Applying for Research Positions
As a Psychology major at URI, you’ll have opportunities to work directly with our outstanding faculty on a wide range of research topics. These experiences may count towards your experiential learning requirement, PSY 489: Problems in Psychology.
To apply for a research position with a faculty member, follow this 5-step guide:
- Identify what areas of psychology interest you the most. Are you interested in learning more about ADHD? Substance Abuse? Assessments? Reading? Cognitive? Qualitative research? Quantitative Research? Other? What about psychology and research interests you the most? What are you hoping to gain from the experience? During this time, you also should start preparing a resume. For assistance writing a resume, we encourage you to visit the URI Center for Career and Experiential Education.
- Now that you have identified your interests, review the faculty section of the department website. Read each faculty member’s interests and publications. Narrow down your list by identifying the faculty members who share similar interests as you.
- Email 1-2 faculty members who conduct research in areas you would like to learn more about. The e-mail should be thoughtful and well written. They want to know you are informed, interested, and capable.
- Take the time to introduce yourself and your background; identify how your research interests might align with the faculty person you are contacting. Make it clear that you would like to learn more about her/his area of specialization.
- Include what you are hoping to do as a potential research assistant, while also highlighting how your skills could be beneficial. Let them know you have attached your resume to provide more information. Note that you are hoping gain experiences that will further your personal goals (outline this personal goal in your email).
- Finally, ask if there are any research positions available or if they know of any graduate students doing similar research who might need a research assistant. (NEVER ASSUME there is a position open.) Ask if you might be able to meet to talk.
- End the email by thanking them for their time and consideration. Be thoughtful.
- ALWAYS PROOFREAD YOUR EMAILS AND RESUMES!
- If the faculty members email you back and say:
- There are no positions available, thank them for their reply and then email the next two faculty members on your list.
- They do not have any open positions, but their graduate student might have an opening. Thank them and ask for the student’s email address (if needed — try the student directory first) and send the graduate student a personalized email similar to the one above, except note that you were referred to them by Dr.____________.
- There is a position available, then you should ask for a meeting at the faculty member’s convenience to discuss the possibility of working together. Prep for the interview and bring your resume.
- Once you are chosen for a research position, ask for a permission number to sign up for that professor’s section of PSY 489: Problems in Psychology.