|Student Independent Research at Western|
Students can receive course credit for conducting psychological research by taking PSY 450, Independent Research. The amount of credit for this course ranges from one to five credit hours, depending on the extent of the project. One hour of credit is given for participating as a "research assistant" in a study designed by a faculty member, while additional credit is given if the student is the principal investigator on the project.
Most students who conduct independent research that is worth 3-5 semester hours are seniors, and have already completed the Experimental Psychology lecture and laboratory (PSY 301/302) courses. These projects require that the student submit at the end of the semester a research paper based on their work; most students also eventually present their paper at an undergraduate psychology conference.
If you are interested in independent research, your first step should be to approach a faculty member working in an area of interest to you. This should be done the semester before you intend to want to enroll in the course. If you have a general idea for a project, see if the faculty member is willing to supervise a study in that area. Another approach to take is to find out what the faculty member is interested in and then see if you can work together to design a study on that topic.
PSY 450 is offered each semester and may be repeated for credit. The course is not offered in the summer, although occasionally students work on a project in the summer and then receive course credit for it in the fall semester. One exception to this is the Undergraduate Research Summer Institute (URSI) sponsored by the MWSU School of Liberal Arts and Sciences. In an URSI project, a student collaborates with a faculty member on a study during the summer and then presents the study at the URSI symposium held in the fall. Both the student and the faculty member receive a small stipend, and the student may also receive course credit for the project if he/she desires.
Participation in URSI is competitive. An application is required in which the student-faculty team describe in detail the project that they want to do. These applications are reviewed by a committee of Liberal Arts and Sciences Chairpersons, which selects the projects to be funded. The deadline for URSI applications is usually around April 1, but may vary with the year. Further information can be obtained from the office of the Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
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Last Modified 05/9/13