Involvement with research

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Provide opportunities for student involvement with research early on.


Undergraduate research opportunities can attract underrepresented students to the field of economics, as well as provide assistance for faculty projects. Students exposed to research may find the subject more attractive and may therefore be more likely to pursue a career in the field. Instructors become more aware of student learning needs through more personal interaction with individual students and can then apply this knowledge in the classroom. More information on the benefits of undergraduate research opportunities is here.

While there is little empirical evidence demonstrating a correlation between undergraduate research experiences and participation in economics, various studies have demonstrated that undergraduate research opportunities attract and retain talented undergraduate students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. REUs (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) have increased minority student interest (Fitzsimmons, Carlson, Kerpelman and Stoner, 1990) and retention rates (Lopatto, 2004; Kremer and Bringle, 1990), as well as graduate school matriculation rates (Hathaway, Nagda, and Gregerman, 2002) in STEM fields.

Faculty can create student research opportunities through in-class activities, course projects, independent study, and research assistantships. The Economics Research Network, at the University of Bristol, publishes a Handbook for Economics Lecturers, which offers relevant chapters on Undergraduate Research in Economics, Undergraduate Dissertations in Economics, and Problem-Based Learning, by KimMarie McGoldrick, Peter Smith, and Frank Forsythe, respectively.

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The American Economic Association's Summer Training Program provides underrepresented undergraduate students with the opportunity to work closely with Economics faculty to gain technical skills in economics. It also facilitates valuable networking relationships with program leaders and other program participants. The AEA Committee on the Status of Minority Groups in the Economics Profession (CSMGEP) oversees and contributes its talents to the Summer Training Program. DEADLINE TO APPLY: February 13, 2015 at 5 pm MST

The CSMGEP Summer Economics Fellows Program allows senior graduate students and junior faculty to spend a summer in residence at a sponsoring research institution.

The Summer Research Initiative (SRI) at the University of Maryland, College Park "provides summer research opportunities to undergraduate students across the social and behavioral science spectrum."

Also see Involving Undergraduates in Research To Encourage Them To Undertake Ph.D. Study in Economics by RONALD G. EHRENBERG.