Carnegie Mellon University

Research Projects

The Humanities Scholars Program encourages students to explore their own academic interests in greater depth.

Throughout their four years in the HSP, students are encouraged to explore their own intellectual passions and to pursue opportunities to ask the questions that most interest them. Through careful advising and mentorship, HSP students learn about the many programs available through Dietrich College and Carnegie Mellon University that provide them opportunities to engage with faculty in ongoing research and to develop their own research projects. HSP students are also encouraged to participate in undergraduate conferences, symposia and workshops to present their ideas and engage with other students and scholars at CMU and beyond. 

Senior Seminar

During the spring semester of senior year, students in the HSP reconvene for the Senior Seminar. In this seminar, students share their research projects — such as capstone projects form their majors or senior honors thesis. In the spirit of a rigorous intellectual community, students will review and critique each other's work, sharing feedback and challenging each other to expand their thinking. 

In this culminating seminar, students assemble a portfolio, synthesizing their experiences and intellectual growth as humanists over their four years in the program. Faculty and peers from the four humanities departments are invited to the portfolio presentations, where each student shares reflections on their intellectual journeys. The class gives scholars the opportunity to discuss ideas and showcase their developed talents in addressing their topics of choice from mulitple interdisciplinary standpoints. 

Students involved in the completion of an undergraduate research project may participate in Meeting of the Minds, the undergraduate research symposium that takes place at the end of each academic year. Students may sign up to have their project considered for various awards, including the Dietrich Humanities Prize, sponsored by HSP.

Tandri Einarssen

Tandri Einarsson, class of 2024

Departments: Philosophy and History

Through the Humanities Scholars Program I was able to dive into various research areas in the humanities that I had a personal interest in such as the historiography of government regulation regarding trade, the social history of disability in Iceland, and the property rights which undergird our system of mineral rights. The program gave me the foundational skills of research in the humanities, and the practice to know how to use them.

During the first two years, during which we met weekly as a cohort, I learned to hone my writing skills, analyze disparate sources to argue a particular viewpoint, and discuss complex issues with my fantastic peers. The program was also incredibly generous in providing me with funding to go to Iceland to complete a project on the social history of disability and put me in contact with a local professor who guided me through my summer research.

I was also encouraged to reach out to professors in different CMU departments due to the HSP's focus on being truly interdisciplinary. This culminated in my capstone history project, which would use scholars from law, economics, political science and social history to create an introductory reader to the history of scholarship surrounding the interstate commerce commission and the Hepburn act in its attempt to regulate railroads and Wall Street. Engaging with such a wide array of highly accomplished scholars during my undergraduate career was such an enriching experience that would not have been possible without the support of the HSP.