University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate Research Engagement Program (UREP)

This program provides approximately 20 students per semester exciting opportunities to work along side a faculty member on specific research projects. Visit the UREP website to learn more.

Data Analytics for Politics, Policy and Legal Studies (DAPPLS)

The Department of Political Science announces a new Letter of Specialization in Data Analytics for Politics, Policy and Legal Studies (DAPPLS).

Coursework

Research Projects in Class

Several Political Science and Legal Studies classes offer hands-on research training. Hone your skills developing surveys, collecting and analyzing data, or coding and conducting interviews under the guidance of one of our expert instructors. Search for classes labeled "research" in our course catalog.

Independent Studies

Independent studies allow students to pursue research on topics of interest to them. Responsibility for arranging independent studies lies with the student, who should (a) identify a subject to pursue either through directed readings or research and (b) locate a member of the department faculty agreeable to supervise that work. Once you have a topic and faculty member arranged, you will enroll in POLSCI 296, 396, 496. Students can receive up to 6 credits per semester for an independent study, although the average is 3. Credit earned through independent study may be used to satisfy one elective requirement in the department, provided that at least three credits are earned and a grade is given. No independent study course, however, may be used to satisfy an introductory or distribution requirement.

Speak to an advisor to learn more about independent studies and how they may fit with your course plan/schedule.

Honors and Thesis Capstone

Independent Capstones allow students the opportunity to focus on an issue or problem of special interest to them, arising out of their major study or across two or more disciplines. Students pursue independent research and scholarly, scientific, or creative work under the supervision of a faculty "guidance committee." Their efforts culminate in the production and presentation of the student's own substantial thesis or project. 

For more information on an Honors Thesis, please visit Commonwealth College's website.

Many students who complete independent research for a thesis or capstone choose to present their work at the Annual MA Statewide Undergraduate Research Conference.