IS majors and minors are encouraged to seek out opportunities to conduct research with faculty members and on your own. This can take many forms, from working as a professor's (or a center's) research assistant to writing independent research papers or a senior thesis.

The best and most personalized information about research opportunities will come from conversations you have with your academic advisor, the IS Peer Advisors, and professors of classes you've enjoyed. Here are additional suggestions about locating research opportunities and funding sources.



Assisting Faculty

For many years the Morrissey College has invested heavily in funding for undergraduate research opportunities, and as a result, our faculty have access to several funding sources to hire students to assist with their research projects.

Designed to cultivate undergraduates' research skills and foster mentor relationships between undergraduates and faculty, the program allows faculty to hire individual student research assistants. Faculty (not students) apply for the funding, which can support between 20 and to 200 hours per semester, and up to 400 hours for the summer. The work will vary according to the professor and project, of course, but may include library reseach, data analysis, editing/proofing, fact-checking, summarizing literature, etc.  

  • Deadlines: Academic year URF requests should be made between July and mid-August; funding decisions are announced at the end of August.  Summer URF proposals are accepted from March to mid-April; funding decisions are made before the end of April. 

  • Eligibility: sophomores and upperclassmen with strong academic records. 

  • What to do: Reach out to individual faculty members whose work you are interested in, and ask if they could use your assistance as a URF. Make sure they know about the application deadlines.

Some faculty have ongoing research projects that employ more than one undergraduate researach assistant at at time. 

  • One well-known project at BC is Prof. Peter Krause's Political Violence Project, started in 2013.

  • Prof. Erik Owens is sometimes able to hire undergraduates as part of his Global Citizenship Project, started in 2018, or the Global Engagement Portal, launched in 2017, though these are not strictly research progams; they mix research with events/programs.

BC has many research centers that hire undergraduates for a mixture of research and administrative work. Check their individual web sites for information about hiring—which may happen in April for the following academic year, or in August/September. Here are a few centers that may be relevant to IS majors and minors: 

  • Center on Aging & Work
  • Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life
  • Center for Christian-Jewish Learning
  • Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy
  • Center for Corporate Citizenship (CCC)
  • Global Leadership Institute
  • Center for Human Rights and International Justice (CHRIJ)
  • Center for International Higher Education
  • Center for Irish Programs
  • Center for Irish Programs — Dublin
  • Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies
  • Institute for the Study and Promotion of Race and Culture (ISPRC)
  • Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy
  • Roche Center for Catholic Education
  • Center for Social Innovation
  • Center on Wealth and Philanthropy
  • Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics
  • Center for Work & Family (CWF)

Conducting Independent Research

As you develop your research skills in your courses and as a research assistant, you may find that you are intrigued by the opportunity to conduct your own research projects outside of the typical class structures. Here are a few ways that can happen. 

When you are eager to study a particular topic or problem that is not covered with existing courses, or you are keen to work closely with a particular faculty member, on occasion that faculty member may be able to offer a "Reading and Research" course for a student or small group of students. This is a substantial extra time commitment for faculty members, so it is not a common opportunity for undergraduates. But it could be worth asking a faculty member if they would be willing to do this with you. 

  • Deadlines: A semester in advance, ideally.  

  • Eligibility: Upperclassmen with very strong academic records. 

  • What to expect: Weekly or bi-weekly meetings at which you present reflections on a book or articles you've read; conversation with the professor about those texts and others; a substantial research paper at the conclusion of the semester.

  • What to do: Reach out to individual faculty members whose work you are interested in, and ask if they would consider an independent study course.

ASGs are the premier source for undergraduates seeking funding to travel in order to conduct research. They are awarded for summer research or projects that promise to accelerate dramatically the applicant's academic progress. Proposed projects must be independent, student-designed projects.

  • Eligibility: Students must be nominated by a faculty member before proposing  students nominated by faculty can receive an ASG, to be used in the summer after sophomore or junior years. The IS Program nominates all of our majors to be eligible to receive ASGs!  

  • What to do: Upon recieving notice of your nomination, students must write a research proposal, draft a budget, and submit to the ASG program, using instructions in your nomination email. If you have questions, contact the ASG coordinator, Prof. Alice Behnegar.

The BC Fellowships Office has a great list of programs that fund travel, study, and research. Here's a list of funding sources that focus on research: 


A senior thesis is an extended research project on a topic of the student's choosing, completed under the guidance of a faculty member over the course of an entire academic year. Writing a thesis is a strenuous and rewarding exercise that offers students an opportunity to acheive expertise on a topic, produce a publishable-quality research project, and work closely with a faculty advisor. 

  • The Advancing Research and Scholarship Day annually spotlights student research through presentations spanning disciplines. Prof. Erickson is one of the faculty directors of this program. 

  • There are a number of undergraduate research journals that publish independent projects: 
    • Kaleidoscope (undergraduate journal of international studies and global relations)
    • Colloquium (political science)
    • SocialEyes (sociology)
    • Life Sciences Journal (biology) 
    • Elements (humanities, natural sciences, social studies)
    • Dianoia (Philosophy Department)
    • Mystērion (theology and religious studies)
  • Open Access Publishing Fund
    [all students; apply on rolling basis]
    Pays article processing fees for accepted authors who wish to publish in open access, peer-reviewed journals