For Students

Students and Bass Connections

Bass Connections team membersBass Connections engages students in collaborative research on complex societal challenges, working alongside faculty from across Duke. Undergraduate and graduate students can choose from among many:

Participants receive sustained mentoring and gain experience working as a team to make a real-world impact.

Most teams collaborate with partners outside Duke, including companies, nonprofits, universities, school systems, hospitals and government agencies.

Many team members take their research further through grants and other opportunities within Duke and beyond.

For Undergraduates

Bass Connections students in MadagascarUndergraduates focus on contemporary societal challenges while obtaining depth in a major. For undergraduate students in particular, benefits of participating in Bass Connections include:

  • Building research skills in a small group setting
  • Developing a deep understanding of an issue of interest to you
  • Engaging with communities and organizations outside of Duke
  • Exploring career paths and gaining valuable experience for your resume
  • Applying coursework to a complex societal challenge
  • Enhancing honors thesis research
  • Co-authoring publications

Duke’s Directors of Academic Engagement are available to help undergraduates develop their own educational pathways of interdisciplinary experiences.

Bass Connections has been, by far, the best learning experience I have had in my life. The multidisciplinary team approach helped me learn in new ways. I have formed close friendships with everyone on my team. This experience has led me to find a topic of study I am truly passionate about.

For Graduate and Professional Students

Bass Connections team members and Sustainable Duke field visitGraduate and professional students learn connections between traditional disciplines and the professions, receiving an interdisciplinary education involving collaborative work on concrete problems and projects. Working in teams, students collaborate with faculty, postdocs and outside experts on cutting-edge research that spans subjects and borders.

Benefits of participating in Bass Connections include:

  • Enhancing dissertation or master’s thesis research
  • Co-authoring publications
  • Deepening relationships with key faculty
  • Gaining project management experience and opportunities for funding
  • Accessing professional development resources
  • Honing career-enhancing skills to stand out on the job market
  • Networking with colleagues in diverse fields
  • Getting experience mentoring others, particularly undergraduates 

Graduate and professional school students play a crucial role in Bass Connections—often as project managers on year-long project teams, as mentors for Data+ and Story+ summer teams and as research or teaching assistants for faculty who design and deliver Bass Connections courses.

As a graduate student, I got invaluable experience mentoring undergraduates and leading them as a team. I also established new interdisciplinary collaborations that allowed me to learn new skills and new topic areas, which was important for my professional development.

More Information

To learn more about Bass Connections, please explore our project teams, courses and summer programs. Read what other students say about their Bass Connections experience. Still have questions? Review our Student FAQ and feel free to contact us.