Why should I consider getting involved in research?
It is a valuable learning experience, it helps for getting in to graduate school, it helps for getting letters of recommendation and references for jobs, you get to know faculty and graduate students, you can be more involved in the department, and it is fun! Faculty members are committed to furthering knowledge in their areas and to including undergraduates as part of their research team.
How do I choose a laboratory?
Read the faculty profiles and choose 2 or 3 whose research areas interest you. Also, if you particularly enjoy one of your psychology classes, you might talk with your professor about working with him or her. It is best to have a few possibilities in mind, because not every laboratory has positions every semester. Be sure to ask about expectations for your work, the types of activities that you will be involved with, what supervision you will have, and your schedule.
How can I get involved?
There are several different ways for undergraduate students to become actively involved in conducting scientific psychological research. Independent study or honors thesis courses provide individualized training experiences with a supervising faculty member, in which students learn research skills and content in a particular area of psychology. The second method is through competitive scholarship programs that provide financial support for students who want to gain valuable research training. The third method is to be hired to work on projects funded by a research grant in a faculty member’s laboratory. However, access to such positions is usually achieved through successful performance in prior work in that laboratory through independent study or volunteer assistance, the final method of volunteering to assist with research.
Independent Research (PSYC 4352)
This is a way to conduct research with a psychology faculty member for course credit. Psychology 4352 counts as an upper division psychology elective and may be taken twice for credit. Remember that independent research is an opportunity for strong students to gain valuable experience. It is not an easy course designed to raise your GPA!
Honors Thesis (PSYC 4353)
This is a way of conducting a project from beginning to end with close faculty supervision. To get an idea of the range of topics that students have addressed, see the list of previous psychology honors thesis titles . This course is usually taken across two semesters, with the written senior honors thesis being completed in the second semester. This course and the associated thesis are a requirement for Departmental honors. Download Psychology Honors Requirements
Scholarship/Research Experience Programs
There are some programs on campus that provide support for students who conduct their own research. To find out more about these programs, speak with a faculty member.
Paid Research Assistant Positions
Several professors in the psychology department have research grants and hire undergraduate students to carry out parts of the projects.
Paid Summer Research Internships
There are a number of competitive paid research internship programs at universities across the country. These programs offer research training and other professional development activities that prepare students to apply for graduate school in psychology. Applications for most programs are due early in the spring semester. See the Internship Opportunities page for extensive lists of programs and information on how to apply.
Volunteer Research Positions
Students often assist with research on a voluntary basis. This may be a way to get involved in a project in the middle of a semester or to continue with a project started under independent research.
David Enríquez and Kim Carrillo present at SACNAS 2008
Hugo Tejeda, Dr. O'Dell, Oscar Torres, and Luis Natividad at Society for Neuroscience Conference 2005
Roberto Morales explains his poster to Dr. Castañeda at SACNAS 2008
Aaron Baule presents a poster at SACNAS 2008
Carol Fonseca presents her poster at Llano Estacado Conference 2005
Nuvia Corral gives a talk at Llano Estacado Conference 2003
Julio Rosado presents his poster at Llano Estacado Conference 2005
Marisela Gutiérrez and Diana Manzanera with their poster at the Llano Estacado Conference 2006
Jorge Márquez receives an award for his poster at the Llano Estacado Conference 2005