Student Research Opportunities

Research experience during your undergraduate education provides an excellent opportunity to explore your interests, put your developing skillset into practice, and demonstrate to yourself and future employers how those skills translate into valuable assets in the workplace.  Research experience is also an important asset for students anticipating graduate education

Soc 497: Capstone Research Practicum

Students will engage in hands-on research. Topics will vary based on faculty research interests. This course fulfills the capstone requirement for sociology majors.


  • Development of Social Theory (SOC 310 )
  • Research Methods in Sociology (SOC 317)
  • Quantitative Techniques in Sociology I (SOC 321)

Soc 498: Research Assistantship

The Department of Sociology at WSU has a diverse and energetic faculty who are actively engaged in a variety of research projects. Their work provides opportunities for student training and research experience. The goal is to provide research experience for those interested in further graduate training.

Highly capable undergraduate students may apply for and receive academic credit by registering for SOC 498. Students may receive 3 credit hours per semester and may re-enroll for a second semester for up to 6 credits.

Interested students should complete the application (including faculty recommendations) in the spring the year before the desired assistantship will occur.

Below are some examples of a few faculty research projects that students have worked on over the past few years. Involvement in these projects has provided these students with closer connections to faculty as well as new skills.

Contact your academic advisor and the department career advisor to discuss current research opportunities.

Examples of research

  • Yajing Lan worked with Professor Julie Kmec on a project funded by NSF ADVANCE that examined, among other things, partner accommodation in academic hiring. Their executive summary was distributed to seven universities.
  • Jessica Paoletti worked with professors Monica Johnson and Christine Horne on an Honors College funded project on norms regulating teen sexual behavior.
  • Eleven students worked with professors Erik Johnson and Jennifer Schwartz to construct a unique database of the most serious environmental crimes to be prosecuted by the federal government in the past forty years. One of these students, Christina Hubbard, received an Undergraduate Summer Minigrant from the WSU College of Arts and Sciences to work on an independent research project using these data. The results of this research on the “Effects of Poverty on Sentencing for Environmental Crimes” were presented at the WSU Research Showcase.
  • A team of four undergraduate computer science majors worked with Dr. Erik Johnson, as part of their capstone course, to develop a unique database parsing program that can be used to convert repeated text documents into an active research database.
  • Jessica Do and Pabi Dhaliwal worked with Dr. Emily Kennedy on a project examining the environmental concerns of Washington state residents. The students assisted in developing the sampling strategy, preparing the interview guide, conducting interviews, and transcribing and analyzing interview data.

Inquire about additional research opportunities at WSU’s own Social & Economic Sciences Research Center (SESRC).