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Research Philosophy

In addition to the traditional liberal arts mission, the Psychology faculty at Colorado College is committed to teaching psychology as a science and to providing research opportunities for students. The faculty recognize that research opportunities are valuable educational experiences, both to students interested in experimental and clinical or counseling work. For those interested in experimental work, research opportunities provide valuable experience and help to develop foundational skills in research. For those interested in clinical or counseling work, research opportunities also provide skills valued by graduate schools while at the same time helping future counselors to be discerning users of research on the efficacy of therapeutic treatment techniques.

Research Opportunities

(See the Major Requirements section for how these courses fit into the major.)

The PY202 Research Design and one Research Experience course (PY251 or PY451) listed below are built into the program.  The Psychology faculty welcomes inquiries from students interested in gaining additional research experience either for credit (PY251) or on a volunteer basis (VRA) helping with ongoing faculty projects.  No prior experience is necessary, though course prerequisites may be, and taking the initiative to inform faculty of your interest reflects favorably on your potential for success as an assistant.

PY202 Research Design

All Psychology and Neuroscience majors are required to complete PY202 as a cornerstone of the curriculum.  In addition to gaining a foundation in statistics and methodology, each student in the course must gather data and complete an empirical research project and research paper.

PY251 Psychological Investigations

This course for credit or PY451 is required for Psychology majors to satisfy the Research Experience Requirement.  Psychology majors and other students may also take this course, when available, simply to gain additional research experience.  Typically the structure of the research endeavor for this course is arranged by the faculty though a student-proposed endeavor may be possible in some instances.  Students of any class standing that have completed Introductory Psychology are encouraged to inquire of the faculty about PY251 opportunities.  (Faculty Page)

PY451 Final Project (Thesis)

This course for credit or PY251 is required for Psychology majors to satisfy the Research Experience Requirement.  Neuroscience majors may also apply to take PY451 as an optional course.  This intensive thesis project is planned and executed in the last two years at the college and results in a research article.  More detailed information about PY451 Final Project can be found on the webpage in this section. (Faculty Page)

Volunteer Research Assistant (VRA)

Not to be confused with a "research participant," a volunteer research assistant helps a faculty member with some aspect of his or her ongoing research but in a less intensive capacity than a PY251 Research Assistant. As the name applies these are volunteer opportunities and carry no credit or funding.

Community Volunteer

The faculty work regularly with many community agencies and organizations, for example with mental health facilities, brother and sister groups, on hotlines, etc. These agencies often have need for unpaid volunteers and offer learning experiences valuable for students interested in a career in psychology. Discuss opportunities with faculty and see the Colorado College Collaborative for Community Engagement page.

Funding Opportunities

Psychology Department Funding

The Psychology Department supports majors’ research projects through the Sabine Fund. Psychology and occasionally Neuroscience majors can request funds from the Department Chair. Neuroscience majors can request funds from the Vernon Smith Fund. Applications are considered on a rolling basis. Speak to your advisor about applying.

The Psychology Department may also provide other project resources, such as loaner laptops, recording devices, or other equipment.

Colorado College Funding Opportunities for Students

The College maintains a web page detailing the many sources of college-wide funding for which students may apply.  Students are strongly encouraged to investigate these excellent opportunities.

Dean's Scholarship and Grant Opportunities Pages

The Dean's Office maintains web pages describing a number of nationally competitive fellowships.