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Mentored Research

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The BYU Political Science Department sponsors programs that take students, faculty, and professionals into foreign countries to assist in meaningful field research and service projects that have a direct impact on the world community.

Most research occurs in Africa and Asia, but recent research projects have taken students and faculty all over the world, from Thailand to Uganda, from Tanzania to the United Kingdom, from India to Peru, and beyond. Students typically undertake projects of their own design and collaborate with faculty on projects the professors have designed.

The Mentored Research programs offer undergraduates purposeful engagement and substantive, practical work that directly influences the world. For further inquiry, contact the professors involved. Currently, these include Professors Gubler and Selway (United Kingdom) and Professors Nielson and D. Hawkins.

Political Science 497R - Mentored Research

Poli 497R: Mentored Research is used to award credit for mentored research outside of an existing course. A student may register for Poli 497R under the following conditions:

  • The student is responsible to contact a faculty member who is willing to approve, supervise, and grade his or her work during the course of study.
  • The topic studied must be relevant to the discipline of political science and of such a nature that it is not being offered as part of the regular department curriculum. 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 (ORCA grants are exempt from this restriction).
  • Although the quantity and substance of this material may vary, research should be on an advanced undergraduate level and should occupy the student's time for at least 45 hours for each credit hour for which the student is registered.
  • The course of study should build on coursework that the student has already completed. A student should prepare for Mentored Research by taking some or all of the relevant courses to the proposed topic of study. Mentored Research should also not be used to replicate a 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, traditional classroom experience in the major. In reviewing applications, the department curriculum coordinator will take into account the student's cumulative experience in other nontraditional coursework, including internships and directed readings, to ensure that the student is receiving a broad training in political science within the classroom.
  • 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 insure the required approvals are in place before university registration deadlines.
  • The contract must include a research proposal conforming to guidelines from the Office of Research and Creative Activities Guidelines for student grant proposals (see HERE). The contract must also clearly state the basis for which a grade will be given.
  • The specifics of grading requirements are to be outlined by the supervising faculty member. However, in all cases, some kind of written report demonstrating the student's findings is required.
  • NOTE: Students that will be out of the country during the semester/term the course is completed will be directed to register through the Kennedy Center.


  1. Complete the POLI 497R: Mentored Research Contract.
  2. Complete information for proposed course of study and attach to the Contract.
  3. Sign the Contract.
  4. Obtain the signature of the Supervising Faculty member.
  5. Obtain the signature of the Political Science Department Associate Chair for Curriculum.
  6. Deliver the contract and proposal to the Political Science Department Secretary in 747 SWKT.