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Undergraduate Research

Graduate Level Research at an Undergraduate Institution


"I haven't had to push hard for research opportunities. My professors are phenomenal. Undergraduate research really facilitates your development as a professional in your career path." -CofC Honors Grad & URCA/SURF Recipient, Lydia Nickolas '13

Research can begin whenever you let it. As early as Freshman year, we encourage Honors students to form relationships with faculty in disciplines that are of interest to them, and offer to assist in ongoing research efforts. These experiences can let you "try on" real work in your major, and may help you decide if it is a course of study you are ready to pursue, and can include everything from logging hours in the library, working with Petri dishes, or recording observational data. You can also learn more about special academic programs that may help you engage in research early on. 

The Honors College also requires all students to complete a Bachelor's Essay before graduation. This document is the culmination of years of academic effort, and offers you a chance to delve deeper into your discipline. The Bachelor’s Essay also provides a way to earn real experience in research and independent scholarly development—a big plus if graduate school is on your mind! Of course, research will always advance your knowledge and lead to new insights. You will certainly uncover things that are new to you and you may even discover something unknown to the world. In 2010, Honors College senior Iris Kemp, together with her faculty advisor, discovered a new species of fish while conducting research at the Grice Marine Laboratory!

Honors students are also required to complete an Independent Study. This project allows you to partner with a key faculty member in your discipline to pursue a topic in greater depth. Many times, Independent Study can lead to a particularly exciting topic for the Bachelor's Essay, and possibly even jump-start your work at the post-graduate level.

At the College of Charleston, we are so committed to research that we have an office dedicated solely to scholarly research projects taken on by our students and faculty. The Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities is directed by the Associate Dean of the Honors College, Dr. Beth Meyer-Bernstein, and is a great resource for Honors students at any stage of their CofC education. Learn more about research opportunities at the College by emailing URCA at urca@cofc.edu or give them a call at 843.953.6592.

Examples of Undergraduate Research Topics Have Included: 

  • Computer Science/Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: Pipeline for Analysis and Visualization of Gene and Pathway Expression in Breast Cancer
  • Political Science/Psychology: Cambodia & Vietnam: Regime Hybridity and Developmental Outcomes
  • Mathematics: Numerical Techniques for Q-tensor Model of Nematic Liquid Crystals
  • Physics and Astronomy: Exoplanet Imaging with the Hubble Space Telescope
  • Public Health: Reproductive Health Histories: A South Carolina Women’s Health Oral History Project
  • English: Sherlockian Sites: The Place of Holmes in the 21st Century
  • Religious Studies: The Capability for Sustainability in Sacred Lands: From Ladakh to the Lowcountry
  • Biology: Fungal and bacterial composition of sea turtle nest sand at Ostional
  • Health and Human Performance: Neuromuscular Characteristics of College-Aged Dancers Compared to Non-Dancer
  • Economics: The Economics of Minor League Baseball
  • Finance: Financial Literacy Within a Microfinance Context for Financially Vulnerable Families in Charleston, SC