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Undergraduate Research Opportunities
The Department of Community Health (CH) requires students to take courses in research methods, epidemiology, and statistics. We strongly believe that it is beneficial for students to have opportunities to apply these skills by working on research within the department. The rewards of doing research are many, such as the opportunity to work directly with study participants, collaborate with study investigators, work on a publishable article, or even the possibility of a new discovery. Many students find that engaging in research is a highly rewarding experience.
There are a variety of ways for students to get involved with research in CH. Some students choose a research-related experience for their CH internship (CH 180: CH Internship). Some students may choose to work on a faculty research project and may receive academic credit (CH 199: Field Work). Other students choose to do their own research with supervision by a CH faculty member, either through an Independent Study (CH 193: Independent Study) or a Senior Honors Thesis (CH 197/198). Finally, students can also acquire research experience through courses such as CH182 (Community-Based Participatory Research), a course in which students partner with community partners and faculty to engage in collaborative community-based research. Some research positions may be paid, but this depends on available funding.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I prepare to work on CH research?
In general, students who pursue research opportunities do so after they have completed adequate coursework to understand the context of the research and to have research skills, for example, in data analysis. Most students interested in research become engaged with research projects during or after their junior year.
Many CH courses prepare students to make meaningful contributions to research. Faculty members may require that you have taken certain courses or meet other specific criteria, prior to becoming a research team member. The courses that are most often required include the following:
How do I find research opportunities?
CH faculty have different areas of expertise that can be found on the departmental website. If you are interested in a particular area of faculty research, you should contact the faculty member by email, provide your resume, specify relevant coursework you have taken, and describe your overall objectives for being involved in the research (e.g., to learn data collection strategies, to gain additional experience with data analysis, etc.). If there is an opportunity available that aligns with your coursework and experience, the faculty member will contact you. The department also regularly sends information by email to CH students when opportunities become available.
Another way to identify research opportunities is through the departmental internship database. CH maintains a database of over 200 organizations where our students have done internships and many of these are research-related. There is a mandatory internship for CH for credit (CH 180), but there are also opportunities for CH majors to find a research-related internship outside of Tufts. Contact Pamela Schoenberg-Reider, Internship Administrator, by email (PSchoenberg.Reider@tufts.edu) or phone (617-627-2349) for more information about these opportunities.
Can I get credit or pay for working on research studies?
All CH majors get academic credit for their mandatory internship (CH 180), but there are also ways of getting academic credit for doing research. During senior year, students may choose to conduct a Senior Honors Thesis (CH 197/198), which includes independent research with faculty guidance and oversight. Another way to get academic credit is by working on a faculty member's research (CH 199: Field Work). Students can also do an Independent Study (CH 193), which involves conducting research with CH faculty oversight.
Some research positions are paid. Tufts also offers competitive opportunities for students to get research grants or awards. Some provide a stipend and others cover research-related costs. Information about these opportunities can be found at the links below.
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