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Research Opportunities

Research Opportunities

All psychology majors take a three-course core sequence that introduces them to the way psychological knowledge advances through research. In addition, students are required to take a variety of courses that introduce students to the research in disparate domains, such as adult developmental, social, abnormal, cognitive, and physiological psychology.

Students who are interested in pursuing psychological research in any of these areas may take any of the options listed below. All of these opportunities require that the student find a faculty member willing to advise them.  The faculty page lists the faculty members and their respective research interests.

Psychology Thesis

The Thesis consists of an independent research project spanning two semesters and is typically completed during the senior year. The student will choose a faculty member who ultimately will serve as the research advisor for the student’s Thesis. We strongly recommend that students interested in completing a thesis begin exploring faculty research interests and reading their research to learn more about the kind of work in which they engage. Faculty research interests are listed on the faculty section of psychology department webpage.

Students are encouraged to try working in a Psychology faculty member(s) research lab(s), whether on a voluntary basis or for independent study credit, during their sophomore and junior years. If a student has difficulty identifying a faculty advisor, please reach out to the Thesis Program Director (Elizabeth Richardson; erichardson@umassd.edu) for assistance.

Independent Studies

PSY 495 Independent Studies is a one semester course of variable credits (1-3). Students typically work on a faculty member's ongoing research, although it is possible to do a complete study if that study is small. The work typically involve collecting data and analyzing data. Students write a paper describing the study and its results.  The number of credits students receive for Independent Studies is dependent upon the time commitment that the student is willing to commit.

Research Assistantship

PSY 399 Research Assistantship is a one semester course of variable credits (1-3). Students work with a faculty member to assist them with their on-going research. Students write a paper describing their experience. The number of credits students receive for Research Assistantships is dependent upon the time commitment that the student is willing to commit.

Volunteering

Students who want to experience the research endeavor first hand, but without making the commitment to do an Independent Study, Research Assistantship, or Psychology Thesis, may wish to volunteer to assist a faculty member with research.

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