Mentored Advanced Projects in Sociology

Specifics of a MAP in Sociology

  • As MAP topics are driven by faculty research, they are decided by faculty and announced with directions for how to apply in February. 
  • In the Social Studies Division, MAPs are competitive and hence require considerable preparation.

When is the right time to do a MAP?

  • These mentoring opportunities are intended to be advanced, the culmination of a plan of study, and a demonstration of strong student initiative. 
  • The time that is usually best to do a MAP is just before or your during your senior year.

What is the MAP application process like? How should you approach a professor about a MAP opportunity?

  • Summer MAP opportunities will usually be announced around February, with instructions on how to apply
  • Start thinking about a MAP as early as you can by building up to a project and by becoming familiar with faculty research in which you might participate. Don’t shop around for MAP directors at the last minute!
  • Professors are under no obligation to supervise MAPs so find out about their preferences for academic or summer MAPs, and what qualities and skills they require from a prospective MAP student. Plan accordingly.
  • When approaching a faculty member about a MAP, do it with a clearly written proposal of your project or of how you could develop a project within the faculty member’s research. Allow time for the faculty member to give you feedback. 

How can you prepare to apply for a MAP?

  • Understand the meaning of a MAP: Typically, MAPs can take two forms depending on whether they take place during the academic year or summer. Each requires different preparation, has different resources attached, and varies in the degree to which the student is required to devise a program of research.
  • Inquire about upcoming MAPs from professors
  • Take multiple courses with professors who offer MAPs
  • Take SOC 285 (Contemporary Social Theory) and SOC 291 (Methods of Empirical Analysis) prior to the summer following your third year
  • Build research and other skills/competencies that might be required for your MAP. Take courses in research methods, languages, and data analysis/visualization (e.g. GIS).
  • Demonstrate in class writing and research projects that you are building necessary skills and competencies. It may be helpful to keep a writing portfolio to share with potential MAP supervisors. 

Other Tips

  • Know the deadlines for MAP applications and read the informational materials carefully.
  • Talk to your adviser and think about how a MAP fits into your 4 year plan
  • Be ready to provide references for faculty members who can attest to your abilities, dependability, and work habits.

*This list is a compilation of advice from David Cook-Martin and Karla Erickson.*

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