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Undergraduate Research Projects

The University of Virginia encourages and supports undergraduate research as an important part of a liberal arts education and preparation for both advanced training and career exploration, and the Department of Anthropology is pleased to have many students who engage in research in a wide variety of ways (and places).

The University's Office of Citizen Scholar Development supports a wide array of grants, fellowships, and scholarships that students can apply for to join ongoing research of faculty and advanced graduate students, travel during summers to conduct their own research projects, and the like.

For many motivated undergraduate anthropology majors, research is tied to Distinguished Major Projects, in which a semester of intense research or data collection is followed by supervised writing of a significant thesis. Many thesis projects culminate in public presentations of the research.

While most of our undergraduate researchers and thesis writers -- like all our majors -- go on to apply their anthropological knowledge to other fields of study or occupation, for some it is also a stepping stone to careers in academic anthropology.

Below we present a sample of some of the current and past students and the research work they did while undergraduates at the University of Virginia.

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Dan Battillo -- Sociocultural Anthropology & The U.S. Military's Human Terrain System

Dan Battillo

My DMP thesis is on the ethical application of applied anthropology through the lens of the U.S. Army’s implementation of the Human Terrain System in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2007-2014. I investigate the limitations of our current approach to ethics in applied work. I also explore an alteration of these ethical guidelines to better adapt anthropological methodologies to the complex nature of applied anthropology.

US Army in Iraq

I look to apply the research skills and perspectives I acquired while developing this thesis toward the clinical research aspect of my Master’s in Exercise Physiology program next year.