McDonough School of Business

Undergraduate Research FAQ

If your question is not answered below, please contact the Undergraduate Research team.

General Undergraduate Research FAQ

There are many academic and professional benefits to conducting research during your undergraduate years including…


  • Developing critical-thinking and analytical skills.
  • Increasing your chances of getting into graduate school and MBA programs.
  • Building a relationship with a faculty member who can provide letters of recommendation and advice. 
  • Gaining in-depth knowledge of a topic related to your major, work across disciplines, or explore something completely new.


  • Enhance your resume – undergraduate research is a great resume builder.
  • Good topic to discuss during interviews! Showing that you’re passionate about a topic and have done in-depth research will help you stand out during an interview.
  • Hone some of the skills employers most want – skills in oral and written communication, data collection, analysis and problem-solving.
  • Get a head start in careers that involve producing business research, such as an investment analyst or marketing strategist.

There are many factors that affect your application for research programs/positions. We look at your application holistically. Your GPA is taken into consideration, but we believe all students, regardless of GPA, are capable of conducting meaningful research. If you just transferred and do not have a Georgetown GPA, you can note that in your application and use your GPA from your previous institution.

We do not require interviews for the Senior Honor Thesis Program or SURF, but the committee may reach out if we need more information from you. If you are applying for a work position as an undergraduate research assistant or Student Academic Assistant, the faculty member in charge of the research will conduct an interview.

McDonough undergraduate research projects are as diverse as our students. The research can be interdisciplinary in nature but should be related to a business topic or area of study. We welcome you to explore our SURF and Senior Honors Thesis programs to see the different research projects that students have completed in past years.

This depends on the type of research program you’re engaged in and the effort you put into your project. Students spend about 25-30 hours per week on research and writing for the SURF program during the summer. The time commitment for senior thesis scholars will vary during the different phases of their project. We strongly recommend that you think of the Senior Thesis as another class and not an “add-on” to your other commitments, especially during the data collection and writing process. Finally, Student Academic Assistants are permitted to work up to 20 hours per week during the academic year but normally work about 10 hours per week.

This is a great question. If you are conducting research that involves human subjects, you will need to go through Georgetown’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) to ensure your research process complies with ethical standards. Students in the SURF and Senior Honors Thesis programs will receive information about the IRB process during our kick-off meetings. You can also find more information on Georgetown’s IRB website.

Senior Honors Thesis Program FAQ

The Senior Honors Thesis program provides business students invaluable experience in conducting advanced original research on a topic related to their field of study in which they have a particular interest. In addition, the process of writing a senior thesis is an excellent resume builder for students and is beneficial for any future career or graduate school application.

Yes! Students accepted into the program will be registered for our Senior Thesis Seminar I (BADM 398), a 3-credit class in the fall semester, and then continue with Senior Thesis Seminar II (BADM 399), a 1.5-credit class in the spring semester. Both classes are a combination of tutorial-style work with your faculty advisor and a seminar-style class that will meet regularly throughout the fall and spring semesters.

You will work closely with a faculty advisor throughout the academic year, meet with your peers in your senior thesis seminar on a weekly basis, and defend your thesis to a faculty committee of your choosing in April of your senior year.

Yes! After the completion of your thesis and successful defense, you will receive a notation on your transcript and recognition for your accomplishment at Tropaia, our honors ceremony for graduating seniors. If applicable, some students may even continue to work with their faculty advisor to prepare their thesis for publication. As an added bonus, the Undergraduate Program will bind your thesis and provide a copy to you and to your faculty advisor.

Yes, you may still apply if you’re graduating in December. This means that the time you have to write your senior thesis will be shortened considerably, and we suggest that you begin your research during the summer. You may even want to apply for the SURF program over the summer to begin your research, which some students have done in the past to get a head start on their literature review and data collection.

By completing the Senior Honors Thesis application. In the application, you’ll be asked to provide a summary of your proposed research project including information about your research questions, methodology, faculty advisor, and more.

The application deadline for senior thesis is in mid-April. We realize some students may need more time to solidify their research project and find a faculty advisor. We will work with you if you need an extension and ask that you let us know your intentions as soon as possible for planning purposes.