Application Materials


A successful ELF proposal is a well-articulated project description which outlines the purpose, methodology, and timeline of the project, with supporting documentation and mentor support.

Please use our template for your proposal:

PDF (for quick reference) | DOCX (Blank copy)


Funding Request

The funding request is a break-down of the proposed expenses for your ELF project. You may request up to $2000.

Please include this in your proposal document (section 8), and not as a separate file. Please do not use the old funding template.

Funds may NOT be used for: 
-   Tuition, textbooks or other academic course materials
-   Meals, alcohol, entertainment
-   Personal computers, phones, other electronics
-   Personal housing unrelated to project
-   Salaries, per diem
-   Cash gifts, hand-outs, microloans, etc.
-   Car rental, personal car mileage




Supporting Documents

Mentor Letter of Recommendation

Each ELF is required to have an SMU faculty mentor. The mentor provides support in a variety of ways, from developing the proposal and facilitating research, to editing the final product. This letter is not simply a recommendation, but a statement of support and commitment to the student and their project.

Info for mentors

Host Agency Letter of Support

If the project is hosted by a community partner, your application requires a Letter of Support from them. You may send them the letter at this link; the letter describes the information we need. Host Agency Letter of Support

IRB Approval

All ELF proposals selected by the committee will be submitted to Research Compliance for review. If your project involves human participants, you may need to complete Human Subjects Research Training before starting your project.

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Process



Notifications are sent approximately 4 weeks after the application deadline. Please consider this in your timeline.

A committee of SMU faculty and staff reviews each ELF proposal. Proposals are scored with this template: Scoring Template for Reviewers 

Once selected by the committee, proposals will be reviewed by Research Compliance (who may contact you for clarification).

Approved proposals will be notified by email.

Selected ELFs are required to attend an ELF Orientation meeting to review guidelines and timelines.

Applications are reviewed during the following time periods. Applications received after these deadlines will be considered for the following cycle. Please plan accordingly.

  • Senior Cycle Deadline: September 15
  • Early Decision Deadline: December 15
  • Regular Decision Deadline: February 15