curf - Center for Undergraduate Research & Fellowships



Summer Opportunities

John Thouron Summer Research Prize

The Thouron family, known for its generous commitment to trans-Atlantic academic exchange at the graduate level, inaugurated the John Thouron Prize, designed to give undergraduate students an understanding of both shared and differing aspects of British and American culture.

Through exposure to the world-renowned tutorial system, students will be challenged intellectually, and through engagement with a wide range of carefully tailored extracurricular experience, they will have an enriching cultural experience.

The site of the program, Pembroke College, was founded in 1347. Located at the heart of the Cambridge University community, it has a series of open courts around beautiful gardens, including a baroque chapel designed by Christopher Wren and the Old Library, parts of which date from the fourteenth century. Today Pembroke is home to 420 undergraduates and 200 graduate students, guided by 65 fellows. The College is known for its particular strength in history, English, classics, natural sciences, and mathematics.

The John Thouron Prize will be awarded to a small, select group of undergraduates from the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, and Yale to pursue an eight-week summer program at Pembroke College, Cambridge University. Students may apply for the summer following their sophomore or junior year. Each university will nominate 9 finalists to be interviewed in February by the Thouron family and their representatives.

Academic Program

The Thouron Prize summer program has a tripartite structure:


Each participant has weekly supervisions (tutorials) in his or her chosen subject area in the pattern of standard Cambridge teaching: meetings between a member of the faculty and no more than three students, with a weekly research paper from each student that shapes discussion in supervisions. This structure involves students in considerable independent reading/research and analytical writing. The individualized nature of this system allows for considerable choice of topic for the participants. That choice is dependent on the availability of Pembroke faculty in any given year.

The Thouron Lecture/Seminar Series

This weekly seminar led by Sir Roger Tomkys, former Master of Pembroke and previously Ambassador to Bahrain and Syria, focuses on British foreign policy and other topics of current interest in British government. There are selected guest speakers and preparatory reading is required.

Participation in the Pembroke-King’s Summer Programme

Thouron prize winners have access to the full range of courses and facilities available to participants in this prestigious eight-week summer school hosted jointly by Pembroke and King’s Colleges. There are eighteen courses to choose from – any of which can be audited – and up to two of which may be taken for credit. Thouron prize winners may wish to focus their supervision work around one of these courses.

Program website:

Course Selection

For a listing of current course offerings, with full descriptions, visit the Pembroke-King’s summer programme website:

Academic Credit

Participation in the John Thouron Prize program does not guarantee that the recipient will receive Penn credit for the courses taken while abroad. Requests for transfer credit for summer study abroad courses are handled on an individual basis by the respective departments at Penn. Applicants are advised to talk to an undergraduate school advisor before applying in order to fully understand the process for receiving transfer credit for summer study abroad. Assessment will be made by the Academic Director and a transcript will be issued by Pembroke College.

Academic Calendar

Summer: late June – late August

Extracurricular Activities

Informal and formal discussion will be a regular activity, since the goal of the program is to provide maximum incentive for students to use the experience in Cambridge as an opportunity for intense intellectual and cultural exploration. In addition, there will be a number of social events designed to encourage esprit de corps among the Thouron Prize students. All extracurricular opportunities associated with the Pembroke/King’s program, including plenary lectures, the London weekend, theatre and field trips, sports and formal halls, will be available to Thouron Prize winners.

Living Arrangements

Participants will live in one of the very beautiful courts of Pembroke College. Each student will have a single room, and students will eat most of their meals in the College dining room. Since Pembroke is located in the historic heart of Cambridge, there are many other places where students can gather for meals and snacks immediately surrounding the College.


The John Thouron Prize covers the costs of tuition, and room and board. Students should plan to cover travel to and from the United Kingdom and any other incidentals and personal needs from their own funds.

Eligibility and Application

Applicants should have an outstanding record of scholarship (GPA of at least 3.5) and extracurricular activity, as well as a clear reason for studying in the Pembroke summer program. They should demonstrate personal qualities that will make them good ambassadors for the United States and their respective universities. They must be U.S. citizens and they should not have had had prior study abroad experience.

Applications are due December 1 and consist of an application form, personal essay, resume, photo, transcript, writing sample and one letter of recommendation.

Applicants should go to the Thouron Summer Research Prize application form and should direct their recommenders to the Faculty Recommendation Form for Fellowships.


Cheryl Shipman
Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships
3601 Locust Walk, The ARCH
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone: 215-746-6488
Fax: 215-573-4869

© 2014 University of Pennsylvania

CURF, University of Pennsylvania
3601 Locust Walk, The ARCH, Philadelphia, PA 19104
215-746-6488 ·