Why do research as an undergraduate?

Student Presenting At The Senior Thesis Poster Session

Sociology students are trained in a variety of methods for conducting research and are strongly encouraged to pursue their own research interests. Along with our required “Method of Sociological Research” class, many of our courses require students to produce research-driven term papers. Additionally, students can take the opportunity to produce a senior thesis or capstone project.

The benefits of conducting research extend far beyond your time at Notre Dame.

Aside from expanding your knowledge, doing research makes you a better writer, a more critical thinker, and sharpens your ability to analyze data. Conducting research also helps you to explore your own interests and decide on your future career. Because students are often required to present research, particularly when they complete a senior thesis, you will also acquire presentational skills.  

Future employers will ask you “what did you study in college?” Having a strong piece of original research to discuss and a polished writing sample to submit add considerably to your marketability.

Research Opportunities

Senior Thesis

A senior thesis is based on an independent research study of a topic chosen by you. Every year, our students produce outstanding senior theses on a wide variety of topics, using diverse analytical methodologies, theoretical approaches, and research techniques.

While all students on the Sociology honors track are required to complete a senior thesis, every Sociology student is encouraged to write one. For many students, coming up with a topic proves to be the most difficult and even keeps some students from taking on a thesis. The Sociology faculty at Notre Dame can help you not only with the process of researching and writing your thesis but also with developing and refining your research question. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Senior thesis students formally present their research projects each April, in the Sociology Department’s Poster Session.

For more information, please contact Mim Thomas, Director of Undergraduate Studies at or make an appointment.   

Research Centers in the Sociology Department

Center for Research in Educational Opportunity

Center for the Study of Religion and Society

Institute for Latino Studies

Center for Network and Data Science

Center for the Study of Social Movements

International Opportunities

Kellogg Institute for International Studies

Nanovic Institute of European Studies

Centers in the College of Arts and Letters

Center for Creative Computing

Departmental Research and Internship Opportunities