Many Communication Studies majors find ways to pursue their interests more deeply through involvement in undergraduate research. Research affords students the opportunity to pursue their passions and craft their own unique academic experiences. Along the way, these students also develop skills in critical thinking, detailed analysis, and creative problem-solving. Students who choose to conduct research as undergraduates gain solid preparation for future graduate studies and the workplace, while also forging strong connections with members of the faculty.

Undergraduate Research Grants

Northwestern’s Office of Undergraduate Research administers many programs that may be of interest to Communication Studies majors, including the Academic Year Undergraduate Research Grants and Summer Undergraduate Research Grants . With faculty supervision, recipients of these grants are able to conduct independent research or creative work in any field of study. Alternately, students may apply to assist a faculty member who has secured funding through the Undergraduate Research Assistant Program with his or her current research.

Faculty Research Labs

In addition to their individual research projects, many faculty in the Communication Studies department maintain active research labs where they explore issues at the forefront of the field. Students in the department have involved themselves in these labs through work-study positions, through Research Practica (through which they may earn academic credit) and as Research Assistants. Click below to learn more about some of the work being done by our faculty.

Lab/Center Principal Investigator
Advancing Teams, Leaders, and Systems (ATLAS) Leslie DeChurch
The Center for Communication and Health  
Center on Media and Human Development Ellen Wartella
CollabLab Darren Gergle
Inclusive Technology Lab Anne Marie Piper
Network for Nonprofit and Social Impact Michelle Shumate
Science of Networks in Communities (SONIC) Laboratory Noshir Contractor
Social Media Lab Jeremy Birnholtz

Other Opportunities

Students interested in exploring their interests in research are encouraged to consider conducting an independent study with a faculty member or applying for the Communication Studies Honors Program (see Honors under Course of Study)