Research Opportunities

Chicana/o Studies students are encouraged to pursue research at the undergraduate level through one of several options.  Within the Department, students may consider the Honors Program as well as Independent Studies with faculty members.  Beyond the Department, the campus supports several programs aimed at increasing student participation in on-going faculty research activities.  Several are listed below, but students should also consult the Letters & Science website as well as discuss opportunities with faculty directly, e.g. in office hours.

Introduction to Academic Research

For those students interested in research, but with questions about how and where to begin, we suggest the following options:

  • The Clyde Woods Scholars Program – UCSB Prof. Clyde Woods was a passionate advocate of social justice in practice and in research.  The office of Student Affairs has developed a series of 1-unit courses and workshops through the Clyde Woods Scholars Program to introduce students to academic research.
  • CHST Faculty Member office hours – if you are a CHST major interested in assisting a faculty member with their research, you may be able to receive Independent Studies units to develop bibliographies, literature reviews or assist in basic research activities.  Contact faculty members individually via email to set up an appointment or drop by during office hours.

Independent Studies

Students who have already been introduced to research may develop an interest in pursuing their own research questions.  Students should discuss their ideas with a CHST faculty member and develop a proposal to address their questions by enrolling in Independent Studies units with the faculty member who will advise them.  These courses are arranged in collaboration with the sponsoring faculty mentor, but also require approval from the Department administration. Additional resources including research funds may be available to support student research projects. Independent Study courses include CHST 99, 194A-D, 195A-D, 198, 199, and 199RA.

Eligibility requirements:

  • Upper-division standing.
  • Completion of two upper-division courses in Chicana and Chicano Studies.
  • At least 3.0 grade point average in the preceding three quarters.

If you are interested in taking an Independent Study course you should:

  • Discuss your project with a Chicana/o Studies Faculty or Affiliated Faculty member.
  • Determine the unit-credit for the proposed project.
  • Record the project proposal in the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies Independent Study Proposal Form and request faculty review and signature.
  • Deliver the proposal form to the Chicana/o Studies Undergraduate Advisor.

The Undergraduate Advisor will verify that you meet the eligibility requirements and forward the form to the Department Chair for final review. If the proposal is approved, the Undergraduate Advisor will send an add code for the course.

Interested students may also contact the undergraduate advisor for more information.

Departmental Honors Program

For students interested in pursuing graduate and/or professional school, the Department offers an Honors experience, resulting in the commendation of “Distinction in the Major” on student transcripts and diplomas.  The Honors Program provides students with a faculty mentor with whom they work on a project for a full academic year.  

The application deadline for the AY2022-2023 Honors Program application is Friday, September 9th, 2022.

Honors Application

UCSB Programs:

As a leading research institution in the nation and a member of the prestigious American Association of Universities (putting us in the top 6% of all U.S. colleges and universities), UCSB provides a variety of opportunities for students to take up research interests.  Some of these opportunities are listed below.  Students may also look to the College of Letters & Science for other possibilities.

The McNair Scholars Program

The UC Santa Barbara McNair Scholars Program is a two-year program funded by the U.S. Department of Education. It is designed to encourage students from groups often underrepresented in graduate programs to pursue doctoral degrees. Twenty to thirty undergraduates and incoming transfer students are selected each year to participate in academic year and summer activities. One of the key aspects of the McNair Program is the opportunity for undergraduate students at the junior and senior years to participate in research experiences.

To be a part of this exciting program, please visit:

For further information, please contact:
Beth Schneider -
Director of UCSB McNair Scholar Program

Additional Research Opportunities:

Faculty Research Assistance Program (FRAP)
The Faculty Research Assistance Program (FRAP) allows undergraduates to gain valuable research experience, work with leading UCSB researchers, and simultaneously earn academic credit through special research assistance courses, 99/99RA or 199/199RA.
The FRAP directory [[Link]] provides information about current research projects, the faculty and senior researchers conducting the research, and the academic or other preparation necessary to participate in these projects.

Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (URCA) Grant
The Office of Undergraduate Education encourages undergraduate students conducting independent research projects or creative activities to apply for funding to support these efforts. The funding for Undergraduate Research and Creative Actvities (URCA) grants comes from university, federal, and private sources and is intended to cover a project’s expenses, including research-related domestic travel.

UCSB Undergraduate Research Colloquium
The Office of Undergraduate Education invites UCSB undergraduate students to present their research or creative activity at the Undergraduate Research Colloquium. Held annually, this poster exhibition recognizes the scholarly achievements of undergraduates and offers an opportunity to share their hard work with the campus and community members.

Undergraduate Research Slam
The Undergraduate Research Slam offers students the chance to give dynamic, 3-minute oral presentations of their research or creative activity to a panel of judges. All UCSB undergraduates participating in the Undergraduate Research Colloquium are eligible. The top 3 students will earn research awards ranging from $1500-$2500.

Transfer Student Research Award (TSRA)
Transfer Student Research Awards (TSRA) provide support for transfer students to engage in research activities. One set of grants will be given to graduating seniors for research projects to be completed by June; a second set will be given to juniors/rising seniors for research projects to be completed by December of the following year.

College of Letters and Science Other Research Opportunities
UCSB offers a wide variety of research opportunities for undergraduates--from working in labs or libraries, to engaging in research studies or gaining direct experience in a particular field. The UCSB Undergraduate Research website contains a listing of such programs and opportunities. It also contains tips on finding the right project, features stories about UCSB undergraduates who have participated in research efforts, and is home to the UCSB Undergraduate Research Blog.

UCSB Undergraduate Research
Browse through UCSB Undergraduate Research Opportunities — programs, grants, and fellowships at UCSB that support undergraduate research. The listing tells what each program offers and includes direct links to the people you need to contact.