Involvement with research

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  • Offer research opportunities through in-class activities, course projects, independent study, and research assistantships.
  • Check out CSWEP's list of career development events and opportunities for undergrads, post-bacs and potential grad students.
  • Williams College is hosting the virtual Promoting Inclusion in Economic Research (PIER) conference on Saturday, May 1, 2021. Participants will share their own economic research and network with peers and mentors. The conference is targeted towards current undergraduates or 2020 graduates (not yet in graduate school) whose identities or life experiences are under-represented in the field of economics. Individuals interested in presenting should submit a 500-word abstract that describes the paper’s research question and contribution, the research design, and the theoretical framework or data used (as appropriate), as well as a 150-word description of how the applicant’s participation furthers the goal of promoting an inclusive environment within economics. In addition, individuals may optionally upload a longer document consisting of an extended abstract or a paper draft. See the conference website for more details. Submissions are due March 26.

Provide opportunities for student involvement with research early on.


Undergraduate research opportunities can attract underrepresented students to the field of economics. Students exposed to research develop essential skills, learn economic concepts and methods, and gain insight on how the basic tools they see in class can be adapted to investigate real world subjects of interest. Building the sense of relevance, belonging, and growth mindset deepens interest in economics and ultimately may lead to a career in the field (Bayer, Bhanot, Bronchetti, and O'Connell 2020). Instructors benefit too, becoming better teachers in the classroom with greater awareness of student learning needs and interests, getting assistance with their research, and enjoying students as individuals (Ehrenberg 2005).

Several 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.

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. Starting Point also highlights the benefits of undergraduate research opportunities.


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. ANTICIPATED APPLICATION DEADLINE: January 31.

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."