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There is no shortage of research topics for students interested in taking their study of political science to the next level. Faculty members are enthusiastic mentors who are eager to deepen students¿ understanding of particular subject areas that they may have only covered peripherally in the classroom.

Research Fellowships

The School of Arts & Sciences offers a number of research fellowships for students to complete summer research on campus. Additional travel money is available for students who wish to travel to a conference or meeting to present their independent work.

Recent research topics that students have pursued include:

  • "Voter Verification in Congress and the States"
  • "Independent Candidates in Virginia"
  • "Early Childhood Education"
  • "Were the Religion Clauses Originally Meant to Protect State Establishments of Religion?"
  • "John Locke on Religious Freedom"
  • "Third World Women"
  • "Asymmetrical Warfare: Implications of China's Information Warfare Strategies"
  • "Intergovernmental Lobbying and the Help America Vote Act: Deliberation and Compromise"
  • "Women's Health: Balancing Life and Work"
  • "The Consequence of Community Control: Socioeconomic Inequities in American Public Education"
  • "The Economics of Asymmetric Conflict: 1989-Present"
  • "Asthma in Low-Income and Minority Urban Children"
  • "Executive Clemency in Virginia: The Largely Overlooked Warner Restoration of Rights Record"
  • "The Free Exercise Clause: Guarantee of Equality not Exemption"
  • "Ain't nothing but a race thing: Race and the Environmental Justice Movement"
  • "Use of the Media in the Most Recent Elections in Canada, Great Britain and the United States"
  • "Agenda Change in the Virginia General Assembly"
  • "Pre-K Education: Across the United States, Who is Leading the Movement?"
  • "No Excuse Early Voting in Virginia: Is it Worth It?"

The first step to finding the right research opportunity for you is to find a professor with whom you enjoy working and whose work interests you. He or she will be able to help you find appropriate opportunities in your field of interest.

Independent Study

On-campus student research opportunities are available during the academic year for students enrolled in an independent study course.  Political science students enroll in PLSC 390 to earn independent study credit.  Independent research with the assistance of a faculty member is an excellent way to explore a particular interest while earning academic credit. Download an independent study form.

Many students find that the relationship they build with a faculty mentor while pursuing their independent research strengthens their commitment to pursuing the study of political science at the graduate level. Some will decide to continue their research program over the summer with the assistance of a summer research fellowship.