Opportunities for Student Research
The department encourages students to enhance their classroom education with hands-on experience conducting psychological research. First-years and sophomores who have completed at least one course in psychology are encouraged to participate in guided research for course credit (PSYC 250H, PSYC 250). Juniors and seniors who have completed several courses in psychology can pursue independent research for course credit or research-related internships in off-campus field settings (PSYC 350H, PSYC 350). Students who meet the qualifications for honors may be invited to participate in the honors program (PSYC 360/370). Several college-sponsored programs allow students to conduct research in collaboration with a faculty member over the summer (Social Science Summer research, Science Center summer research). All student researchers have the opportunity to present their work at the Science Center Poster Session, at the all-campus Ruhlman Conference each spring, and at various undergraduate and professional conferences around the country.
Getting Started with Research
First, identify a faculty member whose research area overlaps with your interests, and contact the faculty member directly to discuss your interest in gaining research experience. You and the faculty member will work together to develop a research project.
Student Research Experiences
"Throughout the last year, I have been working with Tracy Gleason, a Wellesley College developmental psychology professor, on a research project on children’s imaginary companions. With Professor Gleason’s guidance and expertise on the topic of imaginary friends, my lab partners and I have examined the various types of relationships and interactions that children with imaginary companions develop. Throughout the last year of research I have gained valuable experience in helping organize a research study, interacting with preschool-age participants, coding and collecting data, and presenting my findings both for the Ruhlman Conference and for the final poster session at the end of the Summer Research in Social Sciences program. I am excited to continue the current study on imaginary companions next year and look forward to learning more about preschoolers’ friendships, interactions, and types of play!" - Svetlana Ruskin '10
Child Study Center
The Wellesley College Child Study Center is a laboratory preschool under the direction of the Psychology Department. Students and faculty can observe, conduct approved research, volunteer, or assistant teach in classes with children ages two to five.
Internships in Psychology
Students may take advantage of the psychology internship program, which offers placements in local hospitals and mental health facilities, preschools, rehabilitation centers, businesses, and research institutes in the Boston area. Students receive course credit for their work (PSYC 299: Practicum in Psychology). Sample placement sites include:
- Germaine Lawrence (residential treatment center for girls)
- Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for the Aged
- Mother Caroline Academy and Education Center
- Children's Hospital
- Autism Alliance of Metrowest
- South Middlesex Opportunity Council
- Arnold Worldwide Communications (advertising firm)