Independent Study Courses (494/495)

The Psychology Department offers two courses called Independent Study. In them, students arrange to work with a faculty member on an independent project or for credit doing work in a faculty member’s lab.

Independent study is a good opportunity for students to understand the research process from the ground up and experiencing first-hand what goes into the process of collecting data and writing a paper. While the course is through arrangement with individually faculty members and what is required may differ between the faculty, most faculty require working a set number of hours in a laboratory, attending laboratory meetings, and writing a final paper for the course. 

The following is a link to one professor’s syllabus for the class. Other syllabi may differ substantially. You should contact individual faculty and request information about their expectations for Independent Study, as faculty differ in how they arrange for students signing up for 494 or 495. It is highly recommended that you schedule a meeting with a faculty member or go to their office hours and discuss what you would be doing to receive credit, and not simply ask over email. You will need a special permission number from the faculty member to actually enroll in the class.  Many professors require students to apply to work with them, so students should assess their fit with any application requirements that professor may have (e.g., a minimum GPA).

Students can take up to four credits per semester, although generally most faculty agree to three credits per semester. This equates to nine hours of work per week, although not all of this work must be spent in the laboratory. Independent Study is not a substitute for Experimental Psychology & Lab (380, 381). The course students can take that substitutes for Experimental Psychology & Lab is 498: Capstone in Psychology. 

See a list of the labs.