Skip to Content | Skip to Search | Skip to Navigation

Program in Applied Research and Inquiry

Paul Helmke giving a lecture.


This rigorous program, available to any student at IU Bloomington, is aimed at strong students who:

  • wish to explore how some of the most important thinkers from economics, law, political science, environmental science, and sociology have approached crucial issues of governance and public affairs; and
  • want to research an important contemporary policy issue.

Students in this program will take four courses, two in their sophomore year and one each in their junior and senior years. The sophomore-year courses will provide students with a foundational understanding of the role and purpose of government, the rights and responsibilities of citizens, and the ways scholars and practitioners have suggested creating a more just and inclusive society. Sample syllabi for these two courses, one of which focuses on United States policy and one of which has a global orientation, can be viewed here and here. The junior- and senior-year courses will teach students how to do research on contemporary policy issues. Students will learn how to formulate a research question, do a literature review, collect and organize data, and write a prospectus. In their senior year, students will work with faculty members and experts from outside the university on their theses.

Additional Features and Benefits

  • Participating students will take small classes from exceptional faculty.
  • Participants will develop a strong community with like-minded students.
  • SPEA will work with students to identify high-caliber internships and opportunities for travel and study-abroad. These opportunities will contribute to the development of students’ research projects and post-graduation opportunities.
  • Students will reach out to individuals and public, nonprofit, and/or for-profit organizations that are working on similar issues, forming a vital network for developing a meaningful career path.
  • Students will be invited to meet with a wide range of speakers and take part in professional development opportunities, including a public forum at which students will make presentations to a panel of experts.

How to Apply

Interested students should contact Professor John Karaagac, Director of the Program in Applied Research and Inquiry, at Professor Karaagac can answer any questions and provide application materials. Students who embark on this program must commit to taking the four required courses.

All courses in the Program in Applied Research and Inquiry count toward the General Honors Notation from the Hutton Honors College. The cohort that begins in Academic Year 14-15 has already been selected.


John Karaagac

Professor John Karaagac
(812) 855-5971