Faculty in the Political Science Department are open to proposals from students for independent studies and research (IR/PSC 391). Proposals can be in any field of the discipline. Students should inquire of a faculty member who teaches or does research in an area of interest to the student. Faculty interests can be judged from the courses they teach and from their research work as described on the Political Science Department website. When first talking to a faculty member, a student does not have to have a fully developed proposal, though it is useful to have a preliminary proposal or topic in mind.
Faculty occasionally hire undergraduate research assistants. Arrangements are handled on an individual basis. Though not required, it is often helpful for a student to have had some quantitative training, such as by having taken PSC 200 and/or 205. Interested students need to approach a faculty member–often inquiring first of a professor whom they have had for a class.
Students in the McNair Program can approach political science faculty about sponsoring their research. Typically, they should approach a faculty member who teaches or does research in an area of interest to the student. Faculty interests can be judged from the courses they teach and from their research work as described on the Department of Political Science website.
A student interested in international relations might wish to think about the Student Conference on U.S. Affairs (SCUSA) at West Point. This conference is held in November of each year and draws students from all over the United States. Research related to particular countries, issues, or international problems is required in advance of attendance. A notice about the program is e-mailed to students in the fall by the director of undergraduate studies; anyone who is interested should respond to that email.
The department has money available to assist undergraduate students with research projects of various sorts. This money could be used for those particularly interested in studying Congress, for students in the honors program, or for students engaged in other research projects, including conferences. In all cases, the money would go directly to support the research itself; money is not available to provide a stipend to students. The maximum grant is currently $250, though, in exceptional cases, a second application will be considered. Application should be made in a letter to the director of undergraduate studies that describes the intellectual purpose of the research undertaken and a budget.
Students who are selected by the department to participate in the honors program have ample opportunity to do research. See the honors program page for more information.