Social Sciences Undergraduate Research
In keeping with the University of California's three-part mission: research, teaching, and public service, the Division of Social Sciences has a strong history of integrating undergraduates into the research endeavor. (from Social Science Research)
For an example of Undergraduate Research in History, see the profile of Lois Rosson.
Select one of the topics below:
Communicating Your Research- posters and papers
Finding a Research Opportunity
Finding a research opportunity is a process that may take a considerable amount of time and commitment. The suggestions below may help.
Consider your interests
- What classes have engaged your imagination?
- What causes or topics are you passionate about?
Evaluate your goals and consider practical issues
- What do you hope to gain from undergraduate research?
- Do you need a position to help you get a job after you graduate or To help you get into graduate school?
- Do you need a paid position? Do you need academic credit? (You can't get paid and get credit for a position.)
- Does the position require transportation?
Explore your options
- Look at the pages for the Division's Research Centers, Facilities, and Activities
- Look at the Psychology Undergraduate Research page
- Look at professor's research in the Social Sciences:
- UCSC resources
- Search the UCSC Research Opportunities Database, including the EOP Pathways Program
- Look at the listings on the Other Research Opportunities webpage
- Academic Options & the Senior Exit Requirement
- The Independent Study Option
- Research Related Opportunities on SlugQuest
- Additional sources
- Look at the Federal Programs with opportunities for Social Science students:
- National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program
- Smithsonian Institution Internship Opportunities
- Search Pathways to Science (fill out the form here for them to email you with opportunities)
- CSUMB's Summer Opportunities- Humanities & Social Sciences
Use your resources
- Talk to other students, including graduate students, who are doing research and ask how they got started
- Go to office hours and ask your instructors about their work
- Visit your Department's or Division's Academic Adviser
- Look into the Environmental Studies Internship Program
- Visit the Career Center
- Investigate other online resources, such as WebGURU, guide for undergraduate research
- Join a student group
Check with the UCSC Financial Aid Office to see if you qualify for specific funding opportunities.
There are many options to help fund your undergraduate research, including external funding, funding for UC students, and departmental and college grants.
Grant Database- Pivot
The University of California at Santa Cruz has a license to Pivot, a grant database that includes grants for undergraduate research, including for research in the Social Sciences. You need to register using your UCSC email the first time you use it, but the service is free.
National Organizations and Clubs/Societies
Check the funding opportunities for undergraduates at any organization you belong to. Conferences and meetings often provide travel grants for students.
Council on Undergraduate Research Social Science Division Travel Award for funding to present at a national conference. To qualify for these funds, your faculty mentor and/or your college/university must be a member of CUR and your school must provide funds that match the CUR travel award.
The Division and Department
The Dean's office may provide funding for some projects- contact them for more information. Some departments also provide funding, so check with the department manager, the department webpage, and your academic adviser. If you are working with a professor, ask if there is funding for research expenses, conference travel, or other costs before starting your project.
Selected award examples:
- The Joel Frankel Memorial Fund awards small grants, known as Joel Frankel Memorial Scholarships, to assist UCSC undergraduate students with the expenses of field study projects focusing on social change in Latin America or in Spanish-speaking communities in the United States. Priority is given to Merrill College students and LALS majors.
- The Nancy Pascal Field Study Scholarship is open to any undergraduate student who is planning a field study through a campus department or program. The deadline for applications is mid-February. For more information, contact Veronica Lopez-Duran at 459-2371.
- The Keeley Coastal Scholars Summer Award is for undergraduate students with unmet financial need who are working in the area of coastal sustainability. The award will support underrepresented students from California with an unmet financial need doing summer research and policy work connected to Coastal Sustainability. Scholarships will range from $1,000 to $4,000 per student with an associated $1,000 in support of the sponsoring faculty member. These funds can be used by students for any expenses incurred during the summer months. For more information, contact Sarah Glommen, firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications are due May 1.
- UCSC Blum Scholar Grant Program (undergraduate and graduate students) Blum Scholar grants are offered to highly motivated students enrolled and in good standing at UC Santa Cruz. Funds can be used to pursue community-based research either domestically or abroad on poverty, social enterprise, and participatory governance. Students awarded will assist in the development of the certificate program and demographic study commencing in Fall 2015.
Below are some links to college pages that list funding opportunities for undergraduates in that college. Be sure to check with your college adviser, since not all opportunities are posted online.
- College 9/10 Student Project Funds
- Cowell Student Project Funds
- Crown Student Project Funds
- Kresge Student Project Funds
- Merrill College Special Student Projects Funds
- Porter College Student Project Funds
- Porter College Creative & Innovative Grants
- Stevenson Research Project Funding
UCSC has a number of undergraduate research symposia and presentations.
- The Environmental Studies Undergraduate Senior Poster Symposium
- The Environmental Studies Senior Thesis, Internship Archive
Many national and regional conferences welcome presentations from undergraduate students. Your best resource for more information on this is your mentor or professor.
Selected Conferences that Feature Undergraduate Research
UC Berkeley’s Interdisciplinary Research Conference (BIRC)
The Berkeley Interdisciplinary Research Conference (BIRC) is dedicated to empowering undergraduate students by providing them with the opportunity to present their research through oral and poster sessions. In addition to featuring original research by undergraduate students across the nation, the conference will also focus on exciting new ideas in the field presented by distinguished professors. Anyone with an interest in neuroscience, cognitive science, linguistics, psychology, anthropology, integrative biology and/or education is strongly encouraged to attend and participate. The conference is in early May.
SACNAS National Conference
SACNAS is a society of scientists dedicated to fostering the success of Hispanic/Chicano and Native American scientists. The conference is in October and deadlines for abstracts vary.
Sigma Xi: The Scientific Research Society
The Student Research Conferences highlight outstanding research by graduate, undergraduate and some high school students. The Conference is held in the fall. A virtual conference/showcase may be held in spring.
Spartan Psychological Association Research Conference (SPARC)
All graduate and undergraduate students involved in psychological research or related fields are encouraged to apply. The conference is held at Sna Jose State University. Abstracts are due in March and the conference is in early May.
Stanford Undergraduate Psychology Conference (SUPC)
Sponsored in part by the Department of Psychology and the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University, SUPC is a showcase for high-quality undergraduate research. It also provides an opportunity for participating students to exchange ideas and to make valuable contacts. The conference is in May.
Consult Your Mentor
Your mentor is the best source of information because s/he understands the culture of the discipline and how and when it is best to present your results.
Effective communication of your work is a skill you will learn and improve during your entire career. How you communicate your work will depend on your audience and your discipline. Before you begin, review any guidelines you've been given for content, format, length, etc. Make a draft, get feedback, practice and revise.
The internet has a vast array of resources. Below are a selection. If you find another that is especially helpful, please email email@example.com.
Writing Scientific Papers for Publication
Again, your best resource on this issue is your mentor. S/he can guide you to choose an appropriate journal and guide the writing, submission, and response to reviewers. Every journal has its own specifications on audience, length, figures, tables, etc. Listed below are a few online resources that can assist you.
- Writing Scientific Manuscripts-a guide for undergraduates from the Journal of Young Investigators. Provides a good overview of the publication and peer review process and detailed advice on writing.
- Tips for Writing Scientific Journal Articles from the University of Oulu
Journals that Accept Papers Authored by Undergraduates
If the journal is open-access (provided to all readers with no fee), the UCSC library may be able to help with publication fees. Click here for more information.
Journals that accept undergraduate papers in Psychology:
Sites that list journals that accept undergraduate papers in all disciplines:
SACNAS- The Society for the Advancement of Chicano/Latino and Native American Students (includes some Social Sciences, such as Psychology)
Sociedad Estudiantil de Psicólog@s Avanzando (S.E.P.A.)
S.E.P.A. is a collaborate effort between graduate and undergraduate students who are devoted to generating academic empowerment through social action, community investment, and academic excellence for first-generation college student in the field of psychology.
Contact: Elizabeth Gonzalez, firstname.lastname@example.org