Undergraduate Scholar Program

The Department of Psychology and Counseling is proud to recognize qualifying undergraduate Psychology majors with the distinction of Undergraduate Scholar. This program allows students to complete an independent research project under the supervision of a faculty advisor in the department.

Purpose

The Undergraduate Scholar Program in Psychology is designed to give outstanding Psychology majors a unique opportunity to engage in original research. Through hands-on experience, students are encouraged to think critically, to address questions systematically, and to communicate their findings. The goal of this program is to offer students an enriched research experience while giving them valuable tools for pursuing graduate school and preparing for a career in Psychology. Participating students will be involved in all levels of the research process, resulting in an undergraduate thesis and distinction as an Undergraduate Scholar at graduation.

Required Credentials:

1. Applicant must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0.

2. Applicant must have a 3.0 GPA in the psychology major.

3. Applicant must have completed a minimum of 72 hours of total coursework.

4. Applicant must have completed a minimum of 12 hours of psychology coursework.

Additional Requirements:

1. Student will notify the Chair of the Undergraduate Scholars Committee in the Department of Psychology and Counseling about their intent to participate by submitting a description of their research plan.

2. Student will complete and defend the project before graduation.

3. Student must give an oral presentation of both an initial proposal and a subsequent defense of his/her project to the department’s Undergraduate Scholars Committee.

4. Deadlines related to writing the paper, obtaining ethical approval, collecting data, proposing, and defending the project will be determined by the faculty advisor. Students should anticipate no less than one academic year (or 2 semesters) from development to completion. The typical sequence is as follows:

  • Student develops one (or a few) ideas for a research project.
  • Student finds a faculty member who will serve as an advisor for the project.
  • Student notifies the Chair of the Undergraduate Scholars Committee of their intent to become an undergraduate scholar by submitting a research plan.
  • Student enrolls in PSYC 4380 Independent Readings (optional) and develops a research proposal.
  • Student presents their research proposal in both document form and in a 15-minute oral presentation to the Undergraduate Scholars Committee. The oral presentation is followed by a question/answer discussion period.
  • Student obtains ethical approval for the research project.
  • Student enrolls in PSYC 4382 Independent Research (optional) and conducts the study.
  • Student presents their final research paper in both document form and in a 15-minute oral presentation to the Undergraduate Scholars Committee before the last week of classes the semester the student intends to graduate. The oral presentation is followed by a question/answer discussion period.
  • Student will receive written feedback regarding any requested changes by the committee following both the proposal and the final defense meetings.

 

Contact Dr. Jennifer Brinegar or Dr. Paul Nail for more information.