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Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

Independent Research

Independent Courses

The Psychology Department offers two courses in independent research. Both require permission of a faculty member and additional registration paperwork (see below).

PSYC2205 Undergraduate Research

Course Description: An opportunity to participate in research projects in the laboratory of a faculty member. Students are encouraged to obtain permission of the instructor before they register for their other courses, so that they may keep open the time slot for the laboratory meetings associated with the laboratory.

PSYC2206 Independent Study

Course Description: This course offers students the opportunity to study a topic of personal interest, working independently under the supervision of a faculty member within the Psychology Department. A student may obtain the consent of a faculty member to serve as his or her instructor by contacting the faculty member directly. The instructor, working with the student, decides on the nature of readings and related activities involved as well as the precise form of scholarly work required.


The University requires a written, signed syllabus/contract between the instructor and student for all non-scheduled undergraduate courses.

Syllabus/Contract for Individually Arranged and Non-scheduled Courses

The form should be completed and signed by both instructor and student, and then the student should bring it to the Director of Undergraduate Studies for approval. Because such courses require the instructor’s permission, students must register for these courses in the Psychology office. The signed syllabus/contract serves as permission of the instructor for the purpose of registering the student. The Psychology office will keep these signed contracts on file.

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No Teaching Assistants

One of the above courses cannot be used as compensation for teaching assistant duties.

Student Employees

If you are enrolled in Undergraduate Research, Independent Study, or a thesis course, you cannot be paid for the same work. Thus, you would not be hired as an employee for the same semester that you are enrolled in the course.

Put another way, if you are an employee in a lab and also enrolled in Undergraduate Research, Independent Study, or a thesis course in that lab, the work you are doing for pay must be entirely separate and unrelated to the work you are doing for credit.

If the two kinds of work are indeed separate, your advisor needs to email us to explain the differences between the work.