2,893 Inspirational Passion Project Ideas

Turn inspirations into your passion project.

This collection of project ideas, shared by Polygence mentors, is meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

People working on laptops
Music

Conference Paper/Presentation

As an undergraduate, I produced 2 academic papers a year which were presented at international conferences and published in academic journals. Conducting an independent research project will allow you to explore a personal area of interest in more depth and demonstrate your dedication to pursuing knowledge for the sake of learning. Together we will explore your interests, develop the scope of the project (qualitative or quantitative), and learn how to navigate the landscape of current literature to produce a focused, applicable, and professional article of original research.

Music, Philosophy, Psychology, Creative Writing, Social Science

Cayla
Cayla

Machine Learning for Autonomous Vehicles

There are many, many tasks involved in the realm of self-driving vehicles, which involve analysis of activities happening inside the vehicle, outside the vehicle, and even from a bird's-eye-view. Some projects you may want to explore: Driver activity analysis using inside-facing cameras, exploring a driver's eyes, attention, posture, hand activity, etc. Detecting pedestrians and other vehicles in the outside scene using machine learning. Path planning and trajectory prediction for intelligent agents. If your idea involves an intelligent vehicle, I'd love to connect and help guide your research!

Music, AI/ML

Ross
Ross

Parent Evaluation of the UCLA TIES Infant Mental Health (IMH) program.

Develop an online parent survey as well as conduct qualitative interviews with referred foster/adoptive parents. The objective would be to obtain input from foster and adoptive parents participating in IMH to analyze the effectiveness of this program, perceptions of relationships with TIES, and if perceptions of relationships differed between families and UCLA TIES clinicians. The survey should include demographic and family history data that can be used to identify children that have been placed in care with higher risk factors (e.g., prior abusive history, number of placements, age of placement) who are statistically likely to experience emotional, social, and academic dysregulation in life. This evacuation is intended to be used to improve the quality of services received by adoptive/foster parents so that children placed in resource care are wholly supported.

Psychiatry, Music, Neuroscience, Social, Psychology, Social Science, Nutrition, Cognitive, Public Health, Organizational Leadership

Annalea
Annalea

Biographical Expression

Learning how to creatively express the stories of others, as well as your own personal stories. May include overlap between biography, autobiography, and creative arts (e.g. biography and rap infused together). Emphasis on individual style and voice.

Music, Biology, Creative Writing

Julian
Julian

Lit review: what are the common electrophysiological features of the psychedelic experience?

Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy is gaining a lot of popularity recently. Based on the existing electrophysiology literature, are there any common features between the states induced by different psychedelic compounds? What are medicinal uses for them potentially? This project could be an op-ed piece, a literature review paper, or blog post.

Music, Biology, Neuroscience, Languages

Sierra
Sierra

1 - 3 Album Songs

Have a concept for an album in mind but can't seem to put notes to paper? Or, do you have a couple songs but want to find a way to tie them together into a larger concept? These are all great and exciting places to be in, and I would love to help you manifest your visions!

Music, Creative Writing, Illustration

Katherine
Katherine

Write a Short

In this project, I will guide you through the process of writing a short story in screenplay format. Your voice matters, and I want to help you share your story!

Music

Shannon
Shannon

Sounding Out Data

Have you ever wondered what a set of data sounds like? For this project, blend the tools of data scraping and music production using free software to understand how hearing data can change the way we see it. This project is excellent as either a sound art piece or a publishable research paper.

Music, Arts

Hannah
Hannah

Learning Various Skills Related to Building a Startup

I can assist with: finding a product market fit, primary market research, developing a novel business plan, the financial aspects of running a startup, storytelling, creating a resume and LinkedIn for optimal branding, idea generation and brainstorming, customer discovery and interviews, lead generation and growth strategies, basic UX/UI, creating a mockup app via various online softwares, how to find seed funding, sourcing and applying to startup competitions, pitch deck generation etc

Biotech, Music, Business

Teryn
Teryn

Music and Poetry: Song, Opera, Lyrics, Fiction, and More

In my dissertation, I took a personally and politically reflective look at the relationship between poetry and music in the songs (or Lieder, in German) of Schubert, Schumann, Beethoven, Brahms, and so forth. We can do something similar for anything that interests you at this interface between what writers and composers do, and how performers and audiences mediate these inter-artistic conjunctions. I'm most comfortable with music in the tradition of European classical music, but we can explore any genre that interests you.

Music, Philosophy, Linguistics

R.J
R.J

Liberatory Pedagogy: Radical and Transformative Ways to Teach and Study the Humanities

One of my greatest joys is exploring how studying the humanities in collaboration with others can build community and address the joys and sorrows of human experience, in ways often avoided in traditional academic settings. Looking to scholars such as bell hooks for inspiration and guidance, we can talk about ways to make the humanities more serviceable to, well, humanity, than they sometimes are on university campuses.

Music, Philosophy, Linguistics

R.J
R.J

Queer Connections in the Novels of Thomas Mann

The renowned German author Thomas Mann had a lifelong problem--he wanted to be "the most respectable German" of his generation, but he was also mainly attracted to men. Being gay might not have been a problem (until Hitler and Nazism made it a problem, that is), but the Most Respectable German had to have a wife and a family--so Mann married and had six children (half of whom also turned out gay or bisexual). Mann wrote very explicitly about his conflicted love for men in his diaries, which he kept hidden during his lifetime but ordered to be published twenty years after his death (they are all now publicly available as a result). In nearly all of his fiction, Mann planted hidden expressions of his dangerous secret. Critics have discovered many of these, but I believe that some of the most cleverly concealed confessions in Mann's novels evade general notice to this day. I'm working on an article drawing attention to some of these moving, haunting, and sometimes troubling testaments to queer love in Mann's novels, especially his two most famous works, The Magic Mountain and Doctor Faustus. I'll need help looking through the critical literature on Thomas Mann to see if there might be discussions of these little secrets that I haven't found yet (I want to give credit where it's due!). If you can read German, so much the better--if not, that's okay, too. I'll also need help looking for arguments in queer theory, literary theory, or other fields of philosophy that might help support or deepen the claims I want to make in this article. I might even ask for help looking for clues in other works by Thomas Mann himself, including his short stories, most of which I still haven't read.

Music, Philosophy, Linguistics

R.J
R.J

Community engagement platform

Creating a community engagement platform for high school students. This project will involve designing and developing a website that serves as a hub for students to connect, share resources, collaborate on projects, and engage in various activities.

Music, Arts, Business

Maxwell
Maxwell

Experimental, Mixed Methods, or Qualitative Research

Do you have a question you want to explore scientifically? We can partner to plan and execute a research project, that you can present at a conference or submit for publication. Expand your understanding of research design and methods. Learn to clean, analyze, and synthesize data results into scientific reports. I have rigorous experience managing survey and database designs, report writing, and the following methodologies: quantitative methods (ie key statistical concepts and application in statistical software), qualitative research methods (ie design, data collection, analysis and qualitative meta-synthesis), and systematic reviews, quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods, (ie synthesizing the best available evidence).

Music, Philosophy, Psychology, Creative Writing, Social Science

Cayla
Cayla

Henrietta Lacks: The ethics, history, and impact of HeLa cells

Have you ever heard of HeLa cells? They are a very commonly used cell line in science labs all over the world. Huge discoveries have been made that likely would not have been possible without these "immortal" cells. But they have a dark past...the original HeLa cells were taken from a black woman named Henrietta Lacks (HeLa) in 1951 without her knowledge, consent, or compensation. In this project, we will explore the biology and history of HeLa cells and read "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot. You can then create a podcast (or other form of media) to educate scientists about the woman behind HeLa cells, the ethical dilemma around their existence, and the impact Henrietta's cells have had on the field. (Photo credit: Lacks family)

Music, Neuroscience, Ethics

Shaylyn
Shaylyn

Music composition

Are you interested in writing music? This project would be focused on notated music (so, writing a score that a performer would read and interpret) or a DAW (e.g. GarageBand, Ableton etc) Previous music experience is a good idea though not strictly required.

Music, Biology, Psychology

Matthew
Matthew

Code the Enigma Cipher in Python!

Want a challenging, yet fun introduction to coding in Python? In this project, you will learn how to code (and break) the famous Enigma cipher from World War II. You will learn the fundamentals of cryptography, encryption, and decryption and even learn a little bit of the history of spies and secret codes!

Music, Computer Science, Math

Nolan
Nolan

Analyzing the Cultural and Political Implications of COVID-19 in the Performing Arts

Indefinite change across international industries is imminent at this time of systemic and structural development, after the world was (and continues to be) rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the notable sectors that is ripe for opportunity in this time of change is the non-profit performing arts sector. Questioning what the origins of where non-profit work came from and evolved to become is one of the initial questions a student can begin to uncover. We will move into the social outward actions that performing arts organizations have taken to maintain traditions while also questioning those very traditions in the context of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Students may emerge from this research and analysis with social/programatic pitches to performing arts organizations on how they may best enact development in this time. Whether this pitch is through a paper, presentation, podcast, short film/video series, etc., they will hopefully have added their thoughtful opinion into the modern conversation of an industry that remains a foundational representative of entertainment as we know it.

Music, Economics

Caroline
Caroline

Research-creation

Research-creation: Do you like to compose music based on a concept, book, movie, or a subject of your interest? I can help you come up with a research plan, map out a structure for your music, compose, record, mix, and master it. Along the way, I can help you come up with a memorable melody, interesting harmony, and compelling instrumental arrangement. If you are interested in electroacoustic music, we will work on finding, recording, processing, manipulating, and layering sounds to create an interesting sonic world. Whatever approach you choose, we will use notation software, digital audio workstation, sound libraries, acoustic and virtual instruments to realize your music. Image from Pexels

Music

Parisa
Parisa

Writing a Research Project Grant

I will coach you through the methodology of developing and writing a research grant for funding.

Biotech, Music, Business

Teryn
Teryn