Undergraduate Research


Students are strongly encouraged to be involved with research. They do so by taking Psychology 2950 or 4950, both titled "Special Problems." These courses are taken with a faculty member.

What is "Psych 2950: Special Problems"?

The course description for Psych 2950 reads: "Research apprenticeship with a faculty member, assisting a faculty member in the development and execution of research. May be repeated to 6 hours maximum. Prerequisite: Instructor's consent."

Psych 2950 is a non-regularly scheduled course that provides students with 1 to 3 hours of credit for working on a research project with a faculty member. Typically students arrange with the faculty member to work 3 to 4 hours per week for each hour of credit they receive for the course (e.g., for 3 hours of credit, a student should expect to spend 9 to 12 hours each week working on a research project). Examples of what a student might be expected to do for Psych 2950 credit include entering data into a statistical computing program, scheduling research participants, assisting with experiments, giving directions to survey participants, interviewing subjects, and gathering research articles.

What is "Psych 4950: Special Problems"?

The course description for Psych 4950 reads: "Independent investigation leading to a project or paper. Repeatable upon consent of the department. Prerequisite: Instructor's consent."

Psych 4950 differs from Psych 2950 in that the student is more actively involved in the research process, and the student is usually expected to write a research paper. Students interested in Psych 4950 should contact faculty members directly to inquire about Psych 4950 opportunities. Lists of current faculty members and their research interests are available from the Advising Office (100 McAlester Hall).

How will Psych 2950 and/or Psych 4950 benefit me?

Both courses provide students with an opportunity to be involved in a research project and work directly with a faculty member. The experience is particularly helpful if the student is considering graduate school in a psychology-related or research-related field.

  • For Arts & Science students (e.g., psychology, sociology, history, communication), the hours count as elective credit towards graduation. The course does not count as an A&S Behavioral Science foundation course.
  • For psychology majors , it is important to note that Psych 2950/4950 does not count as a 2000-level psychology elective course because it is not a "regularly scheduled course"; however, the course will count as an additional psychology course. Psychology majors can count up to 40 total hours of psychology courses in the overall hours needed for graduation.
  • If you have any questions about how Psych 2950/4950 will count toward your degree, please contact the Academic Advisor for your major or minor.

How do I register for Psych 2950/4950?

Registering for this course is similar to finding a job. You can find most of the information you need on the department website under the Research tab. Many faculty members also advertise their Psych 2950/4950 opportunities on the bulletin boards around McAlester Hall. Students can also contact faculty members directly to ask about Psych 2950/4950 opportunities.

Before agreeing to the course, the student should ask the faculty member about his or her expectations of Psych 2950/4950 students. Once the student and faculty member have agreed to these expectations, the student will be given a permission number to register for the course for the agreed-upon amount of credit hours.When you get the permission number, add the course on MyZou, be sure to put in the correct number of hours (the default is 1 hour, so change it depending on how many hours you will take) and there is a box to enter the permission number.

How many hours of Psych 2950/4950 can I take?

  • Psychology majors may receive up to 6 hours of credit for Psych 2950. Psych majors may receive up to 9 hours total for taking Psych 2950/4950 hours. So, a psych major can take 6 hours of Psych 2950 and 3 hours of Psych 4950, or they can take 3 hours of Psych 2950 and 6 hours of Psych 4950. If a student has used up their Psych 2950/4950 hours, the student can still volunteer to help, but should not register to receive Psych 2950/4950 credit hours. (The student can register for hours, but they will not count toward the hours s/he needs for graduation.
  • All other majors should check with their Academic Advisor to find out how many hours of Psych 2950/4950 can count toward graduation.

    Questions: Contact the Advising Office (100 McAlester, (574) 884-3811.