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Research Based Courses at Eastern

Below is a list of courses where research and/or creative activities are the primary focus. Also detailed are the expected outcome for students to gain practical experience in their area of study and or preparation of work to be presented/published or exhibited.

Students can also find a list of Internships, Practica and Coops approved to meet the Liberal Arts Work requirement at the LAW website.


ART 432 Eastern Design Group Students will form a design agency in order to produce professional design products for real clients under the supervision of a faculty member. In this course students will demonstrate the ability to engage in independent inquiry, apply critical thinking skills, communicate ideas effectively in oral and written form, understand the ethics of the design profession and be able to seek and apply new knowledge relevant to professional projects, and reflect upon their work as an outcome of their course work and their liberal arts education.

ART 436 Graphic Design IV In this course, students will develop independent, self-directed, multi-part projects that explore all the concepts, and utilize all the skills, they've learned in Graphic Design I-III. The work produced in this course will be suitable for a professional-quality graphic design portfolio and may explore both print and digital media.

ART 485 Senior Seminar in Studio Art Students will complete an advanced studio project and an artist's statement and reflective essay in the concentration of Illustration, Painting & Drawing, Printmaking, or Sculpture. The project will demonstrate the ability to engage in independent inquiry and creative activity. In addition to their studio explorations, students will develop skills in discussing and presenting their work and portfolio and expand their understanding of professional practices and career options. Students will work under the supervision of a Studio Art faculty member in their area of concentration, but will also receive critical feedback and input from a group of faculty representing a variety of concentrations. Students will record their initial concept and the progress to final iteration visually and in writing in a process portfolio.

ART 486 Senior Project in Art History Students will complete a major project on an advanced level. The course involves a submission of a formal study plan and working directly under the supervision of an art history faculty member.

ART 487 Senior Project NMS This course is designed to provide senior level students with an opportunity to practically apply a variety of knowledge and skills acquired in New Media Studies. The course allows students to examine their learning and critical thinking in a real-world context through the creation of their senior project. This project will demonstrate the ability to engage in independent inquiry and creative activity. Students will work under the supervision of a Digital Art & Design faculty member in area of concentration.


BIO 466 Senior Seminar This capstone course is open to senior biology majors who have completed three of their upper-level biology courses. Students participate in the synthesis and communication of ideas in biology. Activities include extensive writing and revision of papers and oral communication in various modes. Successful completion of this course satisfies the University advanced writing requirement. Three hours seminar per week.


ACT 411 Contemporary Issues in Accounting Designed to cover important topics that are not included in the traditional accounting courses. Students are required to conduct research and write papers dealing with current issues in the areas of international accounting, governmental accounting and nonprofit accounting. Special attention is given to the "standard setting process," and the literature produced by the Financial Accounting Standards Board, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the Government Accounting Standards Board.

BIS 377 Organization Website & Data Managment  Provide students an opportunity to acquire and integrate multiple skill sets and knowledge in 1) creating and managing effective databases for business and other organizations; and in 2) developing and managing database driven websites that meet the needs of modern business and community organizations in the Internet Age.

BUS 377 Small Business Planning A business plan is a planning and operating document that will improve the chances of business success for a new venture. The basic principles underlying the start-up and on-going operations of a small business will be covered as well as how to document and present these components in a business plan. This course offers an integrated approach to understanding business by focusing on the linkages between Finance and Management and exploring additional linkages to Marketing and Operations. The course content offers a comprehensive introduction to Managerial Finance and Market Analysis and Marketing Plans. Advanced topics in management include Human Resource Management, Group Dynamics, Organization Theory and Organizational Behavior.


COM 400 Communication Research is designed to provide students with the social science research tools required to describe and explain communication behaviors. The primary objective of the course is to help students refine analytical skills to propose a research study. At the end of the semester, students will be able to develop basic quantitative and qualitative data analysis skills for producing their own research as well as critically consuming the research of others. A secondary purpose of the class is to help students achieve basic literacy in social scientific communication research and thereby acquire a deeper appreciation for the process of such research. 

COM 401 Advanced Interpersonal Communication is an advanced seminar that explores the ways in which personal relationships shape our social environment and how sociocultural factors such as gender, race, and social class influence human communication. The course examines both functional and dysfunctional aspects of human interaction with particular emphasis on the most commonly employed empirical theories of interpersonal communication across a variety of relational contexts. Students conduct original research relating to some aspect of interpersonal communication.


CSC 450 Senior Research It includes project proposals, software proposals, technical writing, semester projects, high-level and new issues in computer science.


BIO 422 Research Methods in Cell & Molecular Biology (Professor Mike Adams) The emphasis in this course is on hands-on familiarization with some of the common techniques used in molecular biology and genetics. Each week there will be a short lecture on the physical and chemical basis for a given procedure, a description of how the technique is actually performed and then the class will go into the lab and try it out. This course was featured in US News & World Reports in an article titled "10 College Courses That Will Pay Off at Work."


ECO 429 Politcal Economy Race Relations A study of the political, economic and cultural context of work. Specific topics include the impact of technology, public policy, immigration, and forms of capital ownership on the nature of work and workers, the historical development and current role of labor unions, and the role of women in labor markets.


ECE 410 Families, Culture, Child Development Provides an overview of the diversity in families whose children are enrolled in early education classrooms. Examines cultural diversity in parenting and family communication, family stressors, risk and protective factors, and parenting styles. Presents a variety of strategies for communicating and collaborating with families, and involving them in curriculum planning and assessment.   

EDU 465 Classroom Managment & Assessment in the Elementary School Examination of the elementary school, its organization and curriculum. Trends and issues that influence how instruction is implemented, managed, and assessed.


ENG 462 Seminar II In the second semester, students will continue to engage in collaborative discourse, will report on the progress of their research, and will write and deliver their papers.

ENG 499 Directed Research This course allows students to develop and complete a significant scholarly and/or creative project, applying and expanding upon knowledge and critical perspectives developed through previous coursework in their English or New Media Studies (English Concentration) major. Students will work individually, guided by an English department faculty member. When a suitable number of students are enrolled in this course at the same time, they may also participate in a discussion/workshop group to support them through the process of conceiving and completing their individual project.


EES 320 Environmental Management As population continues to grow, humans are consuming more natural resources (e.g., land, water, air, energy) and producing more waste than ever before. Environmental approaches will be covered that address management of natural resources, natural hazards, and natural ecosystems, with special attention given to land-use planning and management.

EES 350 Field Methods in Earth Science Analysis and description of exposed bedrock and sediments. Mapping of geologic aspects for academic or practical purposes. Use of Brunton compass. Field trips. Reflective discussion of geoscience within the liberal arts.

EES 402 Energy Issues in Geoscience An in-depth study of energy issues in geosciences. Topics include global climate change, peak oil, shale gas, tar sands, carbon sequestration, deep geothermal energy, and nuclear waste storage. This is a writing intensive Tier III course; so it will include independent inquiry into energy geoscience issues, discussion about the liberal arts context of this inquiry and report writing.

EES 440 Process Geomorphology with Laboratory is a writing intensive class for EES majors that develops a deeper understanding of geologic processes that shape surface landforms through integrated classroom discussion, field activities, and computer analyses of data collected in the Eastern Arboretum. Laboratories introduce skills used to measure stream geometries, quantify change in channel form, evaluate land-use impacts, describe changes through historical and present-day aerial photography, and collect data and samples that may be used to infer environmental change at the site. These activities include use of basic surveying equipment (compass, global positioning system, total station), a variety of sediment coring instruments, and new technologies, like ground penetrating radar (see the figure below). Students develop research skills in computing by analyzing data with digital elevation modeling software and other specialty packages. A culminating lab report and a semester-long essay draws together experiences throughout the semester and provides an opportunity to revise previously submitted written responses.

EES 450 Hydrological Research Methods Introduction to collaborative hydrological research through laboratory, computer, and/or field research projects. Activities include proposal writing, data collection, data analysis and interpretation, oral presentation, and manuscript preparation. Emphasis is placed on the process and methods of scientific inquiry.


HSC 302 Research Methods in Health Sciences This course introduces undergraduate students in the health sciences to commonly used research techniques in field settings. These methods are helpful in generating data that is useful for interpreting and understanding a variety of health related issues: childbirth practices, the causes and consequences of mental illness in families and communities, the effects of forced relocation on health status, contraceptive use among adolescents, social networks and health, doctor-patient interaction and compliance, and beliefs about health and illness. Methods range from participant observation, field notes, coding, mapping, filming, and recorded interviews. Introduction to Public Health (PBH 228) is recommended.

HSC 438 Issues in Health Science Seminar Current Topics in Health Sciences Seminar explores a wide- variety of issues pertinent to individual and societal health. Topics include nutrition, genetics, exercise, sleep, and obesity. Current Topics is designed as a writing-intensive, Liberal Arts Tier III independent Inquiry course. This course is not repeatable.


HIS 400 Seminar in American History Selected topics in American history from the age of colonization to the contemporary period.

HIS 407 Seminar in World History Discussion and guided research on topic in the history of Asia, Africa, or Latin America.


SLM 345 Leadership and Problem Solving is a highly interactive learning experience that builds leadership characteristics and problem solving skills for sport and leisure management students. This course builds theoretical foundations and provides practical experiences that enable students to develop their own leadership style. Students undertake semester service learning projects, working in small groups to identify a need in the community and developing a plan of action that contributes to their cause. Successful projects build final products and develop skills in taking logical steps, solving problems that arise and developing new leadership characteristics. Examples of recent successful activities include:

• Objective: Develop a fundraising plan, plan of action, and donate proceeds to American Cancer Society (AMC)
• Methods: Develop a group icon and brand, create an original tee-shirt, sell product to community, donate proceeds
• Outcome: Group sold 50 tee-shirts contributing $500 to the ACS

• Objective: Develop a web site for online collaboration targeting the sport management professional and student
• Methods: Develop a relationship with university information technology, obtain rights and proprietary content from older site, and create unique web site content
• Outcome: Students created the Sport and Leisure Management Think Tank containing reference lists for critical issues in sport, sport careers and internships, and links to news and articles.


MAT371 Explorations Math-Graph Theory  In this course our focus is on learning to do graph theory. Students work through a sequence of definitions and theorems leading from basic properties of graphs to deep and meaningful results in graph theory. During each class meeting students present their work to the class and their classmates provide feedback. Together the class polishes the presenters work until the entire class agrees a valid proof has been presented. Students are not allowed to use any outside resources such as textbooks and the Internet. Outside resources are forbidden because in this course students do research at their level. They do research just like mathematicians do research; the only difference is that they rediscover proofs of theorems that have already been proved. This class promotes problem solving and presentation skills, shows students what it is like to do math research, and emphasizes the collaborative nature of doing mathematics.

MAT 421 Real Analysis II is the second course in the capstone sequence of the Mathematics major. In addition to the standard coursework, it includes two research projects on problems either chosen by the students and approved by the instructor, or assigned by the instructor. The students work in groups and regularly report on the progress in class, where they receive critique and input from both the class and the instructor. At the completion of each project each group makes a final presentation, and submits a paper, which has to be written under the strict standards of mathematical rigor.


CHE 430 Nanosystems Laboratory This course applies the theory and practice of basic chemical instrumentation to nanomaterials. The scope is limited to the analysis of metal, metal oxide, and semiconductor nanoparticle samples using electronic and fluorescence spectrscopy, chromatography and centrifugation separations, and electrochemical methods of analysis.

CHE 450 The Biochemistry Profession This course is designed as a capstone experience (LAC Tier III) its purpose both to unify and provide a broader context for knowledge of biochemistry acquired throughout the proceeding undergraduate years within the biochemistry program. Consisting of a weekly 3 hours lecture period. This course will explore current biochemical investigations, techniques, and the key roles of scientific discovery processes both on our current and potential future societies. Students will be expected to gain the skills, competencies, and ethical character of a professional in the biochemistry field. Topics covered will promote discussion relative to the basic principles learned during fundamental scientific academic course offerings, and require critical analysis of the scientific research in terms of scientific competency and societal merit.


PHI 460 Philosophical Research and Reflection This is a capstone course for those students majoring in philosophy, and as such, it is in the form of a seminar, and writing intensive course. All students enrolled in the class will write a research paper of at least 20 pages. Students will choose relevant subjects in comparative philosophy or Critical Thinking and Complex Reasoning (CTCR).

PSC 400 Political Inquiry Students will engage in a topic of political theory and will reflect on how their liberal arts education informs their understanding of course materials. Students will engage in independent inquiry as part of the reflective process.


The goal of the required 4-course sequence below is to prepare students to be knowledgeable consumers of research. Activities in these courses also focus on research, creative and professional skills focusing on the psychology departments emphasis on the science of behavior and mental processes. All psychology majors design and carry out independent research in the culminating PSY 327 course. Students use SPSS for data analysis and conduct research in labs to give them experience with various methodologies.

Many students go on to present their research at professional conferences (examples can be found under "Completed Projects" from the home page).

PSY 227 - Behavioral Science Statistics
(prerequisite: PSY 100)
An introduction to descriptive and inferential methods used to evaluate psychological research. Topics include graphic methods, central tendency, variability, correlation , hypothesis testing, and sample distributions.

PSY 247 - Research Methods I
(prerequisite: PSY 100)
An overview of behavior research including developing hypotheses, research methodologies, library research, writing styles and an introduction to basic statistics. Students read scholarly journals and develop a research proposal.

PSY 327 - Research Methods II
(prerequisite: PSY 217, 227)
A continuation of PSY 247 with in depth coverage of correlational and experimental designs. Students carry out independent undergraduate research projects. Students gain experience conceptualizing, implementing and writing of research reports.

PSY 402/409 - Current Research In Psychology/Child Psychology
(prerequisite: PSY 217, 227)
In depth study of recent research in psychology utilizing journal articles in neuroscience, human development, learning, cognition, motivation, personality, abnormal behavior, social behavior and industrial/organizational psychology.

Students can also work on research with instructors for course credit (PSY 480 or 491) or as part of a research lab (descriptions and details is available under the "Current Projects").


CRM 450 Criminology Senior An integration of knowledge acquired by Criminology majors, assessing skills and insights acquired for application in criminological research, the criminal justice system, and related community programs or agencies.

SOC 400 Senior Seminar An integration of knowledge acquired by Sociology majors, assessing skills and insights acquired for application in research and the community.

SWK 475 Senior Seminar: Diversity This course takes a socio-historical perspective in the examination of issues of diversity, human rights, and social justice in an effort to create a foundation of understanding of these complex issues and contribute to the student's development as a cultural competent generalist social work practitioner. This capstone seminar for social work students builds upon the liberal arts foundation and social work knowledge of human behavior, social policy, and quantitative and qualitative inquiry in the examination of issues of diversity, human rights and social justice. Students will learn a practice framework that integrates a human rights perspective, which promotes the dignity, respect, and well-being of all persons with a social justice perspective which seeks to understand, challenge, and combat oppression, unequal access to resources, and social inequities. Students engage in critical self-awareness and apply an integrated practice framework for use with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities, that advance human rights and social and economic justice. 


SPA 403 Spanish/English Translation This course is an introduction to the art and science of translation, in particular, from Spanish into English. As background, we will read about the history and development of translation into a specialized field. We start with an overview of the translator's task. We will then look into different approaches to translation, paying specila attention to the elements that comprise a text, in order to distinguish between form and meaning, implicit meaning, and literal vs. figurative senses.