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.

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.)

Department’s Required Ethical Training

All undergraduates working in human subjects labs must complete the Department’s Ethical Training prior to working in any human subjects labs.  This is a mandatory, one time only, training.

Pre-registration is required due to space limitations. There will be up to 20 available spots per session to allow for distancing between attendees. Please fill out the registration form and complete the required CITI training, details below, prior to attending the Ethics Training.

Please email the instructors, Trina Harmon (tmharmon@umass.edu) and Irina Orlovsky  (iorlovsky@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 Fall 2022 semester, contact the coordinators, for more information. Remote attendance may be an option. 

Day Time Location
FULL -  Wednesday, February 8th, 2023 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM Tobin 423
FULL - Thursday, February 9th, 2023 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM Tobin 423
Monday, February 13th, 2023 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM Tobin 423
Monday, February 13th, 2023 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM Tobin 423
FULL - Tuesday, February 21st, 2023 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM Tobin 521B
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2023 4:00 PM - 6:00PM Tobin 423
Monday, March 6th. 2023 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM Tobin 423

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

UMass's Required 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