Research Opportunities

Research Opportunities in the Psychology Department

Students interested in becoming involved in research should express that interest in two ways:

  1. They should complete this form, which asks several questions about areas of interest, experiences, courses, etc.
  2. They should contact faculty members whose research is of interest to discuss possibilities.

There are several ways for students to become involved in research with psychology professors. These include: Senior thesis, Extracurricular research/volunteer, Independent Study, Work Study, and Summer Research Assistant opportunities.

Winter Study Research in Psychology

To learn about how psychologists do research consider taking Psyc 22-Introduction to Research in Psychology. This Winter Study course provides a research opportunity for students who want to understand how psychogists ask compelling questions and find answers about behavior in the laboratory. Several faculty members, whose subfields include behavioral neuroscience, cognitive psychology , social psychology, clinical psychology, developmental psychology, and the psychology of educatiion, will have student projects available. Since projects involve faculty research, interested students must consult with members of the Psychology Department before electing this course.

Extracurricular research/volunteer

If you would like to check out psychology research on a limited basis, you can volunteer to help out on ongoing research, perhaps helping to collect data, prepare materials, assist a thesis student, etc. If you are interested in volunteering, make sure to complete the form and speak with a faculty member.

Work-study (paid) research assistant

Sometimes professors hire research assistants to help with research tasks such as data collection, data coding, entry, library research, etc. This is usually a 5-hour/week position. If you would like to work as an RA, make sure to complete the form and speak with a faculty member.

Independent Study

Psych 397 (fall) or 398 (spring), Independent Study, allows you to get involved in research more intensively but is not as involved as a thesis. Students work in close collaboration with a professor to review the literature, devise hypotheses, design, carry out, and write up a research project. This can be a good alternative to a thesis, if you are interested in the research but not the major writing and year-long commitment that a thesis involves.

There is a second Independent Study option, studying a topic that is not offered in the regular Psych curriculum, via library research, reading, writing, and discussion with the professor. Both types of Independent Study courses require scheduled weekly meetings with the professor and a significant amount of time and effort, equivalent to a regular 300-level course.

Important: Arrangements for Independent Study must be made with the professor before the semester starts and requires writing a proposal to accompany the green independent study form that is available from the Registrar’s Office. You and your professor must submit the form/proposal to the Psychology Department Chair so that it can be reviewed and approved before the end the drop-add period, thus, if it is not approved you still have time to find another course. You can take an Independent Study for one, but not more, of your 300-level psych courses.

Summer Research Assistantships

A limited number of summer research assistantships are available in both Psychology and Neuroscience, through the Summer Science Research program. These are paid positions for up to 10 weeks, doing research of various kinds. Depending on the nature of their work and their plans for the summer, professors may take anywhere from no summer students to several, and often but not always, give preference to thesis students. If you are interested, contact the professor(s) with whom you may be interested in working during Winter Study or as early in February as possible.