The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Research Opportunities

Photo of campus in fall

Change the world through research. 

Collaborate with faculty. Learn about public policy through hands on research. Research opportunities will be posted here as they become available.

Alternatively, if you have your own idea for an independent study, ask your advisor for support in connecting with a sponsoring faculty member.

Current Research Opportunities:

Undergraduate Research Assistant - Title IX and Transgender Inclusion

1-3 credits (3-9 hours/week) depending on student availability, Spring 2023 Semester

Job Description: Seeking undergraduate students to work in a team during the Spring 2022 semester for a project regarding Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, college athletics, transgender inclusion, and policy opinion. The work will consist of online research and data coding. Work will also include managing a database using Microsoft Excel and occasional meetings with the research team. Students will receive research practicum credit for their work, with the number of credits determined in consultation with Professor Sharrow, and commensurate with the number of hours worked per week by the student. Opportunity to carry work over into paid summer employment as well, pending successful completion of semesterly work.

What You Will Learn: The students will 1) gain skills in data organization and management and 2) compare and describe components of policy design for data coding and analyses, broadening their skill sets. 

Prerequisites to Apply: Experience with Microsoft Excel (beginner level), available to students of any class year.

How to Apply: Applicants should email Professor Sharrow (esharrow@umass.edu): 1) your resume, 2) an unofficial copy of your transcript, 3) a brief letter of application describing your interest in the project, and the name of one professor willing to act as a reference for you. Feel free to follow up with any questions!

Undergraduate Research Assistant - Pandemic Impact on NYC's Art & Culture Sector

2 credits (6 hours/week), Spring 2023 Semester

Job Description: The RA will support a research project on the pandemic impacts on New York City's arts and culture sector. The assistance will involve providing research support, such as literature review, creating data graphics, and managing social media channels. Depending on the skillset, the RA will participate in writing a policy brief, academic papers, and assisting in the development of presentations. The RA will participate in weekly team meetings with the three co-principal investigators on the project. 

What You Will Learn: The student will learn how to work on a professional research team. The RAs work is integral to the success of the project. The student will hone their research and data presentation skills. Depending on their skills and interests, the student can work with our dataset to identify patterns and graphically display them. They may also learn how to conduct an interview, clean transcripts, and code the transcripts using qualitative data analysis software.

Prerequisites to Apply: Students must have strong writing skills; all students may apply

How to Apply: Interested students should send an email that includes why they are interested in the RA position and what they can contribute to the project. Include a resume and writing sample. Address the email to Professor Bushouse (bushouse@polsci.umass.edu).

Undergraduate Research Assistant - Global Community Philanthropy and Participatory Grantmaking

2 credits (6 hours/week), Spring 2023 Semester

Job Description: The undergraduate research assistant will be primarily responsible for compiling data for an ongoing study to investigate global community philanthropy and participatory grantmaking process. The undergraduate RA will assist with related tasks, including contributing ideas to project development, website analysis and data coding, and data visualization.

What You Will Learn: This project offers an excellent opportunity for the student to learn about community philanthropy in the US and across the globe. Specifically, the student will develop content analysis skills and cognitive skills to analyze website data, which are fundamental skills to primary data collection and quantitative and qualitative data analyses. The student will have the opportunity to connect with foundation officers and conduct interviews. The student will gain substantial knowledge of foundation work and participatory grantmaking process.

Prerequisites to Apply: Preferred candidates will have strong interest in philanthropy, intellectual curiosity and self-motivation to conduct research and achieve weekly project goals. Necessary training and supervision will be provided. No limitation on class year.

How to Apply: Interested students should email Professor Wu (vivianachius@umass.edu) with a cover letter, a resume and a transcript, as well as providing names of academic references who can support the application.

Before Applying...

Have you had your resume and cover letter reviewed by SBS Pathways? There are walk-in hours with Peer Advisors in Thompson 128 (M, T, W 10-4 and Th, F 10 - 2) to get you started.