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Opportunities for Undergraduates

As a psychology major, you have various ways to become involved in research: lab or research courses; the department’s Honors Program; directed study and/or capstone research; year-round, noncredit opportunities; and Fall Fest/Academic Spree Day projects.

The department offers the following research courses, which fulfill the major’s laboratory/research requirement.

  • PSYC 203 Research in Stigma, Intersectionality, and Health (Overstreet)
  • PSYC 205 Research in Child Development across Contexts (Marcelo)
  • PSYC 210 Research in Ideology and Violence (Stewart)
  • PSYC 213 Research on College Student Learning and Development (Budwig)
  • PSYC 215 Research on Child Mental Health (Heberle)
  • PSYC 217 Research in Learning, Language, and Cognition (Esposito)
  • PSYC 221 Research in Social Psychology (Ulug)
  • PSYC 223 Research in Motivational and Emotional Development in Children and Adolescents (Grolnick)
  • PSYC 224 Research on Identity Development (Bamberg)
  • PSYC 225 Research on Collective Victimization and Oppression (Vollhardt)
  • PSYC 226 Research in Men’s Mental Health (Addis)
  • PSYC 227 Research in Addictive Behaviors (Palm Reed)
  • PSYC 231 Couples Research (Cordova)
  • PSYC 232 Research in Community (Cardemil)
  • PSYC 235 Research in Diverse Families (Goldberg)
  • PSYC 292 Capstone Research (Fulfills the Capstone requirement)
  • PSYC 297 Honors (Fulfills the Capstone requirement)

* The Psychology major research requirement also can be fulfilled by taking a lab course (PSYC 200-214)

The Psychology Honors Program is a two-semester sequence that begins in the fall semester of the senior year. Honors work in psychology is open to students who have demonstrated high scholastic achievement and the motivation and ability to work as scholars. Students in the program conduct an independent research project under the supervision of one or more faculty members. This research provides the basis for a thesis that, upon completion, is presented and defended by the student before an examining committee and the student’s project adviser. Students considering graduate study in psychology or another related discipline are strongly encouraged to consider applying to the honors program.

Students interested in doing an honors project must be juniors who have an overall GPA of 3.5 or higher to be eligible to apply to the honors program. In addition, all applicants must identify on the application a specific faculty sponsor with whom they will be working during their senior year. This faculty sponsor should submit a letter of support as part of the application, attesting to his/her willingness to mentor the student. It is highly recommended that students who wish to apply to the program seek out a sponsor at the beginning of their junior year, as individual faculty mentors may require their honors students to register for a research course or directed study during the spring semester of junior year. Students should communicate clearly with their faculty sponsors regarding expectations for prior research involvement.

Examples of recent honors theses topics are:

  • Seeking Self-Certainty in an Uncertain Time: Attachment Style and Self-Esteem in Emerging Adulthood
  • Distress Tolerance as a Mediator of Borderline Personality Symptoms and Anxious Attachment, and Obsessive Relational Intrusion (ORI): An Exploratory Study
  • Autism, Aggression, and Courtesy Stigma: Public Perception of Parents with Children on the Spectrum
  • Alcohol Use, Social Norms, and Sense of Belongingness Among College Students and Recent Graduates
  • The College Selection Process of Student Athletes

Students who have completed one research course can then meet the capstone requirement by signing up for a Capstone Research course (Psyc 292) with the same faculty member, or with another faculty member with permission.

Take a look at the faculty members’ research interests. Contact individual professors if you are interested in conducting research on a credit or non-credit basis.

Clark undergraduates have presented their research and creative work annually at Academic Spree Day (ASD), held in Higgins University Center. During this highlight of the academic year, the Clark community celebrates student work produced under the mentorship of the University’s distinguished faculty. Fall Fest, held annually in November, was established in 2000 as a venue to showcase work accomplished over the summer. Students must be invited to participate by a sponsoring faculty member. During both events, undergraduates:

  • Display their research findings.
  • Present papers.
  • Participate in panel discussions.
  • Exhibit artwork in a variety of media.
  • Perform musical compositions and theatrical sketches.

Examples of recent presentations at Fall Fest and Academic Spree Day:

  • Cultural Values and Prevalence of Marijuana Use Between Asian American and Asian International College Students
  • Narrative, Nostalgia and Friendship in Stand By Me
  • The Relationship Agency Scale: A Scale Validation Study
  • Moving Away From Monogamy: The Effects of Modern Romance on the Creation of Relationships
  • Desire for Openness and Honesty about Distress among College Men

The Herman A. Witkin Memorial Fellowship was established by Dr. Evelyn Witkin in memory of her husband, Herman A. Witkin, a distinguished psychologist who was internationally known for his programmatic work on cognitive style, and is awarded to an inspired, innovative, and extraordinary undergraduate student for his or her pursuit of research in psychology. The recipient of the Witkin Fellowship is selected through an application process in the spring of junior year and receives a stipend of up to $1,000 to fund an independent research project to be undertaken with a faculty member in their senior year.

The Simon and Eve Colin Award for Undergraduate Creativity in Psychology is presented annually to a rising senior psychology major. The award is given by the Colin family in recognition of the many values associated with active undergraduate participation in research. The recipient of the Colin Award is selected through an application process in the spring of junior year, and receives a stipend of up to $2,500 to fund an independent research project to be undertaken with a faculty member in their senior year.

University-wide Funding Awards for Research and Creative Work

The Lee Gurel/John E. Bell Endowed Student/Faculty Achievement Award was established by Lee Gurel, class of ’48, in honor of Professor John Elderkin Bell, a former clinical psychologist in Clark’s Psychology Department and a pioneer in the field of family therapy. The award provides a $1,000 prize at Commencement to an outstanding senior psychology major, as well as an additional $1,000 prize to the Clark faculty member identified by the student as most influential in his or her academic development.

Outstanding Undergraduates in Psychology are those seniors chosen by the department each year who excelled in their major, as well as in their involvement at Clark and in the community.

Recent Award Recipients

Student Research Stories

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Contact Information

Frances L. Hiatt School of Psychology

Office Location
  • Jonas Clark Hall, 3rd floor
    950 Main Street
    Worcester MA 01610
  • 1-508-793-7274
  • 1-508-793-7265 Fax