Notre Dame Undergraduate Research
At Notre Dame, undergraduates are extending the boundaries of learning and transforming their experiences as students. Through research, scholarship, or creative endeavors, students, in any major, can learn beyond what is conveyed in a classroom or textbook.
In the sociology department, students learn the basics of sociological research in their methods and statistics courses and are able to increase their knowledge and know-how through the honors track, elective courses, advanced methods courses, and opportunities to assist faculty members and graduate students in their research projects.
All sociology majors and minors are invited to undertake a senior thesis project – which basically entails your conducting your own research! Though you would work independently, you have the advantage of being guided by a faculty mentor - so you are not “going it” entirely alone.
What is a senior thesis? The senior thesis is based on an independent research study of a topic chosen by the student. Students are given two semesters to accomplish their research and write their thesis. Senior thesis students formally present their research projects each April, in the Sociology Department’s Senior Thesis Symposium.
To get an idea of some of the ND ’16 seniors and their thesis projects, follow this link: Senior Thesis Program 2016. For more information on past senior thesis projects, click on these links to past symposium programs: Senior Thesis Program 2015, Senior Thesis Program 2014, and Senior Thesis Program 2013
If you want to get involved in a senior thesis project, or if you want more information about the process, contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies! The Director of Undergraduate Studies can also provide information about the application process and advice on finding the right faculty advisor for your thesis project.
The Sociology Department's Senior Thesis and Eisch Fund Guide is also helpful in giving you specifics on this full-year project.
What is Undergraduate Research?
Independent Original Scholarship or Creative Work
Such will usually consist of a capstone project, but may also include the delivery of a paper or the completion of an article or creative work that has been submitted for publication or exhibition outside of the University of Notre Dame. Specific examples include the following:
- Senior or honors theses or capstone projects
- Articles (as principal author or co-author) submitted to scholarly journals housed outside of Notre Dame or in-house journals with a blind or independent review process
- Papers delivered at disciplinary conferences
- Cinematic features, documentaries, musical scores, photographic collections, and other works of art that represent capstone experiences
- Creative works that are exhibited outside of Notre Dame
Hands-on Involvement in a Scholarly Project or Creative Work
Such activity will normally involve sustained and material participation in a research endeavor. Examples include the following:
- Experimental research projects undertaken with or without the supervision of faculty members at Notre Dame or elsewhere
- Field work involving observation, participation, inquiry, and a substantive written presentation of original findings that exceeds standard course-work assignments
- Active participation in research projects involving the gathering and analysis of primary artifacts (e.g., archeological research)
- The gathering of ethnological data and their presentation in a generally accepted disciplinary medium (e.g., ethnography, film, article, poetry, etc.)
- An artistic performance in a juried competition
- An internship where a student is actively involved in the creation of art
For more information visit the Undergraduate Research website.
Funding for Sociology Undergraduates to Get Involved in Research
Eisch Endowment for Excellence
The Eisch Endowment for Excellence is a special source of funding for undergraduate research in Sociology. Majors and minors may apply for funding through the Eisch Endowment Fund at any time during the year. For more information on how to apply and what expenses are covered, please click here.
Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP)
Facilitated by the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, the Undergraduate Research and Teaching Opportunity Program (UROP) is an exciting initiative designed to expose undergraduate students to the rigors and rewards of scholarship. Awards include summer fellowship grants up to $4500 and research and materials grants of $1750.
Research Centers in the Sociology Department
Centers in the College of Arts and Letters
Opportunities to Get Your Work Published
The Journal of Undergraduate Research is a peer-reviewed, annual research publication in the College of Arts & Letters at the University of Notre Dame. The editorial staff, wholly comprised of undergraduate students, affirms the value of undergraduate research and works to provide a scholarly medium through which such work can be disseminated within the College.
For more information about Research Opportunities contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Dr. Mim Thomas.