Psych student research

Undergraduate research opportunities

The Department of Psychology encourages undergraduate majors to be involved in research opportunities. Common methods for becoming involved in research include: 

  1. Working with a faculty member as a research apprentice (credit via PSY 308: Research Apprenticeship). At least once each semester (1-2 weeks before registration opens), faculty members who are recruiting for research apprentices will post their project on the PSY Faculty Research Apprentice Needs table. NOTE: Please log in to your browser with your UWL EagleID before clicking the link. Read all of the columns on the table before contacting the faculty member to set up an appointment to discuss the project.
  2. Completing the Psychology departmental Honors Program (see info below) and/or designing independent research with a faculty member.
  3. Designing an independent research project in conjunction with a faculty member who is willing to oversee the project (credit via PSY 481: Individual Project).
  4. Some students will be eligible for the McNair Scholars Program - please review their website.
Gaining experience with psychological research expanding section

Some instructors offer extra credit for participating in psychological research conducted by UWL's Psychology Department, but anyone can volunteer to participate in these studies. To browse and enroll in psychology studies currently being conducted, please visit the Sona System website (UWL's web-based system for signing up to participant in psychological research).

Info on the Psychology Honors Program expanding section

The Honors Program is a nine-credit, multi-semester sequence that starts Spring semester designed to give qualified students the opportunity to design and conduct independent psychological research under the supervision of a faculty adviser. Traditionally, students complete the program in three semesters, the first semester in the Spring of their third year (i.e., junior year) and the remaining two semesters during their last year (e.g., senior year). The Honors Seminar (PSY 489) is only offered in the Spring, and the application for the Honors Program is due at the time of Fall registration. Full details are available at

Grant & research opportunities expanding section

Information regarding domestic and international grants for UWL undergraduate research can be found at /urc/.  Examples of successful psychology grants are linked below under "examples."

2. The McNair Program - McNair Scholars must either be low-income, first generation college students AND/OR be members of a traditionally underrepresented group in their field (usually African American, Latino/a, Native American and/or Asian Pacific Islander). It is STRONGLY recommended that psychology majors apply to McNair after enrolling in or completing PSY331.

3. Resources for external scholarships and research experiences for psychology undergraduates.

Presentation & publication opportunities expanding section

Presentation & publication opportunities

The most common conferences at which UWL psychology students present their work are listed below (UWL Celebration, MPA, & NCUR). Several other presentation options are available - please discuss with your faculty advisor. Each conference and journal has its own application processes and guidelines (one size does not fit all).

 *As undergraduates, students may present the same poster at multiple events.  However, job applications, graduate school essays and resumes should be clear that each presentation was regarding the same research project.

**All projects presented involving human participants must have received IRB approval.

UWL Celebration of Student Research and Creativity (Spring Semester)

The Annual UWL Celebration of Student Research & Creativity  


  • Abstract due - Late February
  • Conference - Late April

Student details

  • Psychology Students: Encouraged
  • Psychology students who received research grants: required to submit and present (poster or oral)
  • Psychology Honors Students: must present in a conference forum (UWL Celebration is a recommended forum - as a poster)

MPA - Midwestern Psychological Association (late April/early May) 

Midwestern Psychological Association (MPA) - Chicago, IL

INFORMATION for first-time attendees


  • Abstract due - Early November
  • Conference - Mid April

Student details

  • Psychology Students: Optional
  • Psychology students who received research grants: Optional
  • Psychology Honors Students: Encouraged

NCUR - National Council on Undergraduate Research

NCUR   UWL sponsors a set of students. NOTE: If multiple authors, only 1 student can be funded (no exceptions)


  • Abstract due - Early December
  • Conference - April

Student details

  • Psychology Students: Optional
  • Psychology students who received research grants: Optional
  • Psychology Honors Students: Optional

Publication opportunities

Publication is an option for students who have completed strong research designs with interesting results.  Follow the author instructions for whichever journal you choose exactly.  You may not have the same article under review at more than one journal at a time.



  • Undergraduate research journals provide quicker turn-around time for reviews and are more accepting of design issues such as smaller samples.  Turn around time is important to consider for graduate school applications deadlines. 
  • Academic content journals are more prestigious and have a larger audience. 
  • Authorship?  Make sure that student author(s) and faculty advisors are comfortable with whatever authorship decisions are made. Link to helpful chart regarding authorship and a sample publication contract
  • Faculty members make better contact authors (need not be first author) as they tend to have more stable contact information. 
Preparing and printing a poster expanding section

Posters are a visual medium - reduce text! Samples are hanging on the 3rd floor of Graff Main Hall.

Prepare a 2-minute oral "overview" for people who ask "What did you find?" or "Tell me about your study?" that involves you directing them visually to key components of your poster/study. 

  • Step 1: Confirm the appropriate size poster needed for your particular conference. If you are presenting at more than one conference, make your poster in the smallest size.
    • NCUR - no larger than 46" x 40" (width X height)
    • MPA - no larger than 5' X 3' (width X height)
    • NASP - no larger than 5' X 3' (width X height)
  • Step 2: Design your poster as a single PowerPoint slide AFTER setting the slide to be the ultimate size of the poster wanted.  Video showing how to set a slide to your poster size. 
    • You can download examples of templates from one of several sites - make sure to download the correct size.
    • Title lettering should be at least 1" tall. For the primary text no font should be smaller than 18 and we recommend 22-24. 
    • Please include UWL Logo on the poster - download 
    • Please include your faculty advisor's name and a reference to the psychology department: e.g., Faculty Sponsor - Alex O'Brien; Psychology
    • To reduce text, we recommend reducing your abstract, intro, method, results, and discussion to one double-spaced page per section FIRST before placing cutting paste text to the poster template.
    • Keep APA style for referencing and presenting statistical data - but for text presentation, tables and figures you are freed up to be more creative. You may use bullets and you may bold or highlight important components. In addition, for the format of the poster, you may want do center the results visually and place the other elements based on what makes sense and is easy to read.
    • Grant recipients should include an acknowledgement phrase.  Examples: This research was supported by an UWL Undergraduate Research Grant."  OR "The authors gratefully acknowledge a grant from the UWL Undergraduate Research and Creativity Committee."
  • Step 3: Have your advisor review your poster for typos/errors etc.  

  • Step 4: Printing your poster. PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR POSTER FOR PRINTING A WEEK IN ADVANCE. We recommend against lamination - it makes the posters difficult to read. 
    • Grant recipients should work with Jane Fredrick (Psychology Academic Department Associate) to submit the order to DigiCopy electronically through the department's account - making sure to let her know if you have grant money to help pay for the cost. 
    • Graduate students should apply for funding through Graduate Studies Office.
    • If you do not have funding through the university, we recommend DigiCopy (mention UWL for a discount and have your student ID card). You can submit your file online.  
    • The cost will be ~$30.
    • Check your final printing for errors before presenting.
The department would appreciate keeping your posters after you present (bring to 335 GMH).