UC Berkeley Library

FAQs - Charlene Conrad Liebau Library Prize for Undergraduate Research

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Q: Why is the deadline so early in the Semester?

A: We have set the deadline as late in the semester as possible to allow students, including graduating seniors, to make as much progress on their papers or theses as possible. The deadline also allows us to recruit faculty judges who would be unable to serve later in the semester because of end-of-semester workloads. Even so, the judges have less than two weeks to read the applications and select the winners; a later deadline would give them even less time.

Remember that while the research project or paper is certainly important, the library research process is the primary focus of the Library Prize. For judging purposes, the most important part of the application is the essay describing the research strategy and process - not the project or paper itself. This is why we accept draft versions of projects.

Q: Why are lower division papers that were completed the previous fall eligible but not upper division papers?

A: The Library Prize encourages lower division students to submit their papers for consideration. However, many lower division papers have not been completed in time for the April deadline. Extending the deadline to the previous spring in the lower division category, allows the prize committee to look at a year’s worth of papers rather than just one semester. Most upper division papers, however, which are often part of a thesis project have been written over the course of a year and are close to completion by the April prize deadline.

Q: The faculty member who knows the most about my research is not the instructor for my class. Must the "supporting faculty member" be the class instructor?

A: Yes. However, you may also include a second letter from the person who you feel knows the most about your research.

Q: My project is longer/shorter than the length recommended under Application Procedure. Is it still eligible for the Prize?

A: The length recommendations are guidelines, not strict requirements. Nevertheless, if your paper is going to differ substantially from the recommendations, discuss your situation with the chair of the Prize Committee.

Q: My project was completed for a course that took place before the semesters indicated under Eligibility. Can you make an exception and consider my project for this year's Prize?

A: No.

Q: I've graduated from Berkeley but completed my research project during the semesters indicated under Eligibility. Is my project eligible for the Prize?

A: If you graduated no more than one semester after completing your project, and meet all other eligibility requirements, your project is eligible.

Q: I haven't completed the course for which the project was done. Is my project eligible?

A: Situations vary. Please contact the chair of the Prize Committee with details.

Q: I won't have finished my project by the prize deadline. Is it necessary to submit a finished project? Would a draft version be acceptable?

A: You may submit a draft version of your project. However, for the purposes of judging, the more complete a project is, the better.

Q: I dropped the class, but did the research and completed my project. Is my project eligible?

A: No. You must have received, or be in the process of getting, credit for the class in order to be eligible for the Prize.

Q: Is my honors thesis eligible?


Q: Are team projects eligible?

A: Yes. Teams should submit a single application for their project. All team members should contribute and all must be eligible Berkeley undergraduates. If a team project wins, the award will be split equally among the team members.

Q: Will lower-division submissions be compared to upper-division submissions?

A: No. Lower-division submissions are only judged in comparison to other lower-division submissions. Upper-division submissions are judged only in comparison to other upper-division submissions.

Q: I'm an undergraduate, but I completed my project for a graduate class. May I apply for the Prize?


Q: I'm a senior taking a sophomore class. May I enter for a lower-division prize?

A: No. Upper-division students must enter in the upper-division category; lower-division students must enter in the lower-division category.

Q: Could winning this Prize affect my financial aid?

A: Federal financial aid regulations require that all awards received by a student can not exceed their financial aid need as determined by a Congressional formula. It is possible, therefore, that the cash award for a Prize could reduce some component of a needy student's package of financial aid awards. In these cases, the Financial Aid Office attempts first to reduce loan or work aid; fellowships, grants or scholarships are only reduced as a last resort. For more information, please contact the Prizes Office.

Q: My project was written in a foreign language. Do I need to translate it to apply?

A: No. The required 500 - 750-word essay describing your research strategies must be written in English, but your project itself can be submitted in its original language. An abstract or summary in English might be helpful, but is not required.

Q: I'm conducting my research as part of an Undergraduate Research Program. Is this research eligible for the Prize?

A: Situations vary. In general, if you enrolled in a course to earn credit for your participation, then your research project is eligible. Please contact the chair of the Prize Committee with details.

Q: I'm not a Berkeley undergraduate, but I'm studying here as part of a Special Registration Program (e.g., cross-registration, education abroad, exchange scholars, intercampus exchange). Am I eligible to apply?

A: No. Applicants must be Berkeley undergraduates who have been officially admitted to the University.

Q: Are projects done for DeCal classes eligible?

A: Yes, as long as submissions include both a letter from the sponsoring faculty member and the student facilitator.

Q: I'm a Prize winner (or honorable mention) from a past year, and I have updated and changed the conclusions in my research project since it was posted on eScholarship. Could you post my updated project and take down my old one?

A: Yes and no. Your updated project may be posted, but the original, Prize-winning project will also stay posted on eScholarship. When submitting the cover letter, the applicant agrees that the application (including the project) becomes part of the permanent property of the University Archives.

Still have unanswered questions? Please e-mail prize@lists.berkeley.edu.