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Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Undergraduate Research:

This is a great starting point for getting involved in research. Students will assist a faculty member on one of their current research projects. This is a great opportunity to learn more about research, assist leading scholars in social work research with a wide array of tasks, and gain valuable experience in preparation for future careers and graduate school.

Interested in SOCW 310? What’s next?

  • Contact School of Social Work faculty: Browse faculty bios and research areas and check out Illinois Experts
  • Talk with fellow BSW, MSW, and PhD students
  • Read the BSW e-Newsletter: some faculty will advertise openings or opportunities through the newsletter
  • Email Undergraduate Research Program Coordinator, Professor Rachel Garthe, for more information.

After assisting with research, students may want to continue to hone their skills as researchers. There are two additional course options for these students (SOCW 418 and SOCW 480). Both require a faculty mentor and School approval. Contact Dr. Garthe for more information.

If you have written a research piece, policy analysis, literature review, poster presentation, or creative piece (e.g., multimedia presentation, artistic expression), and would like to publish this work in a peer-reviewed journal, consider the Journal of Undergraduate Social Work Research.

JUSWR: A Journal of Undergraduate Social Work Research, Policy Reviews, & Other Creative Works, is the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign School of Social Work’s journal that showcases peer-reviewed undergraduate research and creative pieces from social work and related disciplines. JUSWR is an annual publication that provides a comprehensive forum for discourse on research and other forms of original work relevant to social work and current social issues. JUSWR welcomes submissions throughout the year. Send submissions to our senior editor, Rebecca Hawley, 

Call for submissions:

Submissions for Volume 8 (Fall 2024 release) must be received by Friday, May 24, 2024.

  • Original research papers
  • Policy analyses
  • Literature reviews
  • Poster presentations
  • Creative pieces (essays, poems, artistic expressions, or multimedia presentations)
  • Materials developed for Social Work or other social science classes this academic year or in the previous academic year will also be considered.

An email attachment sent to the BSW student listserv and Social Work Faculty listserv contains specific submission procedures and details listed below as well as other important information:

  • Submission Procedures
  • Manuscript Preparation Formatting
  • Rights for Authors and Copyright Statement
  • References

Contact Dr. Rachel Garthe, for additional information.

The STRONG Kids Program is a comprehensive and transdisciplinary approach to the study of the connections between food and family and how these relationships can contribute to child and family health. This two-semester year-long supervised re-search course is designed to provide students with a first-hand experience working as part of a research team as well as to help them develop a working knowledge of the theory and applications of transdisciplinary research used to guide the STRONG Kids Program.

You are eligible to sign up for this course if you:

  • Have Sophomore, Junior or Senior standing for Fall 2021
  • Are available to work regular hours on an assigned research project at least 6 hours/week (if taking course for 2 credit hours) or 9 hours/week (if taking course for 3 credit hours) between 8:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. Need to have at least two 3-hour blocks of time each week. One block MUST be evening hours (after 4:00 p.m.). No exceptions.
  • Are able to attend class every other week on Tuesdays from 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Visit to apply and to learn more about:

  • The STRONG Kids research program•STRONG Kids research sub-projects•A list of project investigators and their affiliation(s)
  • FRC Undergraduate Research Program•Examples of research activities
  • Course expectations
  • What students are saying about their involvement with the FRC Undergraduate Research Program
  • Examples of student research work

The purpose of this transdisciplinary project is to examine how genetic, family, community, child care provider, cultural, and media factors contribute to the development of childhood weight imbalance, obesity, health behaviors, and health beliefs. Findings will serve as the basis for obesity prevention and intervention pro-grams.The research team includes investigators from the following disciplines: Communication, Human and Community Development, Food Science and Human Nutrition, Kinesiology and Community Health; Social Work; Medicine, and the University of Illinois Extension.

Applications reviewed on a rolling basis.

For more information on the JUSWR or undergraduate research

Rachel Garthe

Associate Professor, Undergraduate Research Program Coordinator

image of Rachel Garthe sitting at desk
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