Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Logo
Apply to SIUE

School of Education, Health and Human Behavior
School of Education

Undergraduate Program: Program Opportunities

PSYC 493 - Field Study in Psychology

Field Study in Psychology is an internship-type course that gives students a significant career advantage. The course is helpful to students who plan to enter the workforce directly but it is also important for students who need particular kinds of experiences (e.g., working in a mental health agency) to be competitive for graduate school.

Student Qualifications: An undergraduate major in psychology, a GPA of at least 2.5, at least 18 hours of Psychology courses completed, and consent of the Field Study Coordinator.

Credit: Credit earned depends upon hours spent at site (e.g., 3 credit hours = 120 hours at site). Variable credit: 1-6 credit hours. Students may not be paid for their work.

Procedure: If you are interested in Field Study in Psychology, please complete the Field Study Interest Form below and email it to Dr. Pettibone ( as an attachment.

Field Study Interest Form (in *.doc format)

If you have questions, contact Dr. Pettibone (; 618-650-3346).

Independent Research (PSYC 491 - Research in Psychology)

Students must obtain prior approval by a faculty member to enroll in PSYC 491. This course allows students to get hands-on research experience (in the laboratory or out in the field) under the supervision of a faculty member.

To enroll in PSYC 491, students must have a GPA of at least 2.5 and have completed at least 18 hours of Psychology courses. Students must secure a faculty member's permission to enroll in PSYC 491. The student and faculty member must reach agreement on what the student will accomplish, how long the project will take and how many credit hours the student will earn. The procedure required for registration is as follows:

1. Download a PSYC 491/492/496 Consent Form (in *.rtf format), complete it and obtain your supervising professor's signature.
2. Give one copy of the signed form to the undergraduate psychology advisor (who will register you for the course) and keep a second copy for your records.

To find out more about enrolling in Psyc 491 at SIUE, please talk to your undergraduate psychology advisor or a professor with whom you are interested in doing research.

Students with a strong interest in research should also consider taking PSYC 422, Data Analysis with SPSS, and technical writing courses. They should also carefully study the materials on the Psychology Writing Resources page.

SIUE's Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Program

SIUE's URCA program is designed to help undergraduate students get involved in research and creative activities in two ways – as an URCA Research Associate or as an URCA Research Assistant.  Associates apply to work with a faculty mentor on a study that the student researches and designs.  In the Department of Psychology, this can count as a student’s Capstone (Senior Assignment) experience. Assistants apply to work in faculty laboratories and will work on faculty-led projects.  Research Assistant positions can not count as a Capstone experience.

URCA Research Assistants in the Department of Psychology will receive:

  • 3 hours of course credit in PSYC 491
  • In addition, some may receive a $1000 award (faculty across the university compete to have positions that are awarded; not all URCA Research Assistant positions will be awarded)

URCA Research Associates in the Department of Psychology will receive:

  • 3 hours of course credit in PSYC 491
  • $500 toward project expenses
  • $2400 stipend for the academic year
  • $400 in conference presentation travel
  • URCA Research Associate distinction on their transcripts
  • Training in the graduate school application process, poster design and construction, presentation skills

Having an URCA Research Associate Project Count as a Senior Assignment in the Psychology Department

Please note that the following guidelines only apply toward having an URCA Research Associate project count toward the senior assignment requirement in the Department of Psychology. It is the responsibility of the student to understand and meet all URCA requirements. For more information, please visit

Regular Capstone:

  • URCA can ONLY count towards senior assignment if the project is (successfully) completed during your senior year (i.e., the 491 in which you actually do your project can only happen AFTER you’ve accumulated 90 hours of course credit, have passed both 220 and 221, and are of senior status).  Although sophomores can apply for URCA Research Associate positions, in order for it to count as Senior Assignment, you must apply during the spring of your junior year so you can conduct and successfully complete your study during your senior year. 
  • URCA is not a given; you must apply.  If you apply and are denied (or do not successfully complete it), you must take the traditional Capstone course (you should register for one just in case, and then drop it if you get accepted to URCA).  In addition, the project must represent a field of psychology and must be mentored by a full-time psychology professor.
  • If you’re interested, you must decide on a project and then find a faculty member who is willing to be your URCA mentor. The two of you will work together to develop a proposal, which will take some time. It is recommended you start early in your junior year.
  • Proposals are due each mid-March; they consist of an in-depth literature review, hypotheses, proposed methodology, timeline, references, budget, etc. 
  • NOTE: the application proposal is NOT the same as the introduction and method section of your final paper. Your final paper will build off the proposal and will be a larger document that complies with all Senior Assignment Paper guidelines in terms of length, number of references, APA style, etc.  
  • URCA decisions are made towards the end of April
  • If you are accepted, Dr. Ro needs to know immediately so she can notify the undergraduate advisor to waive the Capstone requirement for you and also provide a completion letter after you have been evaluated. 
  • Accepted students typically start working on their project in the fall, and continue through the spring semester.
  • The URCA research project requires work for 2 consecutive semesters (the fall and spring semesters). If accepted, you will sign up for 3 credit hours of PSYC 491 during the fall semester.  You may also take an additional 3 credit hours of this in the spring.  You cannot apply previously accrued PSYC 491 hours to your URCA hours.
  • The URCA culminating experience is the URCA Symposium at the end of the senior year. In order for the project to count towards the Psychology Department’s senior assignment requirement, students must be evaluated (using the department’s SRA criteria) by both their URCA mentor and an additional faculty member (most often Dr. Ro, given her involvement in URCA) at the symposium.  In the odd case that both faculty members cannot be in attendance at the symposium, alternate arrangements for this evaluation will need to be made.  (Honors academy students – see below for your requirements)
  • In order for the project to count as "passing" the senior assignment requirement, the student must a) successfully meet all the requirements of the URCA; b) earn a grade of C or higher in all PSYC 491 URCA hours AND; c) earn a mean score of 4 or above on the department evaluation criteria (i.e., you must meet the same passing criteria as regular capstone students).  If you do not pass, in order to graduate, you will be required to retake a capstone experience (either another URCA or a regular capstone class) until you do pass.

Honors Capstone – Additional Issues

Honors students: the above requirements will apply to you.  Listed below are additional issues that will pertain to you.

Honors students must take 491, 493, the honors section of Capstone Seminar in Psychology (PSYC 494), do an independent thesis, and do a "pre-proposal" project (contract) in an earlier class.  For URCA Associate students, this will translate into:

  • 491 - Honors students will take 3 hours of PSYC 491 as their URCA research credit hours. 
  • 493 - required
  • Independent thesis – required, but it will be the URCA Associate project.  In addition to the URCA application proposal, honors students will also be required to do an additional proposal of their full introduction and methods (see notes above) before their thesis committee.  Honors students will also be required to do a formal defense of the project before their committee IN ADDITION to the URCA Symposium.   
  • Pre-proposal/Contract completed in an earlier class - the URCA proposal submission will count for this for honors students.  You do not have to do this through a formal class, but rather informally with your URCA mentor. 
  • Honors section of PSYC 494 during the senior year

Visit or email Dr. Laura Pawlow for more information on the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Program.

Research Opportunities Outside of SIUE

Many universities recruit students from all over the United States to participate in summer research training programs. Some of these programs cost little or nothing (because they are funded by grants); a few pay small stipends. To learn more about such programs, ask a professor, examine the opportunities posted here to check for announcements about summer research opportunities, and check the department's Twitter page.

psychology research presentation

PSYC 496 - Undergraduate Teaching Assistantship in Psychology

Students must obtain prior approval by a faculty member to enroll in PSYC 496. This course allows students with an interest in graduate study to get hands-on experience assisting with a psychology course taught by a faculty member.

To enroll in PSYC 496, obtain the consent of a professor who will supervise you, download a PSYC 491/492/496 Consent Form (in *.rtf format), complete it and obtain your supervising professor's signature. Give one copy of the signed form to the undergraduate psychology advisor (who will register you for the course) and keep a second copy for your records.

Psychology Club and Psi Chi

To learn more about student organizations such as Psi Chi and Psychology Club, visit the student organizations page or the bulletin boards across from the main psychology office. These student organizations allow you to get more involved in your discipline, and to develop social networking, helping (i.e., volunteering), and leadership skills.

facebookoff twitteroff vineoff linkedinoff flickeroff instagramoff googleplusoff socialoff