed for non-refundable expenses until receiving notification of approval.

Original itemized receipts are needed for all allowable expenses including transportation (except mileage), registration, and lodging. Receipts must be itemized and show specific items purchased.


Normally, the rate available for student housing per night is $60. In some cases, the maximum expense available per student may be increased to $120 per night.


The maximum total amount available for transportation is $300 for travel within 350 miles and $400 for distances greater than 350 miles. In some cases worked out with the Associate Dean's office, special funding may be available for subsidizing international travel. It is expected that travel dates and times will be selected to keep travel and lodging expenses low. Please make flight arrangements as early as possible to ensure the lowest possible fares. Those driving will be reimbursed at $0.535 per mile, plus parking and tolls, up to the maximum amount allowed. Expenses for ground transportation to and from the Des Airport may be reimbursed up to $65. Expenses for ground transportation to and from the Cedar Rapids airport may be reimbursed up to $83.

Students traveling to conduct research during the MAP

Budgets for Summer MAPs are submitted by faculty MAP directors in February. Budgets for Fall and Spring MAPs should be included within the student’s MAP application.

Since Summer MAP students already receive stipends intended to cover their living expenses, summer MAP students may only be partially reimbursed for lodging and transportation expenses in significant excess of those expenses for living in Grinnell.

Students traveling to give a presentation at a professional conference

All applications should be submitted three months before the beginning date of the conference. Notifications of funding will normally be made two months before the beginning date of the conference. Administration of funds is contingent on acceptance of the student’s MAP results for presentation.

  • Only “early registration” fees will be reimbursed. Membership fees and funds for extra conference activities will not be reimbursed.
  • All students attending the same conference are expected to travel together and share lodging (up to four students per room). Lodging will only be reimbursed for stays occurring during the regular schedule of the conference.
  • For conference days when meals are not included with registration, meals can be reimbursed up to $25 per day when original itemized receipts showing specific items purchased are provided. We recommend selecting a hotel that provides breakfast if possible. Keep in mind that we cannot reimburse for alcohol or non-food items.
  • Students are eligible to receive funding for presentation of their MAP results up to a year after completion of the MAP.

Go to the: Student Travel Funding Request Form

MAP Forms

Student Forms

Faculty Forms

Compensation for MAP / DR Credits

Effective Fall 2016, MAPs /DR  conducted during the academic year will not be compensated. Faculty conducting MAPs /DR  during the summer will receive a stipend of $1250 per MAP /DR for up to four (4) students.

Faculty MAP Report and Compensation

Faculty directing MAPs/DR are required to submit a report. These reports are due one month after grades have been submitted. Compensation, including extended sabbatical, will be forfeit if reports have not been received within four (4) months of completing the MAP/DR. Multi-term MAPs require a report for each semester. An online version of the report can be found at MAP Report Form

Clarification of Roles and Compensation:

Co-directorship versus 2nd reader

When a MAP is co-directed, it is assumed that both advisors share equal responsibility in mentoring the student. In a co-directed MAP, both directors guide the development, design, execution and evaluation of the product, each submit individual reports and both faculty members split the MAP compensation.

A second reader evaluates a draft of the product and gives feedback to the student and mentor. The second reader receives no compensation.

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