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Research

The College of Humanities and Sciences develops and advances nationally recognized student and faculty scholarship, research and creative initiatives committed to addressing challenges in our urban Richmond community and beyond.

We aim to become a leader in integrating meaningful engagement with real-world challenges that support the development of global citizens.

Student Research

We have many faculty who are internationally recognized experts in their fields. In the College of Humanities and Sciences, we prioritize student engagement and interaction with faculty. We don't just want you to help with research, we want you to lead.

The diversity of our research means students can obtain hands-on experience in many different areas in order to find their passion. Many CHS faculty conduct community engaged research, which allows students the opportunity to conduct research that has a meaningful, positive impact on VCU and our Richmond community.

13,671 undergraduates engaged in experiential learning and research in 2019-20. This is what makes learning at VCU special and sets us apart.

Student research in the news:

Students gathered looking at posters at the chemistry undergraduate research symposium
Undergraduate students present research to industry partners
NASA, Altria and GSK are just a few of the national companies that participate in the annual Chemistry Undergraduate Research Symposium.
Yaa Adarkwa Darko
VCU student works in local COVID-19 testing lab
Yaa Adarkwa Darko is pursuing a master's degree in bioinformatics at VCU.
colorful game pawns on a playing board
Students in a VCU math class have published six research papers in top journals. More are on the way.
The undergraduate students in “Introduction to Mathematical Biology” are applying math concepts like game theory to better understand and tackle infectious diseases and other real-world problems.
michaela friend, v.c.u. class of 2020
Class of 2020: Transfer student Michaela Friend aims to defend the rights of others
An aspiring human rights lawyer, Friend achieved much in her short time at VCU and wants to help those who have been historically marginalized.
hannah johnson
Class of 2020: Future teacher found supporters and her voice at VCU
Getting through college was a difficult but rewarding journey for Hannah Johnson, who experienced homelessness as a child and now aims to help her students become the best versions of themselves.
raven witherspoon
VCU senior awarded prestigious Schwarzman Scholars fellowship
Raven Witherspoon is the first VCU student to be named a Schwarzman scholar, and will travel to China to complete a master's degree in global affairs next summer.
caitlin cain
Promoting diversity in the field of chemistry
In 2019, 67 women graduated from VCU with bachelor’s degrees in chemistry, fifth-most in the nation.
delaney savedge, v.c.u. class of 2020
Class of 2020: Delaney Savedge helps keep the public safe during the pandemic
The VCU student-athlete’s involvement at the Virginia Department of Health and on a study-abroad trip to Jamaica provided “an eye-opening experience to public health,” and a possible future career.
sophia chilquillo, v.c.u. class of 2020
Class of 2020: Sofia Chilquillo gives back to her native Peru
The VCU psychology major is interning with Pan Peru USA and helping Peruvian women sell their alpaca products to U.S. markets.
melody guitz, v.c.u. class of 2020
Class of 2020: Transfer student Melody Guitz gains her footing as a leader
As her academic achievements pave the way to a career in psychology, Guitz also has helped create a community at VCU for other transfer students.
Amanda Parks
Amanda Parks receives CHS Rising Star in Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Award
Parks is a doctoral candidate in the clinical psychology program with a concentration in child/adolescent development.
augustine lewis
At 76, Augustine Lewis is pursuing a degree in French — and proving that age is just a number
Augustine Lewis graduated from the VCU School of Medicine in 1969. Now he's back at the university to pursue a bachelor's degree in French.
Tarek Haggy
Student turns EMT experience into research opportunity
“The research process as an undergraduate has had an instrumental impact on my personal development,” Tarek Haggy said. “It’s taught me things that no class could and provided early exposure to the professional world.”
Caitlin Cain in a chemistry lab
Chemistry and Forensic Science student receives prestigious NSF graduate fellowship
Caitlin Cain, a senior majoring in chemistry and forensic science, has been awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, which recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees.
sarah yanskon
Do insecticide-treated mosquito nets harm sleep quality? This VCU student is aiming to find out.
Sarah Yankson will work on a study this summer in Ghana as one of a dozen recipients of grants from the College of Humanities and Sciences’ Baldacci Student Experiential Learning Fund.

Faculty Research

Our faculty conduct research on an extraordinarily diverse set of topics, ranging from the understanding of the histories of Native American people, to addressing inequality and disparities in education, to climate change and the development of alternative and efficient energy sources.

CHS faculty regularly win a variety of prestigious awards, fellowships and scholarships, including Woodrow Wilson fellowships and Fulbright scholarships. They also hold some of the largest grants at VCU, including center grants from the Centers for Disease Control to prevent youth violence and from the Federal Drug Administration and National Institutes of Health to understand the health consequences of e-cigarettes and the impact of policies put in place to regulate them.

Faculty research in the news:

Man blows out smoke from e-cigarette
E-cigarettes with a cigarette-like level of nicotine are effective in reducing smoking and exposure to carcinogen, study finds
E-cigarettes with a cigarette-like level of nicotine are effective in reducing smoking, according to a new study led by researchers at VCU and Penn State College of Medicine.
Row of COVID-19 vaccines
Will the U.S. public support donating COVID-19 vaccines to low- and middle-income countries?
A new study led by VCU researchers surveyed 788 people. Among its findings: Older people were less likely to support donating vaccines, as were Republicans.
a computer keyboard with three bright red keys - one says 'fake news.' one says 'facts,' and a third has covid virus symbols
Conspiracy theories are dividing us. How do we talk about them?
Social media groups are allowing people to form strong communities around shared beliefs — even if they aren’t true. To discuss this with loved ones requires a careful approach.
faye belgrave in her office at v.c.u.
VCU, COVID-19 and race and health inequities
An interview with VCU psychologist Faye Belgrave, Ph.D.
four v.c.u. students walking on campus near cabell library on a sunny day
Involvement in student organizations, living on campus early in college reduce odds of dropping out
A new study by VCU researchers also finds that depressive symptoms, antisocial behaviors, exposure to stressful events and substance use increase the risk.
carolyn eastman and the cover of her book 'the strange genius of mister o - the world of the united states' first forgotten celebrity'
‘The Strange Genius of Mr. O’ reveals the story of America’s first forgotten celebrity
The book by VCU history professor Carolyn Eastman dives into performances, eccentricities, scandals and narcissism — and the nature of fame in America’s founding era.
Hani El-Kaderi and M. Samy El-Shall
Two professors honored for their contributions to the field of chemistry, research
Hani El-Kaderi and M. Samy El-Shall are recipients of awards from Virginia Section of the American Chemical Society.
william penn
Exploring the legacy of William Penn, one of early America’s important figures
A VCU professor has edited a new book on Penn’s political writings, offering readers a glimpse into the mind of Pennsylvania’s founder and an early leader in the movement for religious liberty.
u.s. capitol building
Moderates are about to hold an ‘enormous amount of power’ in Washington, VCU expert says
Cooperation between Democrats and Republicans will be a necessity, especially in the Senate.
a woman talking to a soldier in a tank from an old war photo
In “Confronting Totalitarian Minds,” timely lessons from the past
The forthcoming book by VCU professor Aspen Brinton is inspired by Czech philosopher Jan Patočka and examines the use of dissidence to challenge leaders to be more democratic.
oscar wilde
VCU English professor edits new collection of nine classic Oscar Wilde short stories
The collection is the “perfect distillation of one of the Victorian era’s most remarkable writers.”
a doctor holding up a vaccine
Study finds more than half of respondents are unlikely to get COVID-19 vaccine under emergency use authorization
The survey of 788 U.S. adults also found older people and Black people were less likely to be willing to get the vaccine.
bernard means
‘Virginia’s First Peoples’: VCU professor co-edits book about Virginia’s pre-European contact past
The book provides a scholarly but accessible overview of American Indian archaeology before Europeans colonized Virginia.
a teacher writing on a white board
Teaching about social justice can lead to tense moments. A new book helps educators navigate them.
The book, co-edited by a VCU professor, aims to help teachers better handle challenging topics. “We are going to make mistakes” in being effective allies, Kim Case said. “But we must take the leap.”
cristina stanciu
Stanciu appointed as the new director of the Humanities Research Center
Cristina Stanciu, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of English, where she has been a faculty member since 2011.
gravestone for e.j. reynolds born october 31, 1877 and died september 26, 1913
‘Death and Rebirth’: VCU history professor’s new book reveals the history of Richmond’s cemeteries
“Cemeteries participate in the rawest political drives… . They teach us about power and resistance as much as about spiritual beliefs.”
Clarence Thomas sitting in a v.c.u. classroom
Broadcast journalism professor receives CHS Trailblazer in Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Award
Clarence Thomas, Ph.D. is an associate professor of mass communications in the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture.
bernard means at a lectern teaching during the covid pandemic
For faculty, a semester of challenge, creativity and resilience
A fall term defined by COVID-19 has been anything but normal, as professors work to modify curriculum and meet the needs of students — and double check the WiFi connection.
fantasy lozada
PrEDI receives the CHS Collaborative Work in Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Award
PrEDI is the Committee for the Promotion of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in the Department of Psychology.
sound waves being measured on a computer screen
‘Exploring the sonic world that's around us’: A look at VCU faculty working in the world of sound
From art installations to podcasts to music, these profiles in audio provide a unique glimpse into a diverse field of study.