Educational Opportunities

The Psychology Department at UCSC invites you to delve into Independent Study Opportunities that transcend traditional lectures and sections. These experiences are crafted to foster a holistic approach to education, encouraging students to apply facts, test theories, and enhance their proficiency in specialized domains.

We offer four distinctive 'Educational Opportunities,' each promising a unique learning journey that taps into your accumulated academic skill set. These avenues serve as an ideal platform for motivated students to garner hands-on experience in the realms of Psychology and Cognitive Science, a valuable asset for their post-undergraduate endeavors and beyond.

Field Study

PSYC 193 (5 units per quarter, 2 quarter commitment, P/NP)

The Basics: Participate in local internships in fields related to psychology or cognitive science for ten hours weekly. You'll be assigned a faculty sponsor and must attend regular meetings with them. Additionally, engage in two skill-building workshops each quarter and maintain a journal to track your growth and experiences.

Who to contact: Carrie Walker, Field Study Director for the Psychology Department. Interested students must attend a Field Study Info Session the quarter before they'd like to start field study.

Requirements: Must be a declared junior or senior Cognitive Science or Psychology major, in good academic standing that has completed PSYC 100. Student must attend a Field Study Info Session and submit an application. *Info Sessions are offered in fall, winter and spring quarters only.

The Real Deal: Provides a world of experience, precise integration of theory and skill, looks good for graduate school (shows initiative and professional integrity), a look into the real world of psychology, lets you know if this is what you really want to be doing, a place to develop a closer relationship with faculty. One quarter can be used as an upper division elective for the Psychology and Cognitive Science majors (2 quarters meets the advanced course requirement for the Intensive concentration).

Undergraduate Research

PSYC 194 (5 units, repeatable for credit)

The Basics: Work on faculty member research, meet regularly in groups with faculty research supervisor/graduate researcher to discuss your progress on the project, and writes your narrative evaluation. Utilize research methods and data analysis to help with various aspects of the project.

Who to contact: Psych 194 listings are available online. Contact the faculty member/ graduate student or follow instructions on posting.

Requirements: Each faculty member has different requirements, it is usually required that you have taken Psych 100.  

The Real Deal: An excellent way to prepare for graduate school, develop relationships with faculty and graduate students, looks good on a resume (shows educational professionalism), shows you whether or not research is for you.

Senior Thesis

PSYC 195 (5 units per quarter)

The Basics: Work closely with faculty on a research project. After research is completed, a paper is written which is read and approved by two faculty members.

Who to contact: More details regarding the process and links to all required forms can be found online. Email with general questions.

Requirements: First, find a faculty member to sponsor your senior thesis. Second, complete the application.

The Real Deal: Develop ideas in collaboration with a faculty member and conduct your own research. A great way to prepare yourself for what you will be doing in graduate school and a possibility of getting your research published. Shows responsibility and initiative on resumes and graduate school applications.

Peer Advising (5 units, repeatable for credit) - Through our Field Study Program

  • The Basics: Help advise students in the Psychology Department for nine hours a week, and complete a project and paper. Provide answers and advice for students with specific questions and general curiosity about the opportunities and working of the Psychology and Cognitive Science majors.
  • How: Go to a Field Study Info Session and then once admitted, apply to be a peer advisor.
  • The Real Deal: Get to know faculty and staff on a more personal level, learn about opportunities first, get experience in career/vocational/school counseling, a great way to get some face time with peers and get to know people. Shows responsibility and initiative on resumes and for graduate school.