RAs, TAs & Independent Studies

The psychology department provides students with many opportunities to supplement their coursework with educational experiences outside of the classroom. Students can receive up to 18 course credits for participating in these extremely valuable experiences. Students can also register for independent readings or research courses.

  • Research: If you are interested in conducting research you should review our research assistantships (RAs).
  • Teaching: If you are interested in helping teach other students, you should serve as a teaching assistant (TAs).
  • Internships: Those wishing to gain some experience “in the field” should participate in an internship

As you look for opportunities, you may find it useful to look at faculty descriptions to see which faculty members are doing research that may be related to your interests.

See links for CONTRACTS to register for TA, RA, or Indepdendent Study credits lower on this page.

Research Assistantships

Independent Studies

  • Advanced students who wish to pursue study of a subject outside the context of a class can do that by arranging independent readings or independent research with a faculty sponsor. 
  • Independent Readings in Psychology (Psych 396A) allows students to engage in scholarly research on a specific topic. The student must work with a faculty sponsor and develop a detailed plan of study together with the sponsor. The particular readings along with the nature of the paper that will be the culmination of the project should be detailed in the plan of study.
    To register for independent readings, secure a faculty sponsor and fill out the Psych 396A contract together.
  • Independent Study – Research (Psych 496A) allows students to engage in research in a psychology laboratory. This letter-graded research experience is generally appropriate for students who have prior research experience and who are ready to embark upon research that is relatively independent (a full study or a portion of a more extensive project). Students must find a lab to work in and a faculty sponsor. Together with the faculty sponsor, a plan of study is developed that describes the nature of the research, which includes information about the research report that will be submitted at the conclusion of semester.
  • To register for independent study research, secure a faculty sponsor and fill out the Psych 496A contract together.

Once you secure a position with a faculty member, you can submit your contract online through the links below.   

(Contracts can not be processed after the end of add/drop; after add/drop you need to complete a late add petition through the academic dean's office.
You can click to download the late add form here.)

Undergraduate Departmental Ethics Training

All undergraduates working in human subjects labs must complete the Department’s in-person Ethics Training before you may begin working.  This is a mandatory, one time only, training.

Pre-registration is required due to space limitations. There are 20 available slots per session. Please fill out the registration form to reserve one.  Prior to attending the Ethics Training, complete the required CITI training, details below.

Please email Kelly Tierney at ktierney@umass.edu with any questions regarding the Ethics Training.

If you are an undergraduate RA and not on campus or in the UMass Amherst area at all for the Spring 2024 semester, contact the coordinators, for more information. Remote attendance may be an option. 

                Fall 2023 Ethics Training Dates

Day Time Location
Tuesday February 6, 2024 FULL 10:00 am - 12:00 pm Tobin 423
Thursday February 8, 2024 FULL 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm Tobin 423
Tuesday February 13, 2024 FULL 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm Tobin  423
Wednesday February 14, 2024 FULL 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm Tobin 521A
Tuesday February 20, 2024 FULL 11:00 am - 1:00 pm Tobin 423
Thursday February 22, 2024  FULL 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm Tobin 423
Monday February 26, 2024 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm ZOOM*
Wednesday March 13, 2024 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm  Tobin 521A

If you are an undergrad and have not taken this training, you may not work in a human subjects lab.

CITI Training

All Human Subjects personnel working in Human Subject labs must complete Group 2 Social and Behavioral Research Investigators and Key Personnel or Group 1 Biomedical Research Investigators and Key Personnel before beginning to work in the lab. If you have done CITI training at another institution, log in to CITI and affiliate your record with UMASS Amherst. CITI will tell you if additional modules are required.

Teaching Assistantships