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Mentored Research

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Political Science 497R - Mentored Research

Mentored Research (POLI 497R) is learning that the student does outside the classroom under the close supervision of a professor. This learning comes in a variety of formats, including fieldwork, data collection in the lab, and analyses of existing datasets; it can involve students working alone or in group projects; and it can take place in a foreign country or in the United States. However, all of this work has an academic component in which students analyze their findings in light of existing scholarly literature and share these results with a broader audience.

A student may register for POLI 497R under the following conditions:

  • The student contacts a faculty member who is willing to approve, supervise, and grade his or her work during the course of study.
  • Working with the supervising faculty member, the student drafts a 500-700 word proposal with two parts: (a) a research plan that states and justifies the research question and project design, and (b) a study plan that indicates how hours of work will be spent and how the student will be graded, including specific assignments, grade weights, and deadlines. Note that in all cases, a written product communicating the student's findings is required for the study plan.
  • The topic studied is relevant to the discipline of political science and is not being offered as part of the regular department curriculum.
  • The course of study builds on coursework that the student has already completed. A student should prepare for Mentored Research by taking some or all of the courses relevant to the proposed topic of study.
  • Although the quantity and substance of this material may vary, research is on an advanced undergraduate level and occupies the student's time for at least 45 hours for each credit hour for which the student is registered.
  • Prior to registering for the course, the student must complete the Contract for Mentored Research and have it signed by the supervising faculty member and the department curriculum coordinator. Copies of the contract will be given to the student and to the supervising faculty member; the original will be retained in the department files. Students are strongly advised to complete this process before the beginning of the semester to ensure the required approvals are in place before university registration deadlines.
  • NOTE: Students who will be out of the country during the semester/term the course is completed will be directed to register through the Kennedy Center.

Restrictions or Prohibitions:

  • Under no circumstances can a student receive 497R credit for work done as a teaching assistant
    or for a cooperative education experience (internship).
  • Credit may not be received for work that is regularly compensated.
  • Mentored Research should also not be used to replicate the course of study of an existing class.
  • Scheduling concerns are never an appropriate reason to create a Mentored Research
  • Mentored Research is a complement to, not a substitute for, major requirements for traditional classroom experience. In reviewing applications, the department curriculum coordinator will take into account the student's cumulative experience in other traditional coursework, including internships and directed readings, to ensure that the student is receiving a broad training in political science within the classroom.
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  1. In consultation with the supervising faculty member, draft the proposal.
  2. Complete and sign the POLI 497R: Mentored Research Contract.
  3. Obtain the signature of the supervising faculty member.
  4. Obtain the signature of the Political Science Department Associate Chair for Curriculum.
  5. Deliver the contract and proposal to the Political Science Department Secretary.