Research Apprenticeships (SESP 390)

Undergraduates have a range of opportunities to conduct research with a faculty member. One valuable experience is a research apprenticeship, which includes participating in a faculty member's ongoing research. As a research apprentice, a student may conduct literature reviews, code data, interview subjects, participate in research team meetings or complete a variety of other tasks. Research apprenticeships take approximately eight to 10 hours per week.

Research apprenticeships allow students to put their learning into practice and further pursue topics of interest. They are also excellent ways for students to establish relationships with faculty members or discover cutting-edge topics associated with faculty research.

Students who successfully complete a research apprenticeship will earn one graded credit of SESP 390. They may count a maximum of three research apprenticeships or independent studies toward their major requirements.

SESP apprenticeships have included researching the following topics:

  • Tracking intellectual property disputes involving universities, with professor Jeannette Colyvas
  • The use of video for teachers understanding student thinking, with professor Miriam Sherin
  • Educational and cultural literacy, with professor Carol Lee
  • Social influences on stress and health, with professor Emma Adam
  • School organization and governance, with professor James P. Spillane
  • Human development and learning, with professor David Uttal
  • Study of undergraduates' civic and political engagement, with professor Dan Lewis
  • Foley Center longitudinal study of adult development, with professor Regina Logan

Independent Studies (SESP 399)

Independent Studies allows students to explore the literature relevant to a particular topic of interest. This educational offering may also include interviews, surveys, or other research modes. Students may write a paper discussing their findings, the implication of the information for practice or any recommendations they may have relevant to the topic. While faculty members sponsor Independent Studies projects, the topic is not necessarily directly tied to their research work.

SESP Independent Studies topics have included the following:

  • Health care and underprivileged children
  • Global engagement case studies (GESI)
  • Undocumented college students and programs to integrate them into university life
  • Web development as an educational vehicle
  • Wellness applications and relaxation interventions
  • Homelessness and at-risk factors for homelessness in Evanston
  • Crime, prison, inmate rehabilitation
  • Disabilities studies
  • Transracially adopted children and their cultural identity development
  • Teaching assistantship for Introduction to Community Development (SESP 202)

Research Opportunities at Northwestern University

Northwestern University and the School of Education and Social Policy offer students the opportunity to work with nationally recognized scholars on a variety of research projects. The following web sites have useful information about faculty research interests and ongoing research:

G. Alfred Hess Jr. Undergraduate Research Fellowship Fund

SESP students can apply for research project funding. The G. Alfred Hess Jr. Undergraduate Research Fellowship Fund ("Hess Fund") was established in 2006 in memory of Professor Fred Hess to honor his service to the School of Education and Social Policy and his generosity in mentoring undergraduate students.
Click here for more information and to complete the application.

Request for Independent Study/Internship

We encourage students to discuss independent study and research apprenticeship possibilities with their academic adviser to develop a plan that enriches their overall goals. First-year students are generally not allowed to participate in independent study or research apprenticeships.

Students seeking to complete an independent study or research apprenticeship must submit a request for Independent Study/Internship in Education form with a description of the project and the signature of the sponsoring faculty member. The form should be submitted to the student's adviser, who will forward it to the assistant dean. The Office of Student Affairs will enroll the student in the appropriate section.

Contact Us

Student Affairs Office

School of Education and Social Policy

Walter Annenberg Hall
2120 Campus Drive, Suite 123
Evanston, IL 60208
Northwestern University

Phone: 847/491-3790