Every member of our faculty spends a large portion of their time conducting independent and collaborative social research, and we encourage all students to also participate in social research. Not only is it an important part of the educational process, but it will also give you a glimpse at the training received in graduate school (if you choose to attend), and academic life as well.
Objective: Provide stipend support of $2,000 between the junior and senior years for students conducting independent research such as a senior honors thesis or other major independent project.
Program: In a typical year, the department plans to designate one Chandler and Ian Davidson Scholar. In some years, the department may designate two Davidson Scholars if the application pool is particularly strong, or none if no application merits the award.
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Of all the research opportunities discussed here, this is the only non-competitive option, and is an ideal starting point for most undergraduates. Independent study courses involve doing more in-depth research on a sociological topic than usually inspired by a lecture, an assignment, or a reading for class. Often this includes primary research, and usually it includes writing a substantial research paper. To explore options in independent study, you need to contact either the professor you would like to work with, or the undergraduate advisor, Sergio Chavez. In advance, you might also take time to think about how well you work without externally imposed structure - this is the major problem that arises with independent study. Students interested in a research project that requires more than a semester to complete should check out the department's Honors Program.
Students can also work with professors on research they are conducting that is funded by external grant agencies (e.g., National Institute of Health, Lilly Foundation). Each project is tailored toward the specific needs of the grant-in-progress. For example, a student might interview subjects for a data collection project, help to analyze data that is already collected in preparation for publication as a book or in scholarly research journals, or research archival records. While a great learning opportunity, the availability of this kind of research for students fluctuates with the grant activity of the faculty, so inquire with the specific professor you are interested in working with to see if any research assistance is needed.
Honors Program students participate actively in the annual meetings of the ASA, develop important networks with their peers across the nation, and have the opportunity to meet with prominent scholars in the discipline. Participation in the Honors Program provides a significant socialization experience early in the careers of the next generation of sociologists. The application process is competitive, and we encourage students who are interested to speak with the undergraduate advisor before applying.