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Learning how to conduct empirical research is central to the education of the psychology major. By reading about research, designing studies, serving as the experimenter for volunteer participants, analyzing research data and writing about research results, psychology students develop systematic, rigorous ways of thinking about people. Students also practice valuable communication skills by presenting research conducted in Research Methods, Advanced Lab, and/or Independent Research at Psychology Day. After conducting research while at Muhlenberg, students often continue such work in graduate programs, and in business settings that increasingly depend on their employees to understand people and to know how to learn about them in systematic ways. Scroll through the information below to learn more about the various ways to get involved with a research project in psychology. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Chair of the Psychology Department.
Research in Psychology Courses
Students are introduced to research immediately in Introductory Psychology. This foundation continues through other courses in the major including Psychological Statistics, Research Methods, Sensation & Perception and others. Several upper-level courses require students to develop and implement their own research projects (e.g., Cognitive Processes). Most notably, the 400-level Advanced Research courses focus on conducting research in a particular area of psychology: conditioning, perception and cognition, social and personality psychology, and clinical psychology. In these courses students develop their own unique hypothesis and design a research study to test it. They then follow-through by running, analyzing and presenting the study. All students in the major are encouraged to present their research at appropriate venues (e.g., Psychology Day). Click here for more information on the courses offered by the Psychology Department.
Research Apprenticeships with a Faculty Member
A particular strength of the department is the faculty, whose members are not only excellent teachers, but also productive researchers. Many students (freshmen through seniors) work with faculty members as research assistants and collaborators. Students may volunteer their time in a research lab, they may enroll in the Psychology Apprenticeship course (PSY270; .5 course unit), or they may receive Independent Research credit. As a result of these collaborations, students often co-author papers that are presented at professional research conferences, and many Muhlenberg psychology students give presentations at the annual Undergraduate Psychology Conference of the Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges. After an apprenticeship, students also often develop their own research ideas and go on to Independent Research or Senior Theses. For information about the research being conducted by each faculty member in the department, visit the Faculty Information pages. If you are interested in the research described, contact that faculty member and see if he or she has room in their research lab for an enthusiastic, responsible new member!
Independent Student Research
We encourage juniors and seniors in particular to consider conducting an Independent Research (PSY970). Students work closely one-on-one with a faculty mentor in developing and implementing their ideas. Many of these projects are presented at local or national conferences, and will sometimes result in publication in a psychology journal! Any type of research, but especially independent theses such as these are also very positive additions to a graduate school application. All students in the major are encouraged to present their research at appropriate venues (e.g., Psychology Day, LVAIC Undergraduate Psychology Conference, Eastern Psychological Association Conference). For more information about doing an independent research project, contact the faculty member who has an area of expertise related to your interests.
Psychology Senior Thesis Program & Graduation Honors
Qualified psychology majors may apply for a year-long thesis program featuring advanced, original research. The program is developmental in that it seeks to offer intellectually curious students an intensive year-long experience of mentorship and collaboration. To be part of this program, students must be willing to invest considerable time and intellectual energy. Students interested in more general research experience are encouraged to, instead, speak with a professor about coordinating an Independent Research project. To be eligible for the Thesis Program, a student must be a Junior or Senior psychology major during the thesis year, and must have a psychology grade point average of 3.30 or better. Normally, students will have also completed PSY 103, 104 and at least one semester of PSY 270, PSY 970, or equivalent experience prior to beginning their thesis. For more information visit: http://www.muhlenberg.edu/main/academics/psychology/thesis.html.
Rosenberg Research Award
The Rosenberg Research Award provides a psychology student who is engaged in developmental research (directly or indirectly) with a stipend to complete their project. In order to be eligible for the Award students must have a Psychology GPA of 3.5 or above and have completed both Psychological Statistics and Research Methods. The research idea must be independently proposed by the student or could be related to a faculty member's research, but may not be the faculty member's research. For more information visit: http://www.muhlenberg.edu/depts/psychology/Rosenberg.html.
Muhlenberg Travel Awards
The College can fund student travel to present scholarship, to exhibit artwork, or to perform. Funding in the past has gone toward local, regional, and national venues of presentation. The awards are competitive. Students wishing to apply can get more information at this web page: http://www.muhlenberg.edu/main/aboutus/dean-academic/travel.html.
Muhlenberg Summer Research Grants
These grants are intended for students who plan to engage in research or independent study that will lead to publication, presentation, exhibition, or performance. They are not normally granted for participation in formal coursework, formal study abroad programs, or internships. Each student who is awarded a grant will receive a stipend for eight weeks of research during the summer and one course-unit of research or independent study at no cost. Recipients who do research on campus will be provided with campus housing (based on double occupancy). Students may not have other obligations (work, course work, etc.) during the period of the grant. In addition, the student is expected to be enrolled at Muhlenberg the subsequent Fall. Students wishing to apply can get a form at this web page: http://www.muhlenberg.edu/main/aboutus/dean-academic/summer.html.
Muhlenberg Summer Faculty/Student Collaborations
In Summer Research Collaborations, a faculty member recruits a student as a research collaborator for the summer. That is, the student assists in a substantive way with the faculty member’s scholarship. A joint application must be submitted by the faculty member and the student. Each student who is awarded a grant will receive a stipend for either four or eight weeks of research during the summer. Optionally, the student may receive up to one course-unit of research or independent study at no cost. Recipients who do research on campus will be provided with campus housing (based on double occupancy). For more information, speak with a faculty member and visit: http://www.muhlenberg.edu/main/academics/Research/summercollaborations.html.
Check out the list of opportunities below for additional possibilities beyond Muhlenberg College. This list is not complete, it is just a starting point. Have an opportunity you want listed here? Contact Professor Wolfe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lehigh Valley Health Network Summer Scholars Program
The Research Scholar Program provides structured educational research opportunities for undergraduate students. The summer session spans 8 weeks, and the fall and spring sessions span 10 weeks each. Within each session, students apply for positions offered by health network departments. Each position involves a combination of research, as well as professional and clinical observations. The program offers educational experience for students and additionally provides valuable assistance to health network departments. For more information, visit: http://www.lvh.org/researchscholar.
Lehigh Valley Hospital - Hospital Elder Life Program, Allentown PA
This is a research driven initiative which may be of interest to Muhlenberg College students who want to work with older adults, but also an opportunity for other students to get more applied research experience. Please contact the Muhlenberg's Office of Community Service & Civic Engagement if you want more information.
APA Summer Science Fellowship for current juniors
An expenses-paid, intensive summer training program, the SSF places talented students in the psychology laboratories of some of the most outstanding researchers in the Washington, DC area. The lab experience is typically 6 weeks in length. The SSF program gives students an opportunity to explore the intellectual, personal, and social processes of scientific inquiry and to experience cutting-edge psychological research through hands-on laboratory activities. SSF offers promising students the opportunity to equip themselves with skills essential to succeed in graduate school, and gives students who plan to pursue advanced degrees in psychological science the opportunity to be mentored by nationally-known faculty. Students from underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to apply. Web site: http://www.apa.org/science/resources/ssf/index.aspx
APA Advanced Statistical Training in Psychology for current juniors (intending on grad school)
Participants will receive 9 days of hands-on training in statistics and research methodology - with an emphasis on the skills that researchers actually use when conducting research. ASTP will target students from traditionally underrepresented groups in psychology. The definition of underrepresented groups is extremely broad and includes students who are members of ethnic minority groups, but also first generation college students and students who have had to overcome other kinds of social, physical or economic barriers on the road to academic excellence. Students will be asked to pay a tuition fee and secure their own travel. APA will pay for room and board as well as for research materials and instructional fees. We recognize that not all students will be able to afford tuition or travel, and thus we will provide scholarships for those with financial need. Web site: http://www.apa.org/science/resources/astp/index.aspx
NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program ("REU") for current juniors
The National Science Foundation makes possible a number of opportunities for undergraduates to join research projects each summer. This allows students to experience first-hand how basic research is carried out, and to contribute consequentially. Note: As you search the web pages for more information, be aware that Grants in the field of psychology are listed under both Biological Sciences and Social, Behavioral, and Economic Research. Also note that you will have to contact each institution that is offering an REU experience individually to learn about their application requirements, deadlines and program activities. Web site: http://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/index.jsp
Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research Summer Internship Program
The ICPSR summer internship program provides undergraduate students with a unique and expansive research experience that introduces all aspects of social science research and includes supported exploration of a research query from start to finish, data management training, and focused methodological education in quantitative research. This prepares interns for capstone or senior thesis projects, graduate school, and/or research-based employment opportunities. The students, under the supervision of faculty mentors, develop a research question, perform a literature search and review, complete data analysis, and report findings in a poster; learn good data management processes and research practices with a research process mentor; and attend classes at the ICPSR Summer Program in Quantitative Methods. Additionally, regularly planned luncheon meetings focus on research projects within ICPSR/ISR, ethics in research and data management, and life in graduate school or in a research career obtainable with a Bachelor's degree in the social sciences. In the last week of the internship, the students display their work in a poster session for all faculty and staff. They leave ICPSR with a poster and abstract suitable for submission into a local/regional social science professional organization meeting of their choosing. Web site: http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsrweb/content/ICPSR/internship/
Summer Research Opportunities Program in
Psychology at the University of Utah for current undergrads and recent graduates
(intending on grad school)
SROP is aimed at enhancing the research careers of underrepresented students in psychology and to increase the number of underrepresented students who enter Ph.D. programs in psychology, helping to diversify the field and broaden the range of perspectives. Program objectives are to provide students with the preparation to become research scholars, stimulate serious consideration of Ph.D. study, prepare students for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), and pursue careers in university teaching and research. We accept 8 undergraduate and 4 pre-masters level graduate students into SROP. Travel, stipend, room & board, tuition and Kaplan GRE preparation expenses are paid for all students selected into the program. SROP is funded by the University of Utah and the National Institute of Mental Health. During the summer semester, students conduct original research with a faculty mentor, attend a weekly seminar on preparation for a research career in psychology and related fields, attend a GRE preparation course, and other social events. For more information: www.psych.utah.edu/srop.
American Psychological Association list of research & internship opportunities
Research assistant positions for recent graduates/current students
Visit www.higheredjobs.com and check with your Psychology Faculty to see if they have received information about open positions. Muhlenberg students should also check the Blackboard page for Psychology Majors. You can also check the web pages of universities for open positions. One final option is to write to researchers you are interested in working with. Be sure to attach a resume or vitae, and indicate in the e-mail whether you are looking for a paid or unpaid position.
Web GURU - Guide to Research for Undergraduates
More information and leads on funding, programs and research: http://www.webguru.neu.edu/undergraduate-research/getting-started/finding-ur-opportunity.
Funding & awards for members of Psi Chi
Psi Chi sponsors a wide variety of award competitions and grants each year. For a list, see: http://www.psichi.org/awards/undergraduate.aspx
Opportunities in Related Disciplines
Search for a non-scientific summer job at the National Institute of
SAGES (SPSSI Action Grants for Experienced Scholars): April 15thWho? The SAGES Program was set up to encourage our retired members to apply their knowledge to helping solve social problems or to assist policy makers to solve social problems. Members nearing retirement may also be considered.
What? Proposals are invited that use social science research findings to address social problems through direct action projects, consulting with not-for-profit groups, or through preparing reviews of existing social science literature that could be used by policy makers.
How much? Funding ranges from $1,000 to $10,000. It is atypical for a single proposal to receive the total $10,000 in funds available.
What’s involved? Proposals should include a brief review of the relevant literature underlying the project (no more than 5 pages), a timetable, a detailed budget, and CV.
When is it due? April 15th.
The Applied Social Issues Internship Funding Program: April 15thWho? Undergraduate seniors (rising seniors included), graduate students, and first-year post doctorates in psychology and related disciplines.
What? To encourage research that is conducted in cooperation with a community or government organization, public interest group or other not-for-profit entity that will benefit directly from the project.
How much? Awards range from $300 to $2,500.
What’s involved? A resume, 3-6 page proposal, sponsor and advisor letters.
When is it due? April 15th.
Clara Mayo Grants Program: May 15thWho? Students who have matriculated in graduate programs in psychology and related disciplines.
What? In support of masters’ theses and pre-dissertation research on sexism, racism, or prejudice.
How much? A maximum of six grants up to $1,000 each.
What’s involved? Online application form, recommendation letter and institutional agreement.
When is it due? May 15th.Fall program also available.
Grants-in-Aid Program: May 15thWho? Everyone, but especially underrepresented institutions, graduate students, and junior scholars.
What? In support of scientific research in social problem areas related to the basic interests and goals of SPSSI and particularly those that are not likely to receive support from traditional sources.
How much? Up to $1,000 for graduate students; up to $2,000 for PhDs.
What’s involved? 5-7 page proposal with IRB status, recommendation as needed. Matching funds letter if acquired.
When is it due? May 15th. Fall program also available.
Information on all SPSSI awards and grants may be found at www.spssi.org/awards. Apply online today!
NIH Summer Internship Programs for current students and recent grads: https://www.training.nih.gov/programs/sip
All NIH Training Programs for college students and postbac programs: https://www.training.nih.gov/programs
Post-Baccalaureate Research and
Education Program (PREP) at the University of New Mexico.
PREP is a NIH-funded post-baccalaureate training program, designed to enhance the ability of individuals in the biomedical sciences to gain entry to, and succeed in, nationally-recognized PhD programs. PREP is aimed at individuals from under-represented groups in the biomedical sciences who have recently received a Bachelors degree. These individuals will either have relatively little laboratory experience, or will be changing research fields between their BS and PhD courses. In PREP, our Scholars are paid an annual salary, plus health and dental benefits, for one year of support. During this year they are paired with a Faculty mentor from one of our departments, and engage full-time in cutting-edge research. This experience is essential to successful application in many of the top graduate schools in the country. To enhance the Scholars’ competitiveness for graduate school, PREP also supports GRE preparation classes, and short training programs aimed at making the Scholars more familiar with the expectations and challenges of graduate school. PREP will also cover tuition costs of classes which are required by the Scholar to become familiar with their current research. All-in-all, PREP@unm is the definitive program for preparing under-represented students for graduate school. The program web site and online application can be found at: http://biology.unm.edu/PREP/index.asp
Department of Energy opportunities for life scientists: http://www.scied.science.doe.gov/scied/sci_ed.htm
Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, Department of Energy DOE scholars Internship Program. Full details and an application can be found at the program web site at http://orise.orau.gov/doescholars
Have an opportunity you want listed here? Contact Professor Wolfe at email@example.com.