Take advantage of the different kinds of academic experiences the Department offers by becoming an active member of our intellectual community.
- Get to know the faculty. Our faculty is accessible to undergraduates, but you must seek them out. Doing so is worth the effort. Professors often serve as unofficial advisors and provide letters of recommendation for jobs or graduate programs.
- One of the best ways to get to know the faculty is get involved in one of our research labs early in your undergraduate career.
- Work with a faculty member as a research assistant, or take an independent study course.
- Get to know some of the graduate students, many of whom you will meet as Teaching Assistants or Teaching Fellows or by taking advanced courses. Graduate students can give you advice about applying to graduate school.
- Undergraduates are welcome at our colloquia; see the calendar on our home page.
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.
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.
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.
Links and Instructions
Use this link to access Sona Systems for the A&S Psychology Department:
Creating an Account: Click "Request Account" to set up your account. You must enter your BC email address as your login.
Participant Tutorial: Tutorial video on YouTube
Research Participation Requirement
Students in the following courses are required to participate in psychology research.
- PSYC1110 Introduction to Psychology as a Natural Science
- PSYC1111 Introduction to Psychology as a Social Science
- PSYC1120 Introduction to Behavioral Statistics and Research I
- PSYC1121 Introduction to Behavioral Statistics and Research II
Students in one or more of these courses need to earn 3 research credits. The deadline to fulfill this requirement is the last day of classes, Thursday, May 3, 2018.
Failure to complete the research participation requirement will result in an Incomplete (I) grade for the courses that require research participation. If the requirement is later completed, a new course grade will be submitted. If the research credits are submitted after the due date but before grades are due, the course instructor decides whether or not to submit an Incomplete.
Students fulfill the research participation requirement in one of two ways:
1. PARTICIPATE IN RESEARCH
One-half research credit is given for each half-hour (or any part thereof) of participation in research. Research participation and sign-ups are managed through Sona Systems.
Following the student’s participation in a study, the researcher will grant research credit using Sona. A receipt will be given to the student as proof of participation in the study. It is the student’s responsibility to keep the receipt as a record of participation and to verify that he or she has received credit in Sona.
Students cannot participate in the same study more than once.
Cancelling Appointments: If you need to cancel an appointment, please give the researcher 24 hours’ notice. Researchers may also need to reschedule an appointment; if you are given 24 hours’ notice of a canceled or rescheduled appointment, you will not receive credit.
Missed Appointments: A student who makes an appointment is committing to show up at the designated time and place. Missing or arriving more than 15 minutes late for an appointment will result in the student being given a “no-show.” Students who accumulate multiple no-shows may be asked to write article critiques (see below) beyond the normal research credit requirement. A student who gives 24 hours’ notice of cancellation will not receive a no-show.
If a researcher does not arrive within 15 minutes of the appointment time and did not cancel the appointment 24 hours ahead of time, the student receives research credit for the study. In this situation, the student must provide the following information to the Psychology Office: the study name, the researcher’s name, and the date and time of the scheduled appointment. The office will confirm that the researcher missed the appointment.
Withdrawing from a Study: If a student decides to end participation during the course of a study because he or she feels uncomfortable with the nature of the study, the student will not be penalized.
2. WRITE ARTICLE CRITIQUES
Students may satisfy all or part of the research requirement by writing critiques of the articles linked below. Each critique is worth one research credit. You need a Sona Systems account (see above) even if all of your credits come from article critiques.
A critique should be no less than 500 words in length. Please include:
- Full name
- Professor’s name
- Course number
- Title of the article
We ask that you critique these articles by answering the questions below. A student who submits a critique that is incomplete or does not adequately address the questions may be asked to revise it or to evaluate another article.
- What question or questions were the researchers trying to answer in this study?
- Is the study best described as an experiment, a correlational study, or a descriptive study? Explain your answer.
- Briefly, and in your own words, what was done and what was found in this study? (Answer in general terms; elaborate details are not needed.)
- What did the researchers conclude from their findings?
- Do you think the study was well designed for answering question(s)? Why or why not?
- Do you have any other comments or questions regarding this article?
You can submit article critiques to the Psychology main office in McGuinn 300 or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article Critique Downloads
The Language Learning Lab, led by Prof. Joshua Hartshorne, is seeking undergraduate research assistants for Fall 2017. The lab employs interdisciplinary methods to study various aspects of language learning. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of our research, we are seeking undergraduates with a wide range of interests and experience.
1. We are looking for one to two undergraduates who have experience working with children to help run studies at local museums with children of varying ages. Students who desire hands-on experience working with kids and running studies are encouraged to apply here. This position requires large blocks of availability and willingness to work on the weekends.
2. We are looking for one to two undergraduates with experience in mathematics and statistics, who would join our statistics team. Our statistics team is currently working on the exciting problem of analyzing very large datasets to determine lifetime development of language outcomes. Creative problem solvers who have experience with computer programming are encouraged to apply here.
3. We are looking for several research assistants with an interest in gaining general and varied experience within a psychology lab. Responsibilities include scientific outreach, participant recruitment, instrument design, study design, and participating in our online experiments. Organized and curious undergrads with an interest in psychology should apply here.
Please contact email@example.com with any questions.
Dr. Sara Cordes’ Infant and Child Cognition Lab at Boston College is currently seeking several outstanding volunteer research assistants for Summer 2017. Research in the lab focuses on understanding how infants, children, and adults keep track of number and other quantities. We are interested in the development of number concepts and how early abilities translate to later verbal counting and mathematics achievement.
RAs may work with infants, children, and/or adults on a broad range of projects, depending on interest and skill set. RAs must be motivated, mature, and have an excellent academic record. Psychology majors are preferred. Position requires some weekend and evening availability. Must be detail-oriented and have excellent interpersonal skills.
The Morality Lab is looking for volunteers who are interested in gaining research experience in psychology and neuroscience.
Research questions include but are not limited to:
- How do people reason about the minds of others? Do the way people reason about the minds of others differ across social contexts (e.g., whether the situation is a cooperative or competitive one)?
- How does perspective-taking influence different social behaviors? Examples of social behaviors include acting fairly, cooperating with strangers and friends, and punishing others for their misdeeds.
- How do people determine whether a person is a friend or foe based on perceptual cues and behavioral patterns?
Responsibilities may include helping design experiments, recruiting participants, collecting data, processing and analyzing data, reading papers, and attending lab meetings. Preference will be given to freshmen, sophomores, and juniors interested in being a part of the lab for more than a semester. Please visit the lab website for details on applying for a volunteer position in the lab.
The Cooperation Lab at Boston College, directed by Dr. Katherine McAuliffe, is seeking motivated, reliable and enthusiastic research assistants who would like to gain experience with research in social cognitive development. Research in the lab focuses on the development of cooperative abilities in children, with a particular focus on how children develop a sense of fairness. Information about the lab can be found on the lab website bccooperationlab.com.
Anyone is welcome to apply. To do so, please complete the application and send a PDF of your Resume/CV and unofficial transcript to Gorana Gonzalez at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Research Assistant Application [TERM]”. Preference will be given to freshman, sophomores and juniors who are able to commit to at least one year and 6-10 hours per semester.