Students who have completed Introductory Psychology can take directed study credit for 1, 2, or 3 credit hours. Half credits (1.5, 2.5) are also possible. No more than three hours of directed study may be counted toward the 32 hours required for the major; a maximum of five hours may be counted with more than 32 hours in the major. Directed study provides an opportunity for students to get involved in research with a faculty member. In some cases, students assist with ongoing research in a faculty member’s lab; in other cases, students carry out their own study under the supervision of a faculty member. Another possibility is that students do library research and write a paper on a topic under the supervision of a faculty member.
The student’s time commitment for a directed study is as follows:
- 1 hour of credit: a minimum of 3 hours/week on average (45 hours/semester)
- 2 hours of credit: a minimum of 6 hours/week on average (90 hours/semester)
- 3 hours of credit: a minimum of 9 hours/week on average (135 hours/semester)
Expectations for time commitment and type and amount of work will vary to some extent across different research projects. The student should clarify expectations with a particular faculty member prior to making a commitment to a project.
The faculty’s commitment to a directed study is to supervise the student as necessary in their research. Contact with the faculty typically involves a minimum of one hour per week, either in lab or individual meetings with the student.
The value of a directed study cannot be overemphasized, particularly for students considering graduate school. First-hand experience in research as well as the opportunity for a faculty member to get to know a student well can be extremely helpful with respect to making choices about graduate school as well as having a competitive application (see also “Why Does the Psychology Department Emphasize Research?” on p. 10). Faculty research projects are listed on the faculty information pages at the end of this handbook. Students are expected to approach faculty whose research matches their interests about directed study opportunities. Faculty look forward to hearing from students interested in their research, so students should never hesitate to contact individual faculty members about such opportunities.