Department of Political Science Offers Opportunities for Undergraduate Research

Reposted from TCU 360

By Abbey Block

A select group of political science majors will get the opportunity to work on graduate level research as part of a new program.

Rising junior and senior political science majors will have the opportunity to pursue undergraduate research as part of  The Summer Student Research Program.

“It’s focused on students exploring something that is their research interest,” said Dr. Eric Cox, associate professor and department chair of the department.

The program includes a thesis-centered research project for rising seniors as well as a research project for rising juniors that Cox said will center around the theme “Dilemmas of Democracy.”

“This year we chose that theme because democracy is central to every subfield of political science,” Cox said.

Four theme-based junior projects and two senior thesis projects will be selected. Cox said the department hopes students will develop high-quality research skills to use as a launching point for their futures.

Selected students will receive $1,500 worth of research support as well as funding to support their attendance at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research if their project is selected for the conference.

Julia Zellers, a sophomore Political Science and Economics major, plans to apply to the program.

Zellers said she is interested in exploring the low representation of women in democracies around the world.

“My ultimate goal is to become a better researcher and writer and have a topic that inspires me to create a thesis.” Zellers said.

Zellers said political science professors emphasize working on a thesis as early as sophomore year.

Dr. Cox said political science faculty will work closely with students during the project to help them in their research

“The faculty members in the political science department are so helpful in many different areas,” Zellers said.

Zellers works as a research assistant with Dr. Emily Ferris, Assistant Professor of Political Science.

Zellers said this has helped her learn the basics of research and gathering data, which will be helpful if she is accepted into the program.