Undergraduate Research

Some study abroad programs offer opportunities for students to focus on and investigate a topic of their choice and write an in-depth capstone-like paper.  Sometimes this is supplemented by oral presentation to local faculty.  For some students, this work leads to a formal senior thesis or capstone.  Some are nominated for professional recognition and awards.

Most commonly defined as ‘research’, undergraduates are more accurately engaged in ‘field study’.  For many, this is their first time in the country.  Language and culture differences, adjustment to new configurations of identity and privilege, and the practicalities of gathering, disseminating, and completing a project in a very limited amount of time make this a challenging activity.  Delivering a result that demonstrates fair representation and no assumption is what makes for a successful project.

The Forum on Education Abroad has established Guidelines for Undergraduate Research Abroad that outline all of this to help both the student and their faculty mentor be successful.

Some examples of program portfolios that offer this exceptional opportunity:


This portfolio of study abroad programs offer thematic curricula supporting cultural immersion pedagogy. In addition to content coursework, students are prepared through a research methods and ethic course to complete an in-depth, field-based project known as the Independent Study Project (ISP).   In each case, the project involves conducting original fieldwork, giving a final presentation, and writing a formal research paper. Students are required to examine the ethics of their research and consider its impact on local communities. For samples of student ISPs, go to the SIT Digital Collections page.

For a list of programs by theme, go to the SIT search engine.  Themes include:

  • Climate | Environment
  • Development | Economy | Inequality
  • Global Health
  • Media | Arts | Social Change
  • Migration | Identity | Resilience
  • Peace | Human Rights | Social Movements


This portfolio of programs is centered around environmental field studies and human ecology, with curricula anchored in 5 year research plans in 8 locations.  Examples of faculty and student research projects from Spring 2017 can be found here.

Each program and research station focuses on topics relevant to that specific location.

DIS: The Danish Institute for Study Abroad

DIS is a non-profit study abroad foundation established in Denmark in 1959 through affiliation with the University of Copenhagen. DIS has campus locations in Copenhagen and Stockholm and provides semester, academic year, and summer programs taught in English, offering high-impact learning experiences for upper-division undergraduate students.  DIS offers 25 semester program tracks many of which have research options. These opportunities include:

Become a Research Assistant

Fall & Spring, 3 Credits

Join an ongoing research project carried out by a DIS faculty member. As a research assistant, you collaborate closely with your mentor. By the end of your semester, you will grasp the complexities of the research process. Projects range across disciplines, such as environmental science, gender studies, humanities, pre-medicine/health, public health, science, and sustainability.

Visit the Research Assistant page.

Drive an Independent Research Project

Fall & Spring, 3 Credits

Conduct your own research while in Copenhagen! Under the guidance of a DIS faculty member, use Copenhagen as a unique source for your work.

Visit the Independent Research Project page.

Join a Professional Research Group

Fall & Spring, 6 Credits

Advance your knowledge within the natural and health sciences in the Science Research Practicum. Matched with a Copenhagen-based research institution and a mentor, participate in existing research where you get to develop your clinical and laboratory skills.

Visit the Science Research Practicum page.

Enroll in a Research Lab

Fall & Spring, 3 Credits

In the Cognitive Neuroscience of Consciousness Lab, design, develop, and carry out an experimental study with fellow classmates. This lab has a co-requisite core course: Cognitive Neuroscience of Consciousness.

Visit the Cognitive Neuroscience of Consciousness Lab page.

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