The opportunities for student research are diverse, robust, and numerous. In addition to curriculum-based research, students can initiate semester-long independent research projects for credit, and many take advantage of grant-funded programs for summer research worldwide.

Whether in the sciences, arts, or humanities, students take ownership over their research projects and in many cases serve as first or second authors on published work.

Independent Research

Within the Political Science Department, independent study courses enable you to complete independent research overseen by a faculty member. Recent independent study topics have included: religion and politics in Plato and the Bible; fascism, communism and progressivism; intellectual property law; and politics of the Horn of Africa, among others.

In addition to research-based coursework, our thesis/capstone program is designed to promote, develop and recognize individual excellence through a semester of directed independent research. As a political science major, you will choose a topic as part of a required seminar course and work closely with a course instructor throughout your project.

Research with Professors

Our faculty members actively seek opportunities to collaborate with students as co-authors on research projects. We typically produce anywhere from two to five published articles, reports, reviews, or op-eds co-authored with a student each year. Recent examples include publications on the peace process in Colombia, voting rights laws in North Carolina, higher education sustainability ratings, patterns of jihadi violence in Kenya, and humanitarian response to severe drought in the Horn of Africa.

Summer Research

Students have multiple options for summer research, many of them paid. The grant-funded Davidson Research Initiative (DRI) allows first-year, sophomore, and junior students to design research projects, engage with faculty mentors for guidance and collaboration, and present and publish their findings.

In addition to the many DRI-supported opportunities, a variety of offices on campus offer grants or are affiliated with external grant programs.