Psychological Sciences faculty members have national reputations for their scholarship and are among the most productive researchers in their field. Through assisting our faculty with research, students discover and disseminate knowledge related to the mind, brain, and behavior and further explore the science of psychology. 

Psychology major and minor students may want to pursue undergraduate research opportunities for several reasons: 1) more direct mentorship from faculty and graduate students, 2) help identify or clarify further career goals, 3) improve transferable skills such as writing and oral communication, critical thinking, and information literacy, and 4) improve your CV or resume for graduate and professional programs. For more information on Undergraduate Research in general at MU, please visit the Office of Undergraduate Research webpage.  


Where Do I Start?  

Psychology majors or minors interested in getting involved in research can reach out to Dr. Nicole Campione-Barr, Director of Undergraduate Research in Psychology with any questions--or drop by her office hours: Wednesdays 1:30-3:00 p.m. in 212A McAlester Hall (while classes are in session)! 

Each semester during early registration (and continuously updated through the beginning of that term), we publish a list of faculty/labs who are recruiting students to serve as research assistants for that semester on our Psychology Advising Resources Canvas Page.  Students can also contact faculty members directly to ask about research assistant opportunities. Students can review the areas of research that each faculty member of Psychological Sciences conducts by reviewing their individual web pages. It is also possible for students to serve as a research assistant with a faculty member in another department on campus which is psychologically-related.  Examples of related departments, schools, centers or programs where psychology students have participated in research include: Educational, School & Counseling Psychology; Social Work; Health PsychologyHuman Development & Family Science; Neuroscience; and several others. 

Options for participation

Psyc 2950 

Psych 2950 is a research apprenticeship with a faculty member, assisting them in developing and executing research. It may be repeated up to 6 hours maximum. It is a non-regularly scheduled course that provides students with 1 to 3 hours of credit for working on a research project. Typically, students arrange with the faculty member to work approximately 3 hours per week for each hour of credit they receive for the course. To earn credit for this course, students may be expected to enter data into a statistical computing program, schedule research participants, assist with experiments, give directions to survey participants, interview subjects, and gather research articles. 

Psyc 4950 

Psych 4950 is an independent investigation leading to a project or paper. It is repeatable upon the consent of the department. It 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. 

**Up to 3 credit hours of either Psyc 2950 or Psyc 4950 can be used towards the Psychology major. Additional hours will serve as elective credits. 

Zero-credit (Psyc 2888 or 4888 COMING SOON) or other non-credit Options

While we strongly encourage students to participate in research by receiving course credit, at times, students do not have credits available to devote to this experience. Particularly for students who may have already utilized Psyc 2950 and/or Psyc 4950 credit-baring options, our zero-credit options (2888 & 4888) are similar to their 2950 and 4950 counter-parts, and allow for students' experiences to continue to be transcripted, but without credit hours attached. Many faculty members will also accept volunteer students in their lab, but our preference is for students to register for credit or zero-credit in order to receive official designation from the University for their time and efforts.  Additionally, while it is rare for students in Psychology to be offered a paid position in a lab during the academic year, at times, faculty are looking for paid research assistants over the summer (although these positions most typically go to students who have previously worked in that lab during the academic year).   

Honors/Independent Research Capstone Program 

The vast majority of our Honors Capstone Program students go on to graduate programs related to psychology, medical school, or law school. The research, presentation, and networking opportunities they receive through the honors capstone greatly improve their chances of being selected for these competitive programs. 

Students will gain experience with state-of-the-art research and will have conducted every phase of a research project.  

Psychology majors who complete the Honors Lab sequence (PSYCH 4976HW and PSYCH 4977HW) and who have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher at graduation will graduate with departmental honors.  

This is the only way to obtain departmental honors in Psychological Sciences.  

To fulfill all requirements and graduate with departmental honors, students in the Honors Capstone sequence are expected to develop an independent project with the assistance of a faculty mentor, create a journal-length honors thesis manuscript, and present a research poster of their project at both the Midwestern Psychological Association meeting in Chicago and an on-campus event. Honors Capstone participants are not required to be members of the MU Honors College, but participants may receive honors credit towards an honors certificate. 

Students interested in the program who do not have the required 3.5 GPA but meet all other requirements can participate in the same program. It will be called the “Independent Research Capstone.” They will not graduate with departmental honors. Everything else about the program is the same. 

For more information about the Honors/Independent Research Capstone Program, including how to find a faculty mentor and program expectations and grading scale, please review the "Honors.Independent Capstone Information for Prospective Students" document on the Psych Advising Resources Canvas page.  If you have any questions about the Honors/Independent Research Capstone Program, please contact the Director of the department’s honors program, Dr. Nicole Campione-Barr, at  


Undergraduate Research Scholars Program

The Undergraduate Research Scholars Program in the Department of Psychological Sciences is designed to enhance the research skills and scholastic success of first-generation college students, students from low socioeconomic backgrounds, and other students from marginalized backgrounds that may not have exposed them to research activities in college and psychological sciences. The program primarily targets students who are in the first and second year of college and transfer students. Students will be engaging in empirical research, completing rotations in labs in the psychology department, and attending weekly lab meetings. In addition, students will enroll in a weekly 1-hour seminar where they will participate in workshops and discussions to learn about graduate school, psychology research, and more! Applications are accepted on a rolling basis to start in Fall or Spring semesters.  For more information, contact Dr. Lisa Flores (


Support Undergraduate Research 

The department incurs significant expenses to ensure students can afford the travel associated with the program. Alumni giving to this program goes directly towards offsetting the costs of these experiences. If you want to give a gift to support the honors program, go to our Give Direct website:    



We have a Psych Advising Resources Canvas page with continually-updated information on the psychology major, minor and certificates, and with opportunities for current students.  If it is not already visible in your Canvas courses, students may self-enroll in the Canvas page click this link.