Undergraduate Research in English

Mentored undergraduate research is work done by an undergraduate student under close faculty mentorship that models the activities of professionals in the faculty mentor's discipline. For all disciplines, the research/creative process comprises both the analysis of past work and the creation of original material.

What does that mean for English?

Research in English involves the study of primary cultural texts (written, oral, visual, virtual). Scholars in literary studies formulate original arguments about the social, historical, political, artistic or cultural significance of such texts, informed by the work of other established scholars within the discipline; they produce original creative work; they develop materials and approaches for use by other scholars and teachers of English and cultural studies.

We encourage students to pursue undergraduate research projects with faculty mentors. Projects can be based around any aspect of English that interests you, and faculty often have a few good ideas of their own for research projects. If you are interested in research, contact a faculty member and we'll get things started. The goals of research are for you to increase your knowledge and understanding, and ideally to share that through publication or a conference presentation.

Committing to a research project is a valuable experience as it allows you to take the tools developed in class and apply them to delve deeper into an area of your own pursuit. Research demands equal parts perseverance and creativity, but the reward of finding or creating something new on your own is great. Taking part in a research project is a privilege - many schools do not encourage undergraduate research the way that Shippensburg does.

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner: A Thematic Analysis of Young Adult Literature by Dr. Thomas Crochunis and Evan Hallman

  • This Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) project involved collaborative, qualitative inquiry into a substantial corpus of books featuring young adult characters who are long-distance runners. Springing off Alan Sillitoe's 1959 novella The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, the study involved student Hallman in extensive reading of literature, coding, and analysis of key themes, and development of presentations based on the finding of the research.

More Human Than Human

  • In a collaborative work of fiction, students William Greenlaw, Kathryn Malone, Robert DiCarlo, and Jason Hahn explored the question of what distinguishes human consciousness from artificial intelligence. Assuming the voices of four characters in a future where advancements in technology have blurred the line between humans and computers, these writers presented their story at both the Celebration of Student Research and the EAPSU conference.

The Poetics of Rome: Urban Pastoralism and Contemporary Romanticism

  • Paul Deichmann did extensive guided reading on the Romantics and the influence of space, particularly cityscapes, corresponding with his mentor before actually traveling to Rome. In addition to the original poetry produced during his time there, the experience inspired a lyric essay.

Undergraduate Research Grants

  • Undergraduate students are encouraged to submit applications for independent research to be conducted during the academic year and summer months. This university-wide program has supported field activities, art projects, written works, and more. It is funded by the Shippensburg University Foundation.

Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE)

  • The purpose of SURE is twofold: to nurture student researchers and to provide faculty members with paid student research assistants during the summer. The program is open to all faculty members and to those undergraduate students not in their last semester.

Student/Faculty Research Engagement (SFRE)

  • Faculty in the College of Arts and Science can apply for these grants at the end of each semester. Funds from these grants can be used to support student research.

Dean's Office

  • If you have a large expense (like airfare to a national conference) that is not covered by an undergraduate research grant, the Office of the Dean might be able to help. Talk to your research mentor about applying for funding from the Dean.


  • Takes place near the end of the spring semester each year. Minds@Work offers Ship students the chance to present their work to the campus community and general public.

Undergraduate Literature and Creative Writing Conference

  • Held each spring at nearby Susquehanna University. Proposals are typically due in late November.

EAPSU Undergraduate Conference

  • Annual spring conference sponsored by the English Association of Pennsylvania State Universities.

PCTELA Conference

  • Annual conference sponsored by the Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of English and Language Arts. Educators of any level and at any phase of their career, including pre-service teachers, are encouraged to attend/present.

National Council of Teachers of English Convention

  • Annual national convention held by the National Council of Teachers of English.

Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference

  • Annual national conference held by the Association of Writers and Writing Programs.

Write the Ship

  • Shippensburg University's Journal of Academic Writing. Open to current Ship undergraduates.


  • A journal sponsored by the University of Alabama that is open to creative and critical works from undergraduates.


  • This site, sponsored by the Forum for Undergraduate Student Editors, includes a link to national journals that accept creative submissions from undergraduates enrolled at any institution.

The Keystone Journal of Undergraduate Research

  • Housed here at Shippensburg, this journal is open to scholarly articles from the literary world. Only students enrolled at PASSHE schools can submit.