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Undergraduate Research

Carthage places a major emphasis on undergraduate research and scholarship. Early and often in their time at Carthage, students are challenged to perform original study under the close guidance of experienced faculty.

This approach enhances learning by connecting lessons to “real-world” settings, providing students with constant feedback, and requiring them to respond to novel challenges. Surveys show those with undergraduate research experience are more likely to earn degrees and pursue advanced degrees.

“We consider faculty to be teaching scholars. This approach provides intense, interdisciplinary knowledge you can’t get in a classroom.”

Prof. Dennis Munk
Coordinator of Undergraduate Research

Expected of all students

At Carthage, research is built into every student’s experience. Research serves as the foundation for entire academic courses. In addition, all prospective graduates must complete a senior thesis, which may take the form of a research project, an art exhibit, a music recital, a portfolio, a research paper or other project that pertains to the student’s area of study. 

Paid summer research opportunities

Carthage offers students paid summer research positions through the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience. A hallmark of the Carthage education since the 1990s, SURE offers students in all majors the opportunity to engage in collaborative full-time research with professors. Students work closely with a faculty mentor on campus for 10 weeks, receiving a stipend and research budget. More than 50 students were selected for the SURE program in 2017. 

Research internships at regional and national universities

Carthage students have a strong track record of obtaining positions in competitive research laboratories across the country as paid summer interns. These opportunities give them further hands-on experience with cutting-edge instruments and methods, and the chance to contribute to large-scale projects under the mentorship of research university faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students. In recent years, numerous students have participated in programs such as those offered through the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates, Medical College of Wisconsin’s Summer Program for Undergraduate Research, and the Amgen Scholars.

Partnerships with national and international experts

Carthage has institutional membership in the Council on Undergraduate Research, the preeminent national organization devoted to promoting high-quality undergraduate student-faculty collaborative research and scholarship.

Carthage also partners with prestigious institutions including NASA; the Howard Hughes Medical Institute; the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium (headquartered at Carthage); the University of Chicago Yerkes Observatory and other major observatories; the Huairou Education Bureau in Beijing, China; the Sloan Digital Sky Survey; the Stress and Motivated Behavior Institute at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey; and more. Carthage students regularly conduct microgravity research with NASA scientists. Freshmen have the opportunity to perform innovative genomics experiments through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Early exposure, lasting impact

The Association of American Colleges and Universities has identified “early and active involvement in systematic investigation and research” as one of 10 educational practices with the strongest impact. As early as their freshman year, Carthage students can participate in cutting-edge research. Through their original work, students contribute to society both directly and indirectly. “It gets them excited that they’re part of something original and not just redoing something everybody’s done every year,” said biology professor Deborah Tobiason.

Presentation opportunities

  • Carthage students present their research findings on campus, as well as at regional and national conferences
  • Every spring, Carthage holds Celebration of Scholars, an event that highlights research and other original work by students and faculty. More than 100 Carthage students and faculty shared their work in 2017.
  • Carthage students are regularly invited to  present their findings at regional, national and international conferences, including Posters on the Hill, Midstates Science and Math Consortium Undergraduate Research Symposia, and the National Literature Conference.
  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2017), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • Scheduled to open in fall 2018, a new residential tower will offer suite-style housing and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about The Tower

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wins, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • Beyond the campus boundaries, dinosaur fossils are prepared at the Carthage Institute of Paleontolgoy in Kenosha. A lengthy pterodactyl flight away, Finca Esperanza serves as a base camp for J-Term medical and water quality missions to Nicaragua. 

    • Since 2008, Carthage athletic training students have used the newest diagnostic tools to study concussions. Overseen by a leading brain trauma expert from the Medical College of Wisconsin, the research helps doctors determine when athletes are healthy enough to return.

    • 96% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit Career Services.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. 95% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • As a freshman in the highly selective Honors Program, learn how to gain expertise in anything from music to forest ecology. After that, tackle a contemporary social, economic, or political problem. If you like, you can live on an Honors-only floor of a Carthage residence hall. 

    • In 2016 and 2017, Carthage was named a top producer of Fulbright Scholars by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our athletic and recreation center, student union, computer labs, audiovisual production suite, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 10 years. Our new science center caps it off.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from archaeology to athletic training, neuroscience to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of our students receive financial aid, a hefty chunk of which is scholarships and grants — including $1.25 million annually from the Presidential Scholarship Competition and numerous Merit Scholarships. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” says biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 30 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from 75% tuition up to full tuition, room, and board. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about the Carthage core.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 12:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 120 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Chemistry Club, to Frisbee and Latin Belly Dancing. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • Imagine presenting your original research at an international conference — as an undergraduate. Carthage is dedicated to undergraduate research. Learn more about current opportunities.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked No. 11 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …

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