Learning Outside the Classroom (LOC)



In addition to their regular coursework, students enrolled in PSY 101 (Introductory Psychology) have "Learning Outside the Classroom" (LOC) requirements which involve research (LOC-R) and attending Psychology Day (LOC-P).

Most other psychology students also have an LOC-R requirement in each of their classes. Read below for more details.


About LOC-Research (LOC-R)

What is "Sona"?

Participation in research studies for LOC-R credit is managed by a web-based system called Sona Systems. Each student must request an account every semester. To set up your account, follow the instructions to create a SONA account for LOC-R participation.

What is the LOC-R requirement?

Research is the foundation of the information you learn in class and being an active participant in this arena allows you to better understand the field of psychology. Therefore, the Psychology Department has adopted a policy for its courses that requires students to interact with psychological research inside and outside of the classroom. You may satisfy the research requirement for this course in one of two ways:

(a) Give back to the research community by signing up to participate in studies being conducted by psychology peers and faculty members. Note, your actual participation - even after you show up for a study - is voluntary.


(b) Students who do not wish to participate in studies or are unable to find studies with sign-up times that match their schedules, may complete an alternative research assignment (click here for details).

If you choose to participate in research studies, the number required varies by course. This table provides a summary:



Credits required


PSY 101


Intro students are required to complete a brief LOC-R Assignment for each study they do.

PSY 103



PSY 104 & 490


Check with your instructor.

Other PSY courses


If you are enrolled in multiple psychology classes, please note that a single study can only count toward the research requirement for one class (e.g., 2 classes = 4 credits). Excludes 270, 970, 960, 965.

Official Departmental due date for all LOC-R credits:  2 weeks before the last day of classes.

Where and when do I sign up?

You can find studies which qualify for this requirement by accessing the Psychology LOC/Sona Sign-up System. Most studies are posted beginning mid-semester and ending about 3 weeks before the last day of classes. Before you can access the system you will need to register. To set up your account, follow the instructions to create a SONA account for LOC-R participation.

How do I get credit for my participation?

After signing up and completing your participation in each study, you will be granted LOC credit through the LOC/Sona System. You can log-on to the LOC/Sona System to check your current credit status.

PSY 101 students:  PSY 101 students must also complete the LOC-R Assignment Form posted on the Psychology Department web page. This assignment will help beginning students reflect on the study and understand its place within the larger context of psychological research. Complete one assignment form for each study. We recommend that you complete the form immediately after the study is over in order to answer the questions while the study is fresh in your mind. PSY 101 students will not receive credit for a completed study without completing this assignment.

What is the alternative to signing-up for studies?

Students who do not wish to sign-up for studies, or who are unable to find studies with sign-up times that match their schedules, may complete an alternative LOC-Research assignment.

For PSY 101 students, the alternative assignment involves reading articles about famous psychological studies, and producing 2 page (typed, double-spaced) summaries and critical reflections on the studies. The articles you can choose from are in a book called 40 Studies that Changed Psychology. This book is on permanent reserve in Trexler Library, listed for the Psychology Department and/or Introductory Psychology - all sections. You will receive one research credit for each article summary. If your professor is using the 40 Studies reader as part of your course, then you must choose articles that are not already assigned to you.

Students in all other psychology classes should check with their instructor for information about the alternative LOC-R assignment.


About the LOC-Presentation Requirement (LOC-P)

Psychology Day features presentations by Research Methods, Advanced Lab, Independent Study and Internship students. The results of many of the studies that PSY 101 students participated in during the semester will be reported during Psychology Day. For the LOC-P requirement, PSY 101 students need to attend the keynote speaker presentation, at least two of the poster presentations and at least two of the paper (oral) presentations. Psychology Day is held on Performance Day (the final Friday of the semester). Talk with your instructor as soon as possible if you have other obligations on Performance Day.

To get credit for this requirement, you should fill out one LOC-P Assignment Form for each of 2 poster presentations, and 2 talks. That means you will be completing a total of four forms. You should look over the forms before Psychology Day so you are prepared to gather the appropriate information.

If you have a schedule conflict and are unable to attend Psychology Day, you must discuss the conflict with your instructor at the beginning of the semester. Your instructor will provide you with an alternative assignment. If you miss the event without an approved excuse, you will not be given an alternative assignment nor will you receive LOC-P credit.