Research Opportunities for Undergraduates

The Duke History Department, together with allied sites across the university, offers many opportunities for Duke students to pursue historical research across the globe. This is especially relevant for students who are writing a thesis, or who are thinking of writing a thesis. But it is actually relevant for anyone: if you are a Duke student with a passion for history, and you would like to do research to support a project, we would like to work with you. You can reach out to at any time. Below, though, is a rough guide to the available opportunities.


  1. For anyone: The first port of call would be the Office of Undergraduate Research, which offers many opportunities. Some of the most relevant would be the Trinity Summer Research Fellowship the Independent Study Grants.  The Human Rights Summer Research Grants are also an excellent opportunity for history students.

  2. Pre-thesis research: for students who have a potential thesis idea, and would like to do some exploratory archival travel to see if it would make sense for a project. This makes most sense for sophomores, and is a great way to spend some time in the summer between sophomore and junior year. If you are interested in funding for a trip like this, send a two-page application (1 page narrative justification, 1 page detailed budget) to by 1 April. This will be considered together by the Director of Undergraduate Studies and the Director of the Honors Seminar. Generally, awards for $500 but requests for more funds can be considered, pending availability. We recommend that students reach out to other funding organizations as well if their needs exceed $500. Students will be expected to provide a one-page report, potentially for use on our website, about their trip and their findings.

  3. Thesis research: for students who have already been admitted to the thesis seminar. The application for summer funding is a part of the application to the thesis seminar itself. Subsequent funding requests for admitted students will be considered by the DUS and the honors thesis director. Students will be expected to provide a one-page report, potentially for use on our website, about their trip and their findings.

  4. Women’s history. The Department has a special fund devoted to women’s history research. If your project falls into that category, consider applying for an Anne Firor Scott award.

  5. Helping faculty members with research. This can be a very rewarding activity, especially if you have formed a connection with a faculty member. Many history professors are in need of short-term help with research, often over the summer. If you are looking for this kind of work and would like ideas, feel free to reach out to Please note that you can only work for Duke if you are in one of the “approved to work” states. So, for instance, if you would like to work remotely for a faculty member over the summer, that is perfectly possible if you are in one of those states.