Directed Research

Directed Research (PSY 1903) is an opportunity for students to get involved with research under the supervision of a faculty member of the psychology department. This experience is particularly valuable for students interested in pursuing honors in psychology and/or graduate study in psychology. When considering directed research, read this guide so that you understand the prerequisites and requirements. Then, follow these steps to securing a PSY 1903 position:

  1. Review the current Directed Research Opportunities and/or the psychology faculty research information on our website. Almost every opportunity is listed under the Opportunities page, however some psychology faculty members who don't have a formal listing will accept students on their projects. Don't be discouraged if you contact someone and don't hear back, or hear that their lab is full or that they aren't accepting students right now.
  2. Look for research that would help you explore or expand on your own areas of interest. Also, meet with your advisor to discuss possible lab opportunities that most closely align with your future goals.
  3. Make sure to thoroughly read the research description and requirements when narrowing down possible research interests. Many faculty members also have links to their websites offering more information about what they are currently researching.
  4. Once you have chosen a research project, contact the person listed, providing some basic information about yourself including a few key points about why their project is of interest to you or why you are inquiring about a possible opportunity in their lab. Do not forget to include which semester you are contacting them in regard to a potential opportunity. We have provided tips for composing formal e-mails.
  5. Labs can work differently in their review process. Some faculty members invite students for interviews, while others may just contact you to talk briefly about your interests and potential fit for a PSY 1903 Directed Research opportunity. This is your chance to make a good impression and ask any questions you have about the lab and/or research.
  6.  If you and the faculty researcher are interested in proceeding with enrollment in the PSY 1903 Directed Research program for a given term, you will need to complete a Learning Agreement. Be sure to fill out the entire form, make two copies (the Advising Office retains the original) and follow the directions in the first paragraph of the Learning Agreement. One copy of the learning agreement will be for your records, one for the site supervisor and the original will remain in the Psychology Advising Office. The permission code for self-enrollment will then be provided.

It is important to note there are a number of funding opportunities for students who want to pursue research projects, whether as part of an honors project, BPhil, or for an independent project.