About the Beagle II Award


The primary purpose of Beagle II Awards is to promote scientific discovery and exploration by Stanford undergraduates who possess a strong intellectual curiosity, a passionate interest in a particular subject, and a keen spirit of intellectual adventure. The award takes its name from the H.M.S. Beagle, the ship that carried Charles Darwin on a voyage of scientific discovery around the world from 1831 to 1836. Darwin began his voyage at the age of 22, soon after completing his Bachelor of Arts degree at Cambridge University. The natural phenomena Darwin observed on the voyage eventually prompted a radical change in his thinking about living organisms, providing major inspiration for his theory of evolution. In similar manner, many researchers and scholars today have done some of their most creative, path-breaking work in their early years. The Beagle II Award aims to provide a parallel opportunity to research-minded undergraduates—an opportunity to cultivate and act upon scientific curiosity outside the bounds of the standard curriculum and research resources. We also hope that the Beagle II experience will encourage students to take greater responsibility for their education, preparing them for independent scholarly challenges and discoveries in graduate school and beyond.


From one to three students (or small groups) will receive up to $7000 to be used for travel and study costs for a voyage of scientific discovery, as well as for summer earnings replacement. The voyage must last at least eight weeks, and students must return to the Stanford campus and enroll full-time for at least one quarter upon completion of the voyage. Beagle II Awards have been specifically designed for summer study and travel, but applicants with good reasons to travel at other times (better weather in Southern Cone, etc.) should propose an alternative timetable and argue its merits. In all cases, travel must be completed by the end of winter quarter, 2013. This award cannot be used for institutional summer programs, such as Earthwatch, School for Field Studies, or for formal language instruction. Moreover, the Beagle II cannot be used for travel to or work in a country with a current US State Department Travel Warning. Preference will be given to proposals that creatively integrate travel into the design of study and research, but that also show a realistic, unhurried schedule that allows time for thoughtful good work and local interaction. Beagle II stipend payments can be arranged as early as spring break, to cover advance purchase of discount air tickets and the like.


As a requirement of funding and for the final $500 per person of the award, each Beagle II recipient is expected to submit a Final Report equivalent to twenty pages of text by the end of the first full academic quarter following return from travel. The report can be submitted in a variety of styles and media--as a website dedicated to your “voyage,” for example, or as a video documentary, a written research report, a photo essay for your hometown newspaper, or sections from your journal. In whatever form it takes, the report should include the equivalent of at least a page or two on personal growth (i.e., what you learned about yourself along the way). In addition to the Final Report, awardees will be asked to present highlights of their summer experiences at subsequent informational meetings for prospective Beagle II applicants.

What makes the Beagle II Awards Unique?

"The Beagle was an ideal introduction to the challenges and rewards of overseas research, giving us a structure in which to explore our existing interests and the freedom to find new ones along the way. In addition, the grant’s emphasis on building partnerships with people and organizations in Morocco allowed us to develop meaningful friendships with many of our interviewees, relationships that will last long after the conclusion of our research."

--Meredith Wheeler

"The Beagle II Award is unique because it allows students to take something that excites them intellectually and explore it firsthand in the field.  For us, taking ownership of our project and interests was something that the Beagle II Award helped us do, especially in seeking out people to interview and support from tribes."

--Lauren Kelly

Last updated 2.08.2016