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Student Research

English majors can participate in academic research in many ways: taking classes focused on research practices and methodologies; working on faculty-led research projects; developing independent research projects; or writing honors theses.

Research-Intensive Classes

Research experience is an integral part of the English major. And while students in the major engage in a variety of research experiences throughout their English classes, the department also offers several research-intensive courses including a required Capstone course (4710 or 4720, both of which require the completion of a major research or creative project). Students interested in pursuing research in literature, language, writing, or rhetoric more deeply may consider one of our designated research-intensive classes such as:

For offerings of these courses and proposed themes, check our current listings or contact the professor teaching the course.

Independent Research Projects

ENGL 2991 – Research Practicum (2-4 credits)

Sign up during registration week. For information see the Course Catalog in my.northeastern.edu.

ENGL 2991 is a course designed for students who are interested in engaging in independent or group research under the supervision of a faculty member. Registering for this course offers students an opportunity to learn basic research methods within English studies. In order to enroll in this class, you must be Sophomore standing or higher and have permission and collaboration from an instructor.

University Honors

CSSH students in the University Honors Program have the opportunity to carry out independent research projects of significant scope. Students may work within or among disciplines to pursue their interests. Many students choose problems that incorporate a global element which can be pursued either physically or virtually. Students’ Honors projects topics are presented in various formats from written theses to documentaries.

College Honors

Undergraduate students can receive Honors Distinction in their major on their transcripts by successfully completing a CSSH honors research project in their junior or senior year. Students need not be members of the university-wide Honors Program to receive College Honors. For guidelines and the Proposal for CSSH College Honors Project form, visit the CSSH Honors page.

Research Opportunities

Department of English

Research Experience Work-Study

Hired at the beginning of each semester

If you qualify for work-study through your financial aid package, you may use the work-study money to work as a research assistant for a professor. Work study-eligible students can apply directly through the Student Employment website. If arrangements have been made to work with a particular faculty member, the department can allocate work-study resources accordingly.

Research Assistant Co-ops with a Faculty Member (Paid or Unpaid; Full- or Part-Time)

Due dates follow the normal co-op schedule

You can fulfill your co-op experience by conducting research for a faculty member at Northeastern or elsewhere either domestically or abroad. Seek out a professor who is working on a topic that you are qualified to and interested in assisting with. Draft up a plan for how you can contribute to their research and what the outcome will be. Then present the plan to Lisa Doherty, Department of English Co-op Advisor, for her approval.

On-­going Faculty-­led Research Projects (2017-2018)

College of Social Sciences and the Humanities

Student Research Opportunities List

Visit the CSSH Student Research Opportunities web page.

Undergraduate Research Initiative

3 Funding Cycles: October 31 for Spring / March 15 for Summer & Fall projects / July 31 for Fall

The Undergraduate Research Initiative (URI) encourages students in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities to carry out research and other creative work activities in collaboration with faculty members. With the support of this fund, undergraduate students develop or enhance research skills, such as learning how to define the scope of a project and write a proposal, how to develop a bibliography, how to systematically collect data, how to understand or carry out data analysis, and how to write up results. For more details and for how to apply for this grant, click here.

Recent Awards


Provost’s Office’s Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavor Awards

3 Funding Cycles: October 28 for Spring / Last weekday in February for Summer funding / Last weekday in July for Fall

The Provost’s Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors Awards offer financial and academic support to Northeastern students seeking to conduct original projects of their own design. The goal of the program is to encourage students representing a wide range of majors/disciplines to carry out both early and advanced independent research and creative endeavors under the mentorship of Northeastern faculty members.

Students can request up to $1000 for Early Research/Creative Endeavor Awards and up to $3000 for Advanced Research/Creative Endeavor Awards.

I applied for a Provost’s award for the game I created during an independent study with Professor Kathleen Kelly. It was a dice game called “Errant” and was based on themes and characters found in Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur. The game was intended to pique players’ interests in the quests of the Knights of the Round Table, but specifically lesser-known knights like Sir Percival, Sir Palamedes, and Sir Tor. The Provost’s award allowed me to hire both a professional contract artist and a graphic designer to work on the project with me. I intend on continuing work on this game even though I’ve graduated. – Michael Epstein (English BA ’16)

Forums for Presenting and Publishing Research

Undergraduate Research Forum

Applications due mid-February (see website)

In February, the Undergraduate Research Committee and CSSH Ambassadors invites undergraduates to submit proposals to present at the annual Undergraduate Research Forum (held in mid-March). Any undergraduate CSSH student who has conducted original research independently or in collaboration with a faculty member is eligible to participate. Presentations are 10 minutes long and presenters have the opportunity to discuss their work with the audience.


Abstracts due February / Posters & videos due March (see website)

Each spring, in an effort to support Northeastern University’s commitment to use-inspired research and solution focused innovation, hundreds of students and faculty members embark on an exciting opportunity to showcase the research and innovative thinking of the Northeastern community at the Research, Innovation, and Scholarship Expo (RISE). Students in the English Department have presented papers and posters on their original research.

English majors Lexi Bond and Laura Packard at the 2017 RISE research expo. Photo by Jon Reed. View their video presentation.

Hanson Awards

Submissions due TBD – February (see website)

Each year, the Department of English recognizes two undergraduate writers in English department classes with the Peter Burton Hanson Writing Awards, one given for the best scholarly essay written by an English major and one given for the best creative work written by any major in an English department class.  Two prizes of $250 each are awarded at a special presentation in the spring semester.

Spectrum Magazine

Spectrum Magazine is a student-run literary arts magazine dedicated to showcasing the unique and extraordinary talents of the Northeastern University community.

The Onyx Informer

The Onyx Informer is a revived student-­run journal focused on social and political issues and debates of interest to communities of color. Students with an interest in gaining relevant and useful experience with new media, online publications, and editing, ideas about future stories, or would like more information should contact nuonyxinformer@gmail.com.

Northeastern University CSSH-­Undergraduate Research Journal (in formation)

A new CSSH journal is in formation as a platform for publishing new research in the social sciences and humanities conducted and written by undergraduate students. The new journal will be an entirely student-run operation, with the editors, editorial board, and reviewers comprised entirely of undergraduate students. For more information, please contact Christopher Parsons, History at c.parsons@neu.edu

Other Undergraduate Journals

Student Research

Interested in exploring the relevance of modernist literary techniques for authors writing today, Sneha Pandya (Class of 2017) composed a collection of short stories written from the perspective of children, applying the experimental narratives strategies she studied in her classes at Northeastern to scenes taken from contemporary life. This project, which she titled Northeast, was funded by a Scholars Independent Research Fellowship through the university and was supervised by Jeremy Bushnell, a published novelist who teaches in the English department. Sneha shared this work at the University Scholars Research Symposium in September 2015.

Sneha's Pathway