Research – a systematic inquiry or investigation into a topic – is conducted across the curricula at the University at Albany.  Whether it is using ancient texts or more recent diaries to develop new understandings or analyzing data to find mathematical patterns, research is an important component of your university education. Research begins with a question. What answer will you uncover?

Research in History:

How is it done?

  • Select a topic
  • Read how other historians have interpreted that topic
  • Develop original research questions about the topic
  • Use primary sources (government documents, maps, diaries, ancient texts) to find answers to those research questions

How can I do research in History at UAlbany?

  • AHIS 498z - Senior research course, required for majors, open to others
  • 300 level HIS clcasses - often have a research component, depending upon the instructor
  • Internship with the:

    * State museum
    * State library
    * Local historical societies
    * Local museums

    The contact for the internship program is Dr. David Hochfelder dhochfelder@albany.edu.
    The contact for the Documentary Studies program is Dr. Gerry Zahavi

Some other resources to explore

Students with strong records can join the History Honors Society, Phi Alpha Theta. A national organization, its chapter on campus has about 30 members. Phi Alpha Theta nationally sponsors undergraduate research conferences and offers fellowships to its members.  Our departmental faculty adviser to PAT is Dr. Kori Graves (kgraves@albany.edu).

Profile of a student

Arianna Wedin is completing a History Department honors thesis titled “Doctoring During The Vietnam War: The Medical Profession on the United States Homefront.” She is researching the medical profession in the United States during the Vietnam War, and showing its critical role in both supporting and opposing the war.  Her goal is to go on to medical school after she finishes with her joint History and Biology degrees at the University at Albany, and this original research using primary sources about the American Medical Association, Dr. Benjamin Spock, and Dr. Thomas Dooley is allowing her to explore the critical social and political influence that America’s doctors have had in shaping the history of our nation and communities."

Bria Cunningham is researching a new dimension of slavery through an examination of the complex criminal laws that shaped it as a social institution.  She is focusing on the case of State v. Will, which took place in North Carolina in 1834 and involved a slave killing an overseer after a dispute.  Defended by lawyers hired by his master, the slave ultimately was found guilty of manslaughter, not murder.  The case undercut earlier legislation that had implied that masters had unlimited control over their slaves’ bodies.  Bria’s research sheds new light on the attitudes of justice at that time, and about concepts of honor and paternalism among the planter class.

If you like History, there might be interesting research opportunities for you in:  

Anthropology, English, Sociology, Political Science