Undergraduate Research Opportunities

As a premier research university, Wayne State encourages students to gain practical skills through Undergraduate research opportunities. Students involved in research will have a greater understanding of problem identification, critical thinking, data gathering, data analysis, problem solving, and gain laboratory technique skills. Hands-on research experience prepares students for graduate school and employment opportunities. It also allows students to contribute to the ever-changing knowledge base within your chosen field.

Most Psychology faculty actively engage undergraduate students in their research programs. This allows students to gain first-hand experience in performing scientific research. This experience is invaluable for a students academic resume; most graduate programs require it, and many private employers highly value it. The best recommendation letters a student can obtain are from faculty who supervised their research. It is strongly recommended students become involved in research early in their undergraduate career.

Students need to take the initiative in approaching faculty about joining their research programs. A student should first decide on an area of interest, and also have a solid idea on how much time they are willing to commit to a laboratory. Ten or more hours per week is a typical commitment, and many labs will require a time commitment of a semester or longer. Students should then directly contact the faculty member to express their interest. There is no need to be shy about this: keep in mind that most (if not all) of our faculty were once undergraduate research assistants themselves! 


Students interested in Psychology research are encouraged to contact faculty members for opportunities in their labs. Before contacting the faculty members, students are advised to read the individual faculty members area of research.


Psychology students may get research experience on a volunteer basis, or they can register for Directed Study (PSY 4990 or PSY 4991) credit. Please contact Shelly Seguin, the Psychology Research Coordinator, or a Psychology Academic Advisor for more information.

Rodney Clark Undergraduate Research/Poster Day

The Department of Psychology and WSU chapter of Psi Chi hosts an annual undergraduate research poster day. This will be an opportunity for undergraduates to present summaries of their research projects in poster form similar to how it is presented at professional conferences such as those held by the American Psychological Association. Any research paper that includes one or more undergraduates or high school students as an author is appropriate for display in a poster format (4 x 6 feet) on this day. Acceptable submissions include those authored by pre-undergraduates; undergraduates and former undergraduates, provided the work largely took place prior to their receiving their bachelor’s degree. Appropriate submissions include new investigations, previously presented research, and research from an undergraduate honors thesis. Four first place winners will be selected for each major area within the Psychology department (Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience; Clinical; Cognitive, Developmental and Social; Industrial and Organizational).

For additional information, email Dr. Bowen or Dr. Beeghly.


Research and Travel Funds

The Undergraduate Research and Travel Fund of the Psychology Department provides funding for Psychology majors to facilitate the development of their research careers. Funding is available in two areas:

  • Travel Funds: Students may apply for travel funds to help cover the costs of travel to scientific meetings and conferences. This is a great way for students to gain exposure to current psychological research and to network with faculty and students from around the world. Travel awards are limited to students who are authors or co-authors on scientific presentations of research performed under the supervision of a department faculty member. Students are limited to one award per year. The maximum award amount is $400 for first author presenters, and $200 for second (or higher) author presenters. An application form and instructions can be downloaded here.


  • Research Funds: Students may apply for research funds to help support their own individual research projects. Research projects need to be performed under the supervision of a department faculty member. The maximum award is $500, and is limited to direct research costs (no salaries). Application instructions can be downloaded here.


For other funding opportunities, students are encouraged to visit the University's Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) website.


 ↑ back to top