Research opportunities

for undergraduate students in Psychology

Why do research as an undergrad?

Deepen your learning and better understand and appreciate the scientific process. Research experience as an undergrad student will make you better prepared and more competitive for graduate and professional programs. Opportunities in the department include:

  • Volunteering as a research assistant

  • PSYC 499

  • PSYC 504 or 505

  • Honours program


Volunteer as a part-time Research Assistant

Interested in volunteering as a part-time Research Assistant (RA)?

Check the weekly Monday Memo for volunteer calls. Or contact professors you're interested in working with directly to see if they have any volunteer RA opportunities available.

Professors will want to review your transcripts and resume before they meet you to determine if you're a good fit for a position.

Most profs will require a 5-10 hour/week commitment for at least one semester. The time commitment should take your other academic deadlines and responsibilities into account.

Volunteer RAs receive valuable training in a specific research area (e.g., neuroscience; clinical psychology; industrial-organizational psychology). Typical activities undergraduate RAs perform include:

  • conducting literature searches

  • recruiting and running participants (i.e., collecting data)

  • scoring tests and measures

  • coding of responses to open-ended questions

  • record keeping

  • entering and organizing data

  • using SPSS to perform statistical analysis.


Research policies for students

Be aware of the policies pertaining to research opportunities for undergraduate students.


Policy on Research Courses

View policy

Policy on PSYC 499

View policy


Psychology 499 (Research Experience in Psychology)

Have you completed PSYC 300 & 301? Gain research experience in PSYC 499. This course will give you research experience while you earn academic credit.

PSYC 499 is a quarter course. You'll complete two PSYC 499 courses to receive credit equivalent to one 400-level half-course. All work in the course is graded pass/fail and there are no exams or papers.

View calendar description »


Find a supervisor

You're responsible for finding a supervisor before you can register for the course. Check the Monday Memo and contact profs directly to learn about opportunities. Supervisors determine the kinds of tasks and activities you'll complete during the course. Requirements will vary from supervisor to supervisor and from student to student within the same course.

Why register instead of volunteering?

PSYC 499 is a good alternative for students considering a volunteer RA position because you get academic credit for similar work. The course will appear on your transcript as "Research Experience in Psychology." Your committed is limited to the fall or winter session.

How many hours will I have to commit to this course?

You're expected to work six hours per week for the 13-week term. In the Spring and Summer sessions, this is pro-rated over the number of weeks of those terms.

What are the pre-requisites for this course?

  1. Psychology 300 & 301 (or PSYC 312)
  2. Completion of 3.0 full-course equivalents in Psychology
  3. Consent of the department

How do I register for this course?

You can't register for this course on-line. You'll need to find a supervisor first. Check the Monday Memo for opportunities, but you can also email individual professors who you'd like to work with and ask if they're interested in supervising you for PSYC 499. When you find a supervisor, they will create a course outline and submit it. Once approved the Undergraduate Programs Advisor will then up an allow for you to register for the course. 

We must receive your outline one week before courses start in any semester.


Psychology 504 or 505 (Research in Psychology)

Not in the Honours program but want to get research experience? PSYC 504 and 505 are both excellent options, even if you plan to apply for the Honours program later on.


Why take a PSYCH 504 or 505 research course?

You will complete a formal research project for academic credit, supervised by a faculty member, and possibly co-supervised by a grad student. You are responsible for securing a supervisor before you can register for the course. Most professors will only be interested in supervising projects related to their own research program, so be sure you're committed to a particular area of study.

Which course do I register for?

It depends upon the complexity of your project and the length of time required to complete it. PSYC 504 is a full-course and PSYC 505 is a half-course. The major course requirement is a written report that follows APA format and organization (with an abstract, introduction, methods section, results section, and discussion).


Please note the following:

Contact your potential supervisor early

Be sure to contact your potential supervisor well ahead of the start of the term in which you'd like to take the research course. For example, if you wish to take a research course in the Winter term, you should find a supervisor early in the Fall term.

Get approval from the department

The department must approve the outline that you've negotiated with your potential supervisor before you can enrol in the course. Because revisions might be necessary, it's important to begin this process well in advance of the start of term.

Primary supervisor

Your primary research course supervisor must be either Psychology faculty or hold an Adjunct appointment with the Department of Psychology.

View all Psychology faculty

Deadlines

Outlines for PSYC 504 or 505 courses are always due a month before the 1st day of classes and outlines for PSYC 499 are due a week before the last day to add classes in each semester.

Undergraduate Student Research Handbook

We value experiential learning and are committed to offering students rich opportunities to involve themselves in all aspects of the research enterprise. To facilitate this process, we have prepared a handbook -- very much still a work in progress -- that we hope will be useful to:

  • students who want to know more about research opportunities in Psychology and what those opportunities may look like
  • students planning on taking an independent studies course (PSYC 504 or 505)
  • students planning on applying to our honours program
  • students currently taking an independent studies course
  • students currently in the honours program
  • faculty working with or considering working with undergraduates on research projects

*This initial version does not address PSYC 499 courses but future versions may.

We would value any feedback and input you might be willing to share as we continue to develop this resource. If there is information you would like which you do not see in the Handbook pages, please contact psychdir@ucalgary.ca. Similarly, if you find errors or typos, please draw them to our attention. If you would like to contribute to future editions of the Handbook, please contact us.

Please direct all inquiries regarding this Handbook to psychdir@ucalgary.ca.

Psychology program questions?

Undergraduate Programs Advisor

Ask me about general undergraduate program advising and requirements.

Michelle Vogt
403.220.4958
psycugrd@ucalgary.ca »

Director of Undergraduate Studies

Ask me about undergraduate degree requirements and course selection.

Dr. Melissa Boyce
403.210.6257
psychdir@ucalgary.ca »

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