Undergraduate Research Experience

SHPRS’ Undergraduate Research Experience places undergraduate students into research assistant opportunities working with individual faculty members on their research projects. Students will enroll in HST/ PHI/ REL 494: Undergraduate Research Experience* and may earn up to 9 hours of elective credits (and in some cases, apply them towards their major). All students in good academic standing are invited to apply (minimum GPA 2.0). 

Undergraduate research opportunities will be added as they become available. Please check back regularly for new opportunities.

* As with any course at ASU that earns credit, regular tuition charges apply. 

**Undergraduate Research Experience can only count as elective credit within the major and cannot substitute for required courses. If you have already fulfilled all of your major electives, the course will only count as general elective credit. If your major is not in SHPRS, please consult with your major advisor.

Benefits of the program 

  • First-hand experience of professional research
  • Learn applicable research skills
  • Invest in valuable relationships with faculty


Program highlights 

As a research assistant, you will:

  • Work with SHPRS faculty supporting his or her research
  • Earn credit commensurate with the number of hours of work (determined in advance and detailed in the URE contract)
  • Learn applicable research skills
  • Strengthen your resume and grad school application 


Steps to apply

1. Review the URE opportunities available and determine which one(s) interest you. 

2. Submit your application. You may apply to more than one research opportunity, but you must submit a separate application for each. Faculty leading the project may request a follow-up interview. 

3. Receive an email announcing selected applicants and next steps. Once you’re in the door make the best of the opportunity…learn what you came to learn, get your questions answered, make a connection that lasts a lifetime.

Questions? Email Kristine.Navarro-McElhaney@asu.edu

Spring 2019 Opportunities 


Race and Sex in the Origins of Federal Immigration Law
Professor Julian Lim, History

I am currently working on a book about marriage priorities in U.S. immigration law. I would like assistance with research about the 1875 Page Act, which included a restriction on the immigration of women coming for "lewd and immoral practices." The Act is typically understood as a minor precursor to the more infamous Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, but I am interested in exploring how debates over Chinese marital practices (which included second wives and concubinage) shaped the passage of the Page Act, and the kinds of marital claims that Chinese women and men made to gain entry into the United States. 



Visual Perspective Taking 

Professor Ben Phillips, Philosophy 

This project is about children's understanding of the visual perspectives of others. The aim is to determine when children first understand that people divide their attention unevenly between the objects that populate their visual fields (e.g. we tend to focus on objects that are bright; objects that are relevant to our goals; and so on). Children between the ages of 2 and 7 years of age will be tested on a series of short tasks. The passing of each task will require the child to understand that an object's surroundings can make it less noticeable than other objects. In other words, each task is designed to test the child's understanding of how camouflage works. 


Early Greek Warfare in its Mediterranean Context 
Professor Benjamin Sullivan, History

This URE focuses on warfare and state-formation in Greece during the formative period 750-550 BCE. Stateless Greeks fighting abroad in the Near East and Egypt––rather than in a still depopulated and socioculturally backward homeland––perfected the signature Greek way of fighting, the hoplite phalanx. Archaeological evidence from the community of Eretria on the island Euboia, rather than the more famous but heavily mythologized Sparta, reveals that Eretria’s first phalanxes were not patriotic citizen armies, as has usually been supposed, but roving bands of marauders loyal to charismatic leaders, like those in the contemporary Homeric poems. Early Euboians and other Greeks also traveled widely throughout the Mediterranean during this period. Contemporary Egyptian and Near Eastern records include exciting new evidence, which indicates that the phalanx technique was perfected not in mainland Greece, but among stateless Greeks who fought on the peripheries of the great established kingdoms of the eastern Mediterranean, where they had to struggle to survive and to negotiate their ethnic identities. 



Civil Discourse 
Professor Joan McGregor, Philosophy

A group of faculty are planning a conference on civil discourse. The idea is to discuss what civil discourse is, how to have in with difficult topics, and how to develop in the classroom. This research project involves developing an annotated bibliography on civil discourse and its role in democracy. 



Interviewing Applied Philosophers 
Professor Elizabeth Brake, Philosophy

The project is to interview applied philosophers for an applied philosophy website hosted by SHPRS. These interviews will showcase what applied philosophy is and its real-world uses - in ethics, AI and computing, robotics, experimental philosophy and philosophy of psychology, and any other areas of interest. The student will do research to identify interesting areas of applied philosophy and develop interview questions. The student may also write blog posts with an overview of specific areas of applied philosophy. This will form part of a website which also includes information on faculty at ASU, our courses focused in applied philosophy, and our students. 



Taking Emotional Abuse Seriously 
Professor Maura Priest, Philosophy

This project sketches changes that medical professionals might make to start taking the emotional and/or psychological abuse of children more seriously, and more systematically so, than has been done in the past.
Part of my discussion will include an investigation into changing public perception of emotional and psychological abuse. While there is extensive empirical evidence that emotional abuse can harm children as severely as physical abuse, it is unlikely that this is taken to heart among the general public. Consider, for instance, the difference in social acceptability between yelling at a child in public and physically hitting a child in public. While the latter comes with almost universal public scorn and high odds of someone involving law enforcement, the same is unlikely to happen when the parents discipline measure of choice is aggressive words rather than physical aggression. Because in a child’s interest to stay in the care of their parents (as opposed to entering foster care), there is reason for medical professionals to be concerned with the public perception of emotional abuse, because members of the public are of course, parents. 



Women in the Enlightenment 
Professor Victoria Thompson, History

This project focuses women's experience in the Enlightenment, focusing on Europe during the period 1720-1780. This is for a book project that I am working on and the student will receive credit in the acknowledgments. 



Philosophical Development and Psychological Growth 
Professor Michelle Saint, Philosophy

Is philosophy a form of psychotherapy? This project is intended to analyze the relationship between philosophical growth, as experienced in a philosophy classroom, and psychological / emotional growth, as experienced in personal therapy with a mental health counselor. Comparisons between studying philosophy and certain forms of psychotherapy (especially cognitive behavioral therapy) are growing more common. The goal of this project is to determine whether these comparisons are appropriate. This will involve looking into topics such as: the nature of philosophical reasoning, the role of emotions in philosophy, the value of studying philosophy, and the connection between philosophical beliefs and psychological well-being. This project relates primarily to the philosophy of mind, meta-philosophy, and the philosophy of psychology. 



From China to the U.S.S.R.: The Return of the "Real" Russians
Professor Laurie Manchester, History

The book I am writing is about the voluntary return of roughly 160,000 Russians to the Soviet Union between 1935 and 1960. I explore why they returned and what their lives were like in the Soviet Union. I also focus on how after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1992, they emerged as a group claiming they were a different type of Russians. 



The Limits of Black Wealth in America, 1865-1915 
Professor Calvin Schermerhorn, History

This URE focuses on the obstacles African-descended Americans faced in accumulating and passing down tangible wealth. It begins at Emancipation in 1865 when most Black Americans transitioned to a nominally free labor market, although most faced significant constraints. This project seeks to understand what were the possibilities for income after centuries of slavery and how and why Black workers remained behind white counterparts, earning between 40 to 50 cents on the dollar compared to white workers. Compounding the income gap was as a series Jim Crow laws including convict leasing schemes and prohibitions on political participation, movement, and property ownership, which all affected the possibilities for building wealth and passing down advantages to the next generation. One of the big questions of this research is the extent to which structural features of the American economy were infused with racial constraints and white supremacy.