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Student Research

The sociology department is committed to ensuring that students interested in undertaking empirical research are given the opportunity to do so. Students can engage with sociological research in several ways, including by choosing the research option for their capstone requirement, and by enrolling in elective upper-division courses that provide research and presentation opportunities.

Sociology Capstone

Sociology majors can choose to fulfill their capstone requirement through an independent research project by completing SC 400 - Independent Scholarship Capstone. Under the guidance of a faculty member, students will conduct and document empirical research (qualitative or quantitative) or develop a field statement. Students then present their scholarship in a public forum approved by the instructor. Interested students must secure the commitment of a supervisor and come to agreement on the scope of the project early in the semester before registration. 

Sociology Coursework

Sociology students may enroll in upper-division seminars focused on data collection and analysis.

  • SC 415 - Seminar: Qualitative Data Analysis
  • SC 416 - Seminar: Quantitative Data Analysis

Sociology students may also enroll in independent study courses. These courses require faculty permission and the completion of a form specifying what the student will accomplish during the term. Thus, students interested in undertaking independent research should initiate conversations with faculty about their ideas the term before they are interested in starting.

  • SC 396 - Independent Study in Gender & Sexuality Studies
  • SC 398 & 399 - Independent Study I & II

Students may register for independent study credit for consecutive terms, if completion of a research project requires an extended period.

Use of Human Subjects

Students working on independent research involving human subjects are required to complete a free, online education program through CITI prior to the review of their application for approval of investigation involving human subjects. Please go to to set up or log in to an account. More information can be found on Loyola's Human Subjects Education page. CITI training is a component of SC 342 - Social Research Methods, a required course for sociology majors and minors.

Please visit Loyola's Institutional Review Board website for more information about ethical principles regarding human participants in research projects. 


The sociology department does not have funds to support independent student research. However, individual faculty may have research funds that they can use to hire Loyola undergraduates.

Loyola University Maryland offers the Kolvenbach Summer Research Grant to foster and encourage research that strengthens and supports the work of non-profit organizations working in Baltimore and the university’s connection to the community. These $3,500 grants are available to the entire Loyola community: undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, staff, and administrators. Students with research interests that fit within this scope should visit the ORSP site for more information and application instructions. Research initiated through a Kolvenbach Summer Research Grant could be completed during the fall term through an independent study course.

Prior sociology student recipients of Kolvenbach grants:

  • Neoline James. "Pathways to Mental Health Court." 2023.
  • Dominic T. Walker. "Community Agency: St. Ignatius Loyola Academy." Socialization and Education: Navigating Class and Race in Education, 2012.

The Governor's Summer Internship Program (GSIP) introduces students to the challenges and rewards of working within Maryland's Dashante Smith (2nd from right) GSIP 2014 poses with Martin O'Mallystate government. This fellowship program provides the best and the brightest of Maryland’s college students with the opportunity to work full-time in state agencies while being mentored by senior level administrators, such as department secretaries and directors. Additionally, they attend biweekly seminars to explore all facets of state government, speak with key decision makers, and receive coaching by a UMBC Political Science professor on policy writing. The fellows work together in groups, applying the knowledge gained in the seminars and at their sites to research and prepare a policy analysis and recommendation. The program culminates in a celebration at the Maryland State House in Annapolis, where fellows present their policies to the Governor and other key decision makers!  Students are paid a stipend for their participation in the program.

Prior sociology student recipients of GSIP Awards:

  • Da'Shante Smith ('15) sociology major, pictured second from right with Governor Martin O'Malley.
  • Molly Cioffi ('16) interdisciplinary major sociology-psychology.

Several presentation opportunities are available for students

Loyola University Maryland Undergraduate Student Research & Scholarship Colloquium (USRSC)

Photo of Jillian Skerchak and her URSC Poster April 2018.

The Undergraduate Student Research & Scholarship Colloquium offers students an annual opportunity to present their research orally and via posters and compete for cash prizes. The goal of the Colloquium is to encourage scholastic endeavors that focus on the generation of new knowledge and the creative integration of existing scholarship. Students have presented on a wide variety of topics:

  • 2018 - Jillian Skerchak - "Children's Assignment of Meaning to Craniofacial Bone Diseases: The Influence of Parental Reactions"
  • 2018 - Jessica Brown - "Understanding Lesbian and Gay Movements in The Middle East and North Africa" (See Jessica's Prezi here)
  • 2015 - Angelica Puzio - "Sexual Assault Resource Knowledge: Survey and Analysis" (1st place; This research has been published since - see Angelica's published article here)
  • 2013 - Joseph Kropff - "Observing the Disconnect: Dispensing the Law vs. Experiencing the Law" (1st place)
  • 2010 - Brendan O'Kane - "Suicide and White Males" (3rd place)
  • 2006 - Tamika Jones - "Racial Group Perceptions and Neighborhood Influence" (1st place)
  • 2005 - Stephanie Golden - "Risk Factors for Recidivism with Juvenile Offenders" (3rd place)
  • 2004 - Dana Moss - "Print Media and the Gender Socialization of Teenage Girls: A Content Analysis of Seventeen Magazine" (2nd place)
  • 2004 - Christina Moorer - "Racial Health Disparities: African American Women and Low Birth Rate" (3rd place)
  • 2003 - Marta Ziola - "A Multivariate Analysis of Integration Ideology" (1st place)
  • 2003 - Paul Strock - "A Multivariate Analysis of the Effects of Black-White Contact on Racial Preferences Concerning Racial Integration" (2nd place)

Regional sociology association meetings also offer presentation possibilities:

Photo: Joe Kropff presents his research to Dominic Walker and other sociologists at the Eastern Sociological Society Meetings.

Joe Kropff presents his poster to Dominic Walker and other sociologists at the Eastern Sociologcal Society meetings.The Eastern Sociological Society sponsors a four-day Annual Meeting in the early spring. Undergraduate students may submit papers for the annual meeting.

The Southern Sociological Society sponsors a professional meeting in the late spring. SSS also offers the Odum Award, which carries a cash prize of $100 and up to an additional $200 toward expenses of attendance at the SSS meeting. The Odum Award recognizes outstanding research papers by undergraduates and graduates in the southern region or by students outside the region whose work is mentored by a current SSS member.  Eligibility: The paper must have only one author and conform to the style guidelines and length conventions of Social Forces. The student author need not be a member of the SSS. It is expected that the author will not have presented the paper at another professional meeting. Papers will be judged on the basis of originality, clarity of exposition, conceptualization and analysis. Faculty are asked to nominate no more than one student paper in each category per year. 

The Mid-South Sociological Association sponsors a professional meeting in the fall. 

The following papers were presented at regional meetings by Loyola University Maryland sociology undergraduates:

Hanna ESSTubman, Hannah. "Industrialization and Impairment: Transnationalizing Disability Studies." Eastern Sociological Society Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA. March 2020.

Hector ESS

Truijillo, Hector. "Structure: Worldview, Agency, and Choice." Eastern Sociological Society Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA. March 2020. 

Cierra and Amanda ESS Debold, Amanda and Cierra Lynn Thurmond. "Identity Formation of Positive Deviants. A Case Study of Academically Advanced High School Students." Eastern Sociological Society Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA. March 2020. 

Walker, Dominic. “Life at Prep: Testimonies of Navigating Elite Private High School.” 5th Annual Diversity in Research and Practice Conference, Columbia University, New York, NY. May 2014.

Kropff, Joseph. “Police Offender Profiling.” Eastern Sociological Society Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD. February 2014.

Walker, Dominic. “The Code of High School Education.” Eastern Sociological Society Annual Meeting, New York, NY. February 2013.

Moorer, C., Peyrot, M., and Smith, L.  "The Effects of Demographic Factors, Psychosocial Factors, and the Healthcare System on Infant Birth Weight in the United States.” Eastern Sociological Society, 2004.

Moss, D., Smith, L., and Peyrot, M. “Print Media and the Gender Socialization of Teenage Girls: A Content Analysis of Seventeen Magazine.” Eastern Sociological Society, 2004.

Strocko, P., Peyrot, M., Smith, L.,and Ziola, M. "The Effects of Racial & Ethnic Contact on Residential Segregation." Eastern Sociological Society, 2003.

Ziola, M., Smith, L., Peyrot, M., and Strocko, P. "Contact and Integration Ideology: Analysis of Attitudes toward Racial Inclusion." Eastern Sociological Society, 2003.

Smith, L., Peyrot, M, and Donnelly, A. “It Takes a Village: An Examination of the Impact of Neighborliness, Community Organization, and Religiosity on Adult Intervention in Youth Conflicts.” Eastern Sociological Society, 2001.