Although the main concentrated research experience for most history majors will be their participation in History 400, the research seminar, there are other ways students can pursue research outside the classroom setting.
One way is through the honors program, which culminates in a thesis based on intensive investigation of primary and secondary sources. Another is through an internship with an agency that needs help in tracking and organizing certain historical information. Recently students have helped write the histories of local African American churches or served as researchers for the radio show A Moment in Time, which is recorded at the University of Richmond. There may even be opportunities for some students to help a faculty member with his or her research. By its nature, historical research tends to be done alone, but sometimes a faculty member can use a student to collate data, search for names in census records or check translations from foreign language documents. Occasionally during the summer, a teacher and student will pursue parallel or overlapping individual projects and consult with one another about problems and dilemmas.
The School of Arts & Sciences provides a number of research fellowships for students to complete summer research on campus. In addition, students who are invited to present their research at a regional or national conference or meeting can apply for travel grants through the school.
Richmond history majors have also won external grants, such as those awarded by the Gilder Lehman Institute for American History.
Additional research opportunities are available for students enrolled in an independent study course. History majors who want to explore a subject in greater depth and outside the regular course offerings, should consider enrolling in History 401, Directed Study. The requirement for enrolling in History 401 is the completion of five history courses. A student interested in a certain topic of interest should seek out a faculty member with expertise in the general subject area. If the faculty member agrees to sponsor the work, he or she will work out with the student a program of reading and/or research and writing. The relationship built with a faculty mentor in independent research can reap innumerable benefits both in the undergraduate years and after.