Research & Senior Thesis
Our professors are constantly involved in psychological research and often welcome student help and collaboration. You can participate in a faculty member's research as a volunteer or for course credit. Our Getting Involved in Psychological Research pamphlet explains how to get started. There are also regularly paid summer research internships available to work on faculty members' research.
In addition, many colleges and universities offer paid summer research internships. Look for these by searching for "summer internship" and the areas of psychology you are interested in. Application deadlines are often in January and February, so you should look for these by the winter break.
Many of our psychology and neuroscience majors conduct a senior thesis project during their senior year. For more information on senior thesis, please refer to our Thesis Guidelines, written by our PSI CHI students.
Occasionally students double majoring in psychology and another major wish to conduct theses in both departments. The Psychology Department has adopted the following policy:
Senior Thesis Policy for Double Majors
Students double majoring in Psychology and a second major who wish to conduct a senior thesis in psychology will typically conduct a two-term psychology thesis. However, in some situations, a thesis combining both majors may be appropriate. In these cases, the student may choose to conduct either a two- or three-term combined thesis. A combined thesis must include a substantial psychological component, which will usually involve an original theoretical and/or empirical contribution to the psychological literature. Proposals for combined theses must be submitted to the thesis supervisor who, in consultation with the chair of the Psychology Department, will decide on the suitability of the project.
The thesis grade will be determined by the two thesis supervisors and, as is true for all theses, a grade of A or A- is required for a student to receive honors in Psychology. It is not uncommon for a thesis to evolve over the time course of the project. To the extent that a project evolves to the point that it no longer includes a sufficient psychological contribution, the Psychology Department reserves the right to disallow the project from qualifying the student for honors in psychology, regardless of the final grade awarded.
The department emphasizes a "collegial" model of learning, in which students become active participators with faculty. Many students work on research with professors, both for course credit during the academic year or through paid research internships in the summer. Each year, several students co-author published papers and/or give presentations of their work at national and regional psychology conferences.
To provide students with practical experience, the department offers a number of internships that can be completed for independent study credit. Recently, students have worked in a center for autistic children, a battered women´s shelter, advertising agencies, biofeedback clinics, employee assistance programs, residential facilities for emotionally disturbed children, and on a suicide phone line. Others have run groups for shy teenagers at a local high school, worked in day care centers or elementary schools, and consulted at local businesses.
Students often combine psychology with other majors or minors such as biology, economics, mathematics, sociology, or political science. As a result, our majors go into a wide variety of fields. Many, either immediately after graduation or within a few years, enter some type of graduate program. Some of these students enroll in professional schools for medicine, dentistry, law, education, or nursing; other students enroll in business-related graduate programs for master´s degrees in business or health care administration. Many of our majors seek advanced degrees in clinical or counseling psychology or related fields such as social work and speech pathology. Several majors each year enter graduate programs leading to the doctorate in various areas of academic psychology.