Research Opportunities

Collaborating with faculty members conducting research in the Department can be a rich and rewarding experience for undergraduates interested in empirical psychology research, and for those seeking to apply to graduate programs in psychology or neuroscience. Graduate programs typically accept only applicants with extensive experience. Our Department offers several mechanisms by which students can take part in psychology research in the laboratory.

Research Opportunities, Reading and Research Tutorials, REBL

The Department of Psychology offers a variety of research opportunities including Reading and Research Tutorials. Reading tutorials ordinarily involve a review of professional literature on a subject agreed upon by the student and faculty member. Research tutorials involve either empirical or theoretical research of a more original nature. Students are also strongly encouraged to seek involvement in the Georgetown Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. The latter offers support for student research and has a competitive summer fellowship program.

Students are encouraged to join research labs and/or enroll in reading tutorials and independent research tutorials. Both reading and research tutorials taken under the guidance of a member of the Georgetown University Psychology Department faculty or under the collaborative guidance of a faculty member at another institution and a member of the Georgetown University Psychology Department faculty can be counted as elective courses toward the major or minor. In order to count as elective credits toward the Psychology major or minor (Research Tutorial or REBL), student research activities must be under the direct supervision of a faculty member in the Georgetown University Psychology Department.  No more than six (6) credits of Tutorials or REBL can be counted toward the Psychology major or minor.  However, neither reading nor research tutorials can be used to satisfy the distribution requirements of the major. Research tutorials and/or participation in research are particularly recommended for any student wishing to pursue graduate study in psychology. Research Tutorials typically involve a student conducting a small project as part of the larger, ongoing research program of a faculty member. In most cases, a faculty member is not able to accept more than a few students for tutorials each semester.

Students also have the option to enroll in PSYC 401 – 403 Research Experience-Based Learning (REBL) and conduct research for course credit, including course credit in the major/minor. The learning goals for the REBL course draw on all of the learning goals of the undergraduate psychology program. Much of the work will target Goal 2 – Epistemological Foundations – because students will learn firsthand about the methods psychologists use for generating knowledge. Each specific research experience will also impart Foundational Knowledge (Goal 1) about the area of scientific inquiry in which you are participating, the skills and perspectives necessary to apply the knowledge to everyday life (Goal 3), and the Values in Psychology (Goal 4) involved in the ethical practice of research. REBL is available in the Fall and Spring semesters as well as the Full Term Summer Session. For more detailed information on REBL and how to enroll, please read the syllabus.

In planning an undergraduate program, majors should keep in mind that no more than fourteen (14) courses in psychology may be counted towards graduation. All courses are three (3) credits unless arrangements are made with the professor prior to registration. Permission of the instructor is required for all tutorials. Specific requirements are agreed upon between the student and faculty member, but typically, tutorials involve regular weekly meetings and require a paper due at the end of the semester. Tutorial registration forms may be obtained from the College Dean’s Office (108 White-Gravenor) and must be completed prior to registration.

Majors are advised to consult with faculty members early if they wish to do a tutorial. Students who are unsure which faculty members to approach for a tutorial on a given subject should consult with their advisor. Information about individual faculty is located on our Faculty page.

Other Research Resources:

This MATCHING TOOL will help you through the process of finding a Georgetown Psychology lab that fits your interests. We will ask you a couple of questions to gauge where your interests lie, and then we will use that information to make some recommendations. 

First, we want to address several misconceptions about research that are common amongst Georgetown students. These include students…

  • thinking that they have to have their own research idea. 
  • thinking that they work on a research project one-on-one with a professor. 
  • feeling like they have to wait until they are junior or senior to be qualified.
  • not knowing that in addition to joining a lab, they will also be a part of a larger research team and receive specialized training.

Even if the career you are interested in is not traditionally associated with research, participating in research can still be valuable! By becoming part of one of the Georgetown psychology labs you can develop skills required for data processing, critical thinking, critical analyses, communication, and much more. In addition, being part of a lab allows students to create strong connections with a specific professor and the other students in the lab.

Many research laboratories in the Department conduct empirical research projects in which they welcome the participation of undergraduates who wish to assist in the collection or coding of data, screening and recruitment of participants, and other elements of laboratory research such as conducting literature searches and attending weekly laboratory meetings. Please visit our Faculty pages to learn more about the research conducted by members of our Faculty.

The Georgetown Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (GUROP) offers highly motivated students the opportunity to learn more about research in a discipline of their choosing and experience the rewards of scholarly research by working with faculty on their research projects:

Students approved for GUROP must spend a minimum of 60 hours per semester/summer working with a faculty mentor on that faculty member’s research. Students receive a notation on their transcript for every semester of completed GUROP research.

In addition, GUROP provides competitive summer fellowships that support students working full time on research during the summer. To receive a summer fellowship, students must typically have already been engaged in GUROP research during the Spring and/or Fall.

Students wishing to engage in in-depth research with a member of the Faculty can opt to do so by enrolling in a Research Tutorial. Information on pursuing this option can be found in the Undergraduate Handbook.

Students may enroll in PSYC 401 – 403 Research Experience-Based Learning (REBL) and conduct research for course credit, including course credit in the major/minor. For more information, see the Undergraduate Handbook.

Download the REBL syllabus and form to enroll.

Listed below are current studies being run by our faculty that are looking for research participants.

  • Thinking Styles Study ($10 Amazon Credit): We are studying the Shape of Thought: processes involved during creative cognition. Eligibility criteria include being between 18 and 45 years of age with no significant neurological disorders. Your participation will entail online tasks and a questionnaire.
  • Brain Stimulation Research for Up to $280 (3-6 Sessions): The purpose of these studies are to determine the brain basis of reasoning using transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) and transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation (tACS), a technique by which small, safe electric currents are applied to the scalp, to test hypotheses about the brain basis of reasoning in healthy adults.
  • Religion and Beliefs Study (Up to $110 Amazon Credit): We are studying people who grew up in a Christian household but do NOT currently consider themselves to be religious. Eligibility criteria include being between 18 and 45 years of age, having grown up in a non-Catholic Christian household and NOT currently being religious. Your participation will entail an online questionnaire and an MRI Brain Scan.

Students considering applying for graduate training in psychology or applying to medical school may wish to be involved in more intensive research in a laboratory over the summer. Summer research can be done on a volunteer basis, or can be supported by a summer grant from GUROP

In addition, a variety of other grants are available to support summer research for undergraduates. The Association for Psychological Science sponsors undergraduate summer research for members of Psi Chi, the International Honors Society in Psychology.

The Psi Chi website provides information on a number of other funding opportunities for undergraduate members of Psi Chi engaged in summer research (as well as research during the academic year).

The department also keeps a list of research opportunities for the upcoming summer: 2022 Summer Research Opportunities.

The Department of Psychology’s Honors Program provides enriched research training for a small group of the most motivated and accomplished psychology majors. Application procedure and criteria for acceptance can be found in the Undergraduate Handbook.

Download the Honors application form.

This award is for students engaged in significant research or scholarship that they will present or publish at a professional conference, publication or setting (including the arts). The Office of the Provost uses this program to provide funds for undergraduates who want to extend their undergraduate research efforts beyond the Georgetown campus in either traditional or innovative ways, in the form of conference presentations, publications, or performances. The Provost Undergraduate Research Presentation Awards (PURPAS) support students who want to bring the findings of their research to a professional or scholarly community, or to other venues. There are multiple mechanisms for supporting thesis and independent research on campus, such as tutorials, GUROP, Raines, Kalorama, and various research fellowships. However, limited funds are available for the creative and expansive dissemination of the results of research, through, for example, conference presentations, publications, and performances.

Students from all majors in all of Georgetown’s undergraduate schools are eligible for funding. Preference will be given to juniors and seniors who will be disseminating their work prior to graduation and in rare cases, immediately after graduation. Without exception, students must apply prior to graduation. Faculty sponsors must be Georgetown faculty, but can be from any school or discipline. For more information on the award and how to apply, please visit the PURPAS web page.

Visit the School of Medicine’s website for information on the Dean of Medical Education’s Academy for Research, Clinical, and Health Equity Scholarship (ARCHES).

ARCHES is a six-week program for ten undergraduate students who are rising juniors and rising seniors interested in pursuing medical studies.This program engages selected participants in clinical experience, guided research, and immersive service at Georgetown University.

Visit the website for the Office of Fellowships, Awards, and Resources for information on fellowships available to Georgetown students.

Students who wish to broaden their training may wish to apply to work in a laboratory at an institution other than Georgetown during the summer. The American Psychological Association supplies a list of psychology programs seeking summer research assistants from outside institutions, and the Department often sends out announcements about such opportunities over its Majors and Minors ListServ. If you find you are missing from this ListServ please e-mail Molly Anderson to be added.

Outside research opportunities are also posted on the department’s psychology job and research opportunities blog.

For students interested in health-related research, the National Cancer Institute offers research fellowships in which students can pursue placements in the Behavioral Research Program or other parts of the division.