As a behavioral science, psychology utilizes empirical research to explain human behavior, thought, and emotion. A critical part of a psychology major’s education is thus learning about and engaging in research.
Research experience is an excellent way to develop skills in critical thinking, written and oral communication, problem solving, collaboration, and data analysis. These skills are important for careers in business, education, health care, law, mental health and social services, and basic and applied research. Research experience also provides one of the best ways to get to know the faculty and graduate students in the Psychology Department who can serve as mentors and unofficial advisors, as well as provide letters of recommendation.
All majors learn about psychological research through the PSYC 001 Research Requirement and Participant Pool and through the Research Methods and Data Analysis Course Sequence (PSYC 201, 202, 203). The department also encourages majors to enhance their classroom education with hands-on research opportunities.
Opportunities to Conduct Research with a Faculty Mentor at Lehigh
- PSYC 161: Supervised Research: Work as a research assistant in a faculty lab for course credit. Research assistants work on experimental design, data collection and analysis, literature review, and scientific writing in an ongoing faculty research program. To register for PSYC 161, identify a faculty member whose research area overlaps with your interests, and contact him or her directly to discuss a supervised research opportunity. Total maximum credits is 9.
- PSYC 393: Independent Research: Build on your supervised research experiences by designing and executing your own individual research project in collaboration with a faculty mentor.
- Honors Program in Psychology: Highly qualified seniors (GPA of 3.5 or greater) who are passionate about an area of psychology, who wish to improve their research and writing skills, and/or who plan to pursue graduate study in psychology are encouraged to participate in the honors program. Through the honors program, students collaborate with a faculty mentor to design and execute an original research project. Students typically spend the first semester of their senior year doing library research, learning the appropriate methodology, designing an empirical research project, and preparing a written proposal and oral presentation (PSYC 391). In the second semester, the proposal is implemented—culminating in a written honors thesis and oral presentation (PSYC 392). Interested students should consult with their advisor or the Honors Program Coordinator, Prof. Michael Gill (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Research Opportunities Outside of Lehigh