Program - University of Houston
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The FrameWorks program is a co-curricular opportunity open to sophomores and juniors who want to develop themselves as thinkers, researchers, and writers. FrameWorks provides its participants with a guided process as well as a supportive community of peers and faculty mentors as they conceive, research, write, present and ultimately publish critical essays that draw on the interdisciplinary humanities. The program culminates every spring with the FrameWorks Symposium at which fellows will publicly present their work. Essays that meet editorial standards will be included in FrameWorks: A Journal of Undergraduate Research in the Interdisciplinary Humanities.

FrameWorks was founded in the Creative Work minor. It is funded by the Honors College and The Office of Undergraduate Research in Major Awards. It benefits from the generous collaboration of The College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, and CITE, the Cougar Initiative to Engage.


The FrameWorks program is a yearlong process in which successful applicants, or FrameWorks fellows, are challenged to write an essay that critically engages the cultural artifact of their choosing in keeping with an annual theme. In 2024/2025, the theme is “Our Houston” (“Wall” in 2019/2020, “Unknown” in 2020/2021, “Immunity” in 2021/2022,“Constellation” in 2022/2023, "Generation" in 2023/2024).

Fellows are required to frame their inquiry through the traditional or interdisciplinary humanities: from art history to women’s, gender, and sexuality studies; from philosophy to performance studies; from African American studies to literary studies to history, and so forth.

FrameWorks also encourages students who are not majoring in traditional humanities fields to investigate their concentrations through humanities lenses.

Throughout the year, the FrameWorks program will provide support for the writing process in the following ways: 

  • Fellows will meet as a cohort four or five times a semester for writing workshops.
  • The FrameWorks program provides clear, achievable scaffolded deadlines to help keep fellows on track through their writing process.
  • Fellows will work with faculty mentors who will advise them in one-on-one meetings, read drafts and provide feedback. Fellows and mentors will meet once every three weeks or so.
  • FrameWorks incentivizes high-quality humanistic endeavor with the possibility of paper presentation at the FrameWorks Symposium and publication in FrameWorks: A Journal of Undergraduate Research in the Interdisciplinary Humanities.


  • The FrameWorks program is free. It costs you nothing but time and effort.

  • You will be a member of a diverse cohort of high-achieving, like-minded, intellectually curious peers.

  • The FrameWorks Program is an opportunity for one-on-one mentorship from faculty you admire.

  • Possible publication in FrameWorks: A Journal of Undergraduate Research in the Interdisciplinary Humanities

  • An opportunity to present your work at a public symposium

  • If you are thinking about graduate school, a FrameWorks Program Fellowship, paper presentation and journal publication will look great on any application. In addition, your article may serve you well as a writing sample.

  • If you are thinking of writing an Honors Thesis in a humanities field, your research and article could serve as a substantial start.

  • Being a FrameWorks fellow means that you will be in a great position to apply for other opportunities for funded undergraduate research opportunities through the Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards (for example, the Mellon Research Scholars Program).

  • THERE’S MONEY TO BE WON FOR THE BEST ARTICLE! You could be the recipient of the FrameWorks Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Research in the Interdisciplinary Humanities.


“I’m in medical school right now, and I sent my FrameWorks piece to a faculty member who does medical humanities research. It led to a conversation in his office which lasted for an hour, about my article and his academic interests. It opened up opportunities for me, not only to do medical humanities research but also to step back and say, ‘Wow, I really did do that.’” – Leonard Wang (20/21)


“There are some times where you feel like you’re wandering around in the dark, but it’s okay if you don’t know where you’re going yet. Your project changes as you work on it and everyone in the cohort helps you refine it.” – Morgan Thomas (20/21)


“It translated into much better writing and much more cohesive thinking, for the rest of my life.” – Rebeca Hentges (19/20)


“I’m so happy I went through this process before I went to grad school, because I don’t have a lot of those doubts, like Am I going to be good? Am I going to be ready? I know I’m ready.”  – Kat Newman (19/20)


The FrameWorks program is open to all rising sophomores and juniors. YOU DON’T NEED TO BE AN HONORS STUDENT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE FRAMEWORKS PROGRAM. All committed, high-achieving students are eligible.

If the checklist below describes you, then you’re who we’re looking for.   

  • You are a rising sophomore or junior.
  • You are very interested in the interdisciplinary humanities.
  • You’re creative, agile-minded, resourceful and detail-oriented.
  • You want to present humanities based academic work at a public symposium.
  • You want to publish a critical article.
  • You are self-driven, deadline responsive and willing to work consistently over two semesters.
  • You have a GPA of around 3.5 and higher.
  • You are willing to attend 6 or 7 weekday evening writing workshop sessions per semester
  • You are willing to meet with a faculty mentor once every three weeks.

Please note that the FrameWorks Program collaborates closely with the Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards and that you may be eligible to participate in FrameWorks even if you are benefitting from an OURMA research opportunity such as SURF or PURS. Please contact the FrameWorks director should you have any questions.



If you have any questions, email Max Rayneard