I am running a dual boot system. In parallels on my mac, I am able to view my bootcamp partition live in a virtual machine. Is there a tool to do this in ubuntu?
It is indeed possible in VirtualBox. Check out Section 9.9.1 from the VirtualBox manual, "Using a raw host hard disk from a guest." You'll want to look at the subsection 22.214.171.124, "Access to individual physical hard disk partitions."