Get hands-on research experience for course credit.

What is PSYC240?

PSYC240: Research Experience is a new elective course aimed at helping interested students get involved in hands-on research experience in psychology for course credit. Students can join PSYC240 either after securing a volunteer position in a psychology lab on their own or by having a lab accept them in a new position through the PSYC240 Application Portal. Students can gain up to 3 credits across up to two semesters and can take the course only once. Students interested in gaining course credit for research experience after PSYC240 are encouraged to apply for a Directed Studies course.


How to join PSYC240

Students do not enrol in this course directly, but must instead use the PSYC240 Application Portal. Through this portal, students can either choose to change their existing volunteer position to PSYC240 or apply for a new position amongst the labs currently recruiting and using the portal. The portal typically opens every July, November, and April, and closes after the add/drop period for the subsequent term.

If applying to convert an existing volunteer position, students must provide the contact information for a member of their current lab who can approve this change. Afterward, they are enrolled in the course by the Department of Psychology.

If applying for a new position, students select from a list of labs that currently have open positions, submit their Resume/CV, and transcript, and answer a series of questions. Once submitted, labs review the applications and contact the students they are interested in accepting. If the student and the lab mutually agree on the position, the student is enrolled in the PSYC240 course by the Department of Psychology.

Whenever the portal opens in W2, the number of labs that are looking for new positions is significantly reduced (usually 3 – 5) compared to July. If there are no labs on the list that you are interested in applying in, please mark your calendar for late June to check when the summer portal will open, at which point we expect the full set of 20+ labs to have open positions.


How PSYC240 Works

PSYC240 is a variable-credit, pass/fail course. Each credit equates to 5h/week in a single semester in a research lab. Students can gain up to 3 credits total, and can choose to split their credits/hours across one or two semesters.

For example, a student and a lab might agree upon 5h/week (1 credit) in the first term, and then 10h/week (2 credits) in the second. Or, the student and the lab might agree to a flat 7.5h/week in both semesters for the same split. Or, they might agree upon 5h/week across both terms, achieving 2 total credits. The student and the lab agree upon the hours and credits as part of the approval process.

The course is pass/fail, with students achieving a passing grade by performing the duties expected of them in the lab, plus submitting a one-page reflection papers about their experiences for each credit they are taking.

The course also provides students with optional lectures on understanding how research works in psychology, careers in psychology, gaining research experience beyond PSYC240, and more. Students also learn about ethics in psychology research and complete a certification to demonstrate their competency.

Have more questions about the course?

Please read the FAQs at the bottom of this page.


The Application Process

If you are changing an existing volunteer position:

First, make sure that you speak with a member of the lab you are in and get approval to make the conversion. This is typically the lab manager, a graduate student, or the faculty themselves. Any lab in the Department of Psychology can support a student in PSYC240, including those not listed on the Application Portal.

Once you have approval from your lab: (1) apply using the standard PSYC240 portal, indicating that you are making a conversion and providing us with contact information for a member of the lab you are already in who can confirm your status; (2) once approved, you are added into the course by the PSYC240 Coordinator.

If you are applying for a new position:

Applying for a new position is a three-step process.

Step 1

Using the PSYC240 Application Portal you will be asked to submit the following information:

  • Your name, student number, and email.
  • A copy of your CV/resume, in PDF format.
  • A copy of your transcript (screenshot is fine), in PDF format.
  • The maximum number of hours you can commit to the lab in each term.
  • A list of labs that you are interested in joining (a full description of what each lab does can be found on this page and we strongly recommend you read it before starting this application).
  • For each lab you selected, a brief statement about why that lab interests you.
  • For some labs, you will answer additional questions about your qualifications (these can be viewed on their lab description pages linked above).
  • An optional demographic survey.

After you complete the application, you will receive a confirmation email, and the labs you selected will get notified with your information (your demographic details and the choice of other labs is not shared with any of the labs).

Step 2
Each lab then has their own protocols for additional information they might ask of you (e.g., references, an interview). This varies from lab to lab, but you will know what to expect by reading the description of the labs at the link above.

Step 3
Once a lab makes you an offer, you can accept or reject it. If you accept it, the PSYC240 coordinator will be notified, and you will be enrolled into the course.

When all lab positions are filled, the PSYC240 coordinator will email all of the students who applied, notifying them that recruitment is done at this time. If you are not contacted before this, it means that no lab chose to accept your application and that you should try again next time the portal opens.


Labs Currently Supporting PSYC240

The following labs have agreed to accept new applications for the PSYC240, (though some may not have positions for Fall 2023). Each lab has limited number of positions and once they have been filled the lab will be removed from the application itself, but their description will remain here. If you examine the portal and notice the lab is not listed there, it means that they are not actively recruiting for the upcoming cycle.

We suggest that you carefully read and make a list of labs you would be interested in applying to. Typically, students who submit applications where they explain in detail why their skills and interests are a good fit with the lab are much more likely to get a new position.

Please note that if you are interested in a lab that is not on this list, you are encouraged to apply to them directly using the details listed on their websites, and – if you gain a volunteer position – you can choose to convert it to PSYC240.

At the Behavioral Sustainability Lab (PI: Dr. Jiaying Zhao), we tackle environmental and financial sustainability issues such as climate change and poverty. We use psychological principles to design behavioral solutions to solve financial and environmental sustainability challenges. We do so by running field and lab experiments to promote behavior change in resource conservation, waste reduction, climate mitigation, and financial independence. These experiments draw upon principles and methods from cognitive science, judgment and decision making, behavioral economics, and social psychology.

Typical responsibilities of the RA include: assisting with data collection online, in the lab, or in the field; assisting with data analysis, drafting manuscripts, creating posters and slides; website design; and programming.

Minimum commitment: 10 hours/week
Minimal semester commitment: 2 semesters
Will References Be Requested: No
Will Transcript Be Requested: Yes
Will Interview Be Requested: Yes

The Baby Learning Lab, directed by Dr. Lauren Emberson, studies the capacity of the infant brain to learn, and how these capacities develop across the first months and years of life. To understand the learning mechanisms of the infant brain, we utilize both behavioural (i.e., quantifying actions or eye-movements) and neuroimaging (i.e., functional near-infrared spectroscopy or ‘fNIRS’) methodologies in our research. RAs perform a variety of tasks as a part of the Baby Learning Lab. RAs are trained to contact families to invite them to participate in our in-person studies; to prepare materials for upcoming studies; to help support family visits and fNIRS/eye-tracking data collection; and to code videos of infant behaviour. With experience, RAs are typically assigned to specific, ongoing projects that involve even more hands-on research experience; these specialized tasks may include performing literature reviews and helping with data processing and analysis.

  • Minimum Commitment: 10 hours/week
  • Minimum Semester Commitment: 2 semesters
  • Will References Be Requested: No (but a student can choose to submit them)
  • Will Transcript Be Requested: No
  • Will Interview Be Requested: Yes
  • Additional Information Required: A description of prior informal or formal experience that might be relevant to the position (working or interacting with infants, children, or parents), if any, and (2) a statement regarding how the student would support and contribute to equity, diversity and inclusion in the lab.

The Centre for Applied Morality is a social psychology lab that studies morality and how it intersects with religion, technology, and emerging cultural, social and economic trends. RAs will primarily help with running experiments. They will also be welcome to join lab meeting discussions, should they wish.

  •  Minimum Commitment: 5 hours/week
  • Minimum Semester Commitment: 2 semesters
  • Will References Be Requested: No
  • Will Transcript Be Requested: Yes
  • Will Interview Be Requested: Yes
  • Additional Information Required: No

At the Centre for Cognitive Development (PI: Dr. Odic), we are interested in how children think about number, space, and time, and how these early representations help them learn about language, mathematics, and metacognition. Students in our lab are trained on how to contact local Vancouver families by phone and email to invite them to come to our lab and participate in our studies. Students can expect to be part of a team that contacts families and will be trained on how to conduct the studies themselves both online and in our on-campus lab. We also expect that students will participate in weekly meetings that will help them grasp the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of the projects.

We are currently looking for Daycare RAs at our lab. In this position, you would book, commute to, and conduct studies at schools and daycares in the Vancouver area. For a more complete list of Expectations and Responsibilities for Daycare RAs, you can read our formal document on our website.

  • Minimum Commitment: 8 hours/week - 2 weekdays
  • Minimum Semester Commitment: 2 semesters.
  • Will References Be Requested: No
  • Will Transcript Be Requested: No
  • Will Interview Be Requested: Yes
  • Additional Information Required: description of previous experience working with children, if any.

The Centre for Gambling Research studies gambling from many angles, including cognitive and behavioural mechanisms and clinical relevance (see cgr.psych.ubc.ca). As common themes, we are interested in 1) understanding why some individuals experience gambling problems, often using observations from other areas of addiction science, 2) how the design features of modern gambling products affect cognition and decision-making, 3) understanding the risk potential of emerging forms of gambling. Projects could involve in-lab testing (i.e. participant-facing roles), or for students with a quantitative skillset, other projects might involve running online surveys or analysing secondary/scraped datasets. Some projects may require specific skills, e.g. familiarity with a particular coding language. Most projects involve small study teams that meet weekly or biweekly, and RAs are also encouraged to participate in our weekly lab meetings that will help them learn about other projects in the lab and contemporary issues in psychology and academia.

The Centre for Gambling Research takes on 5 – 10 undergraduate RAs each year, across a number of programs including Psyc240, summer placements (e.g. USRA), Directed Studies, COGS402 and voluntary placements. Some students join the lab after taking Dr Clark’s upper-level course, Psyc335, which provides a good background to research in this area, although this is not expected for Psyc240 applicants. We view Psyc240 as a program for students to begin gaining research skills, and this shapes our selection process, i) we prioritize students who do not have prior research experience, ii) we prioritize real-world experience over grades & transcripts. Based upon students’ answers to the additional questions below, we will short-list around 10 students for interview in late summer, and we expect to take on 1-2 students in September. Please note that our projects on video game loot boxes are extremely popular among UBC undergrads, and so emphasizing a love of video games may not be the best way to make your application stand out.

  • Minimum Commitment: 7.5 hours/week
  • Minimum Semester Commitment: 2 semesters
  • Will References Be Requested: No
  • Will Transcript Be Requested: No
  • Will Interview Be Requested: Yes

Additional Questions:

  1. What is it about studying gambling behaviour that appeals to you?
  2. What skills are you hoping to get from an RAship in Psychology?
  3. What transferable skills or experiences do you have from non-research-based positions that you would bring to this role? For example, do you have any experience with coding, graphical design, working with data, or customer-facing roles?
  4. From looking at our website or recent publications, do you have any further personal connections to possible projects being hosted by the Centre that would like to mention?

The UBC Centre for Infant Cognition’s research explores the origins of social and moral thought from a developmental perspective. In particular, we examine our tendency to judge individuals’ actions as good or bad, as deserving of reward or punishment, and as morally praiseworthy or blameworthy. We ask whether and how these social and moral evaluations influence our understanding of others’ future acts, their mental states, and their underlying personalities.  We also study how these evaluations affect our willingness to perform prosocial behaviours. We examine these questions using preverbal infants and young toddlers, in order to study the foundational origins of these processes before complex cognitive abilities (such as language and inhibitory control) fully develop, and prior to the influences of cultural norms and values. RA roles include: maintaining ongoing positive relationships with participating families including contacting families and scheduling appointments using a research database, setting up experimental equipment according to prescribed protocols (e.g. Eye-Tracking devices and recording materials), completing the consenting process with participating families, administering studies and assessments according to prescribed protocols, entering data into a research database according to established protocols, assisting with validating and cleaning of data assisting with data analysis. Opportunity to develop skills in R, SPSS, GitHub, Lookit, Adobe Suite, and Observer XT and a variety of looking-time software (such as PyHab, jHab).

  • Minimum commitment: 10h/week
  • Minimum semester commitment: 2 Semesters
  • Will references be requested: No
  • Will transcripts be requested: Yes
  • Will interview be requested: Yes
  • Additional information: None

Additional Questions:

  1. A research position at Centre for Infant Cognition involves working closely with babies and their families. In what ways do you think you would be a good fit for this role? (this includes interests, experiences and goals).
  2. A volunteer at the Centre for Infant Cognition will be expected to use a complex google calendar system and database. Describe why you believe you will be able to succeed in this context (this includes interests and experiences).
  3. Excellent customer service is a core value of the Centre for Infant Cognition. Explain your reasoning for how you would preform well in this area (this includes interests, experiences and goals).
  4. Describe any previous research experience or any research that you have come across in early childhood development that has interested you.
  5. Besides your previous answers to the questions above, why are you interested in volunteering with the Centre for Infant Cognition in particular?

At the Child and Teen Studies Lab (PI: Dr. Ann Cameron), we are examining the moral development of school-aged children and youths in varying contexts and relation to their different cultures. Cross-cultural quantitative and qualitative methods are used in our studies. Our objectives are to investigate young people's perceptions of when it is appropriate to tell lies and violate the rules and when it is preferable to tell the truth and follow a rule, as well as to identify children's perceptions of another’s trustworthiness. The latest study is the Development of Integrity Project which investigates how children decide to keep or break academic and athletic rules. Students in our lab are trained to work with young children and teenagers over the internet. Student RAs can expect to conduct and summarize information from literature reviews, receive specific ethical training for working with children and families, be part of a team that conducts studies online, and enter both qualitative and quantitative data. We also expect that students will participate in weekly lab meetings to understand better the theoretical and methodological foundations of the projects, to coordinate and collaborate with ongoing team work, and be on board to contribute to the dissemination of our findings.

  • Minimum Commitment: 6 hours/week.
  • Minimum Semester Commitment: 2 semesters.
  • Will References Be Requested: Yes, one reference contact is needed.
  • Will Transcript Be Requested: Yes.
  • Will Interview Be Requested: Yes.
  • Additional Information Required: None.

Coping with Neurological Symptoms Lab (Dr. Noah Silverberg; Clinical)

The Coping with Neurological Symptoms (CNS) Lab studies how people think about and cope with neurological symptoms (e.g., memory problems), how coping behaviours influence the experience and expression of symptoms, and how we can reduce symptoms and disability with rehabilitation interventions. To learn more, see: https://neuro.psych.ubc.ca/research/. Undergraduate students on their first research training placement are typically assigned to data checking, preparing data summaries, participant scheduling, document proofreading, and other miscellaneous research support tasks. They are also expected to attend monthly lab meetings and journal club meetings.

  • Minimum Commitment: 7.5 hours/week
  • Minimum Semester Commitment: 2 semesters
  • Will References Be Requested: No
  • Will Transcript Be Requested: No
  • Will Interview Be Requested: Yes
  • Additional Information Required: Statement of interest (what interests you about our lab, what research skills you would like to develop, preliminary career goals)

The Culture and Self Lab is spearheaded by Dr. Steve Heine, where we are working on different distinct research programs at the intersection of Cultural Psychology, Meaning Maintenance, and Moral Psychology. RAs will be expected to write and edit online survey studies, generate ideas for experiments, and oversee data collection. We also expect that students will participate in regular meetings in which ongoing research projects will be discussed.

  • Minimum Commitment: 5 hours/week
  • Minimum Semester Commitment: 1 semester
  • Will References Be Requested: We will request (but not require) any references from past research-related roles.
  • Will Transcript Be Requested: Yes
  • Will Interview Be Requested: Yes

Additional Information Required: Additional information addressing anything about your transcript that you think is not representative of your performance / abilities.

Additional Questions:

  1. Why are you interested in working with this lab?
  2. What research skills are you most interested in developing?
  3. In 1-2 sentences: What research question(s) would you like to study?
  4. Are there any things in your transcript that you think are a poor representation of your abilities?

The Depression, Anxiety, & Stress (DAS) Lab (PI: LeMoult) seeks to understand the onset, presentation, and course of depression and anxiety disorders in adolescents and adults. We are particularly interested in why some individuals experience depression and anxiety in response to stress and why others do not. We have a number of projects underway designed to answer these questions by investigating cognitive, emotional, and biological responses to stress and negative affect. Students in our lab can be trained on a variety of tasks, including running participant sessions (in-person and online), collecting biological measures (psychophysiological, cortisol, inflammation), inputting data, phone-screening participants for study eligibility, and performing literature searches. Students also participate in our bi-weekly lab meetings, in which we discuss projects and ideas, hold research presentations, and learn new research skills. All lab members are invited to participate in our bi-weekly Equity Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee meetings, where we work collaboratively to further the Lab’s commitment to EDI.

  • Minimum Commitment: 7.5 hours/week
  • Minimum Semester Commitment: 2 semesters
  • Will References Be Requested: No
  • Will Transcript Be Requested: No
  • Will Interview Be Requested: Yes
  • Additional Information Required: Lab-specific additional application sent later

At the Emotion & Self Lab (PI: Dr. Tracy), we study the evolutionary function, nonverbal expression, and psychological structure of emotions and self. Much of our research is focused on self-conscious emotions, but we also study more basic level emotions linked to moral behaviour as well as other complex social emotions like humility and schadenfreude. In all of our research, we tend to take a functionalist perspective – asking why questions about emotion and self, and seeking both ultimate and proximate answers. A student with research assistant position in our lab can expect to run psychological studies that involve Qualtrics surveys, roles as confederates, or other forms of assessment. Research assistants have the opportunity to participate in data analysis or study design depending on their interest as they advance within the lab.

  • Minimum Commitment: 7.5 hours/week
  • Minimum Semester Commitment: No minimum, but 2 semesters preferred.
  • Will References Be Requested: No
  • Will Transcript Be Requested: Yes
  • Will Interview Be Requested: Yes
  • Additional Information Required: N/A

The Infant Studies Centre, directed by Janet Werker, studies how infants perceive speech and acquire language during the first few years of life. To explore the roots and mechanisms of language development, we study infants growing up in different language environments (for example, those growing up monolingual versus bilingual) and utilize behavioural (i.e., eye-tracking), electrophysiological (i.e., ERP/EEG) and neuroimaging (i.e., fNIRS) methodologies. RAs perform a variety of tasks as a part of the Werker Lab. RAs will be trained to contact families to invite them to participate in our in-person and online infant studies; to prepare materials for upcoming studies; and to code videos of infant looking-time behaviour. With experience, RAs are typically assigned to specific, ongoing projects that involve valuable hands-on research experience; these specialized tasks may include performing literature reviews and directly supporting data collection, processing and analysis.

  • Minimum commitment: 10 hours/week
  • Minimal semester commitment: 2 semesters, but under exceptional circumstances could consider one term.
  • Will References Be Requested: No
  • Will Transcript Be Requested: Yes
  • Will Interview Be Requested: Yes
  • Additional Information Required: A description of prior experience that might be relevant to the position (working with infants, children, parents or in a research setting), if any.

This position is for a collaborative project between the Kingstone Lab and the Motor Skills Lab at UBC Sports Science. The project involves capturing and analyzing data of baseball player performance. Students would be expected to attend all assigned baseball practice sessions to collect video footage of pitching, hitting, and fielding movements. They would be taught on using specialized tools, including Rapsodo, KVEST, and Blast technology to help collect hitting metrics during practice sessions, and to use Rapsodo to collect pitching metrics during practice sessions. They would work closely with the research team to ensure data collection follows standardized protocols. No prior baseball/technology background required; all training will be provided. This position is especially suited for second-year students and above in Psychology or related fields with an interest in applied learning studies, especially if they have enthusiasm for learning and using sports-related data collection technologies. Availability during practice sessions from 4 pm to 10 pm, Monday to Friday.

  • Minimum Commitment: 3 hours/week.
  • Minimum Semester Commitment: 2 semesters.
  • Will References Be Requested: No.
  • Will Transcript Be Requested: Yes.
  • Will Interview Be Requested: Yes.
  • Additional Information Required: None

Additional Questions:

  1. We use Asset-Based Community Development as a central part of maintaining a thriving research community. As a student at one of the top academic institutions in the world, you have already accumulated many experiences and skills that inform your perspective and expertise. Tell us about an experience that has provided you with a unique skill you look forward to applying while working with us.
  2. Do you have an interest in sports? (It’s okay if the answer is no!)
  3. Our data collection times vary. Depending on which team you are assigned to work with, you might be working as late as 7:30 to 9:30 pm on weekdays (either Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday). Are you available to collect data during these times? (It’s okay if the answer is no – but if it is possible, please indicate yes!)

Although humans encounter countless novel experiences, many of these are not retained. Our research (PI: Daniela Palombo) focuses on behavioural and neural factors associated with how we form and retain autobiographical memories. For example, we ask questions about how emotion or reward affects what we remember. A branch of this research explores how memory varies across individuals. We approach this topic in a multifaceted manner, combining behavioral research with structural and functional neuroimaging. We are also interested in the adaptive value of memory. Remembering our past does not just service memory in its own right, it is also critical to our ability to predict and make decisions about future outcomes. We are currently seeking to better understand the cognitive and neural mechanisms by which memory may influence other cognitive functions, with a primary focus on imagination and decision making. Interested students will be invited to join a team of highly motivated researchers who love memory and imagination.

Some tasks for this position include: data entry, data checking, review of Qualtrics surveys, checking references, literature reviews, running or checking basic statistics (with help from a more senior RA), brainstorming ideas.

  • Minimum Commitment: preference for 5h/week and up
  • Minimum Semester Commitment: 2 semesters
  • Will References Be Requested: Yes
  • Will Transcript Be Requested: No
  • Will Interview Be Requested: Yes
  • Additional Information Required: Lab-specific application sent later.

We study how people’s goals and motivations interact with their beliefs and ideologies. Think topics like politics, morality, social inequality, and how we convince ourselves to hold onto beliefs that make us feel good even when evidence tells us they’re wrong. As a new RA, you might be asked to read and summarize scientific articles, make ratings of participants in our studies based on videos they’ve recorded or short essays they’ve written, learn how to use survey software like Qualtrics and / or data analysis softwares like R, and help create study materials.

  • Minimum commitment: 5h/week
  • Minimal semester commitment: 1 semester
  • Will References Be Requested: No
  • Will Transcript Be Requested: Yes
  • Will Interview Be Requested: Yes

Additional Information Required: Additional information addressing anything about your transcript that you think is not representative of your performance / abilities.

Additional Questions:

  1. Why are you interested in working with this lab?
  2. What research skills are you most interested in developing?
  3. In 1-2 sentences: What research question(s) would you like to study?
  4. Are there any things in your transcript that you think are a poor representation of your abilities?

At the PANGEA Lab (PI: Friedrich Götz), we study the many ways in which humans and their environments shape each other and what these person–environment–interactions mean for individuals and the places they live in.

The primary focus of research of our lab is geographical psychology, and more specifically, the causes and consequences of regional personality differences. We pursue an interdisciplinary Big Data approach that seeks to combine classic interactionist theories from social and personality psychology with an applied behavioural science perspective and consequential real-world outcomes.

However, we also pursue an eclectic mix of other projects related to personality – from using AI to develop better personality scales to charting our personality development across the lifespan, to studying the ways in which personality shaped individual and collective experiences and behaviours during the Covid-19 pandemic. These projects change each year and are driven by contemporary societal discourse and personal interests of the researchers involved.

We are united in diversity and the firm belief that the different views, experiences, and approaches that each of us brings to the lab are what brings us together as humans and what empowers us to do the best, most innovative, relevant, and mindful research that we can do. It is in this spirit, that we strive to create an inclusive, collaborative, and safe space that welcomes people from all backgrounds and offers equal opportunities for everyone without diminishing individual uniqueness.

  • Minimum Commitment: 5 hours/week
  • Minimum Semester Commitment: 2 semesters
  • Will References Be Requested: No
  • Will Transcript Be Requested: Yes*
  • Will Interview Be Requested: Yes
  • Additional Information Required: None

Additional Questions:

  1. Please tell us about why you are interested in joining our lab (250 words or less).
  2. Please tell us about the skills that you bring to the lab and the skills that you wish to gain from joining our lab (250 words or less).
  3. If available, please attach your class schedule.

*Your grades will be weighed less than your Statement of Interest (answers to “Additional Information Required”) and interview.

The Peer Relationships in Childhood Lab (PI: Dr. Mikami) is studying how children and adolescents interact with their friends, classmates, families, and teachers, and what interventions could help those youth who are having difficulty in these areas. Research Assistants in this lab will work on tasks such as reading transcribed answers that children gave to questions about their peers, and coding themes from these answers (based on a manual); checking whether participants (parents and children) have completed online questionnaires; entering questionnaires online; and possibly interviewing children over zoom about their relationships. There is a mandatory lab meeting every other week where Research Assistants will learn more about why we are doing the studies that we are, and to give more background on the research.

  • Minimum Commitment: 10 hours/week
  • Minimum Semester Commitment: 2 semesters
  • Will References Be Requested: Yes
  • Will Transcript Be Requested: Yes
  • Will Interview Be Requested: Yes
  • Additional Information Required: Any languages other than English with proficiency in reading/writing (e.g., could translate a study document), and speaking (e.g., could answer questions about a study document with a participant). Description of previous experience working with 5-12 year-old children, if any.

The research in the Rights Lab is broadly aimed to improve statistical and methodological practice in scientific research, particularly for psychology and related fields. More specifically, the work in this lab focuses on addressing methodological complexities and developing statistical methods for multilevel/hierarchical data contexts (e.g., patients nested within clinicians, students nested within schools, or repeated measures nested within individuals). Undergraduate RAs will typically start work in the lab by completing readings and relevant study materials, and will later assist the PI (Dr. Jason Rights) and graduate students in conducting literature reviews, proofreading documents, and testing and developing statistical software. Advanced students (e.g., those who’ve taken many statistics courses) may also assist in mathematical derivations, conducting simulations, and writing manuscripts.

  • Minimum Commitment: 5 hours/week
  • Minimum Semester Commitment: 2 semesters preferred
  • Will References Be Requested: No
  • Will Transcript Be Requested: Yes
  • Will Interview Be Requested: Yes
  • Additional Information Required: description of previous experience with statistics or math

At the Sexuality and Well-being (SWell) Lab (PI: Dr. Dawson), we conduct multi-method research to identify risk and protective factors contributing to individuals’ and couples’ sexual health and well-being. The SWell Lab is a good fit for students who share our lab values around diversity, equity, and inclusion (see https://swelllab.psych.ubc.ca/join/), who are looking to gain experience in sexual health and well-being research. Volunteer tasks may include participant recruitment, data entry, piloting surveys and experiments, and conducting literature reviews. Volunteers are also expected to attend weekly lab meetings where we discuss new studies, provide feedback on each other’s work, and complete various workshops (e.g., data processing, writing). Volunteering in the SWell Lab will provide you with a rich training environment where you will develop competence in your research skills as well as confidence.

  • Minimum Commitment: 7.5 hours/week
  • Minimum Semester Commitment: 2 semesters.
  • Will References Be Requested: No
  • Will Transcript Be Requested: Yes
  • Will Interview Be Requested: Yes
  • Additional Information Required: N/A

At the Social Cognitive Development Lab we study how young children (from infancy through adolescence reason about social groups. Currently, our studies focus on 3 general areas: The development of gender stereotypes, children’s understanding of structural inequality and the malleability of implicit bias. We conduct our research at the Living Lab at Science World and research assistants recruit children visiting SW. Students in the lab are trained to run several studies and actively recruit and test children during each lab shift. We have weekly lab meetings and students receive extensive training in the protocols for conducting research in our lab at Science World as well as in how to communicate our research effectively to a general audience (the visitors to Science World).

  • Minimum Commitment: 7.5 hours/week
  • Minimum Semester Commitment: 2 semesters.
  • Will References Be Requested: Maybe
  • Will Transcript Be Requested: No
  • Will Interview Be Requested: Yes
  • Additional Information Required: description of previous experience working with children, if any.

Dr. Toni Schmader’s Social Identity Lab broadly investigates how an individual’s social identity and their associated stereotypes affect them. We investigate the effects of social stereotyping from the perspective of observers and the targets of stigmatization. Typical RA duties include running in-person studies, data entry, responding to participant inquiries, communicating study progress with supervising graduate or post-doc student, and other occasional tasks such as conducting literature reviews.

  • Minimum Commitment: 7.5h/ week
  • Minimum semester commitment: 1 semester
  • Will references be requested: No
  • Will transcripts be requested: No, however we do ask for an overall GPA and a GPA based on psychology courses taken. We also ask students to list all psychology courses they have taken and the letter grade they received for each course.
  • Will Interview be requested: Typically, there are no formal interviews. Graduate students or post-docs will meet with prospective RAs to discuss general expectations and projects for which they would be a good fit.

At the Soma Lab, we are interested in how steroid hormones affect the brain, behaviour, and immunity. Undergraduate students learn a variety of wet lab techniques, critical thinking, and communication skills. Undergraduate students will work as part of a team and participate in weekly lab meetings. Undergraduate students might be co-authors on conference presentations and/or publications, depending on their contributions.

  • Minimum Commitment: 10 hours/week
  • Minimum Semester Commitment: 2 semesters
  • Will References Be Requested: Yes
  • Will Transcript Be Requested: Yes
  • Will Interview Be Requested: Yes
  • Additional Information Required: N/A

At the UBC Vision Lab (PI: Dr. Enns), we study how human mind selects information. Our studies explore how specific experiences change what we see, how actions influence perception, in both social and non-social settings. Research assistants in our lab will be trained on conduct online and in-person studies, and data processing. Students are also welcomed to join our weekly meetings to learn more about theories and methods of various projects in the lab.

  • Minimum commitment: 5 hours/week
  • Minimal semester commitment: 1 semesters.
  • Will References Be Requested: No
  • Will Transcript Be Requested: Yes
  • Will Interview Be Requested: Yes
  • Additional Information Required: NA

The UPLIFT Health Lab, directed by Dr. Nancy Sin, is focused on understanding biological and behavioural mechanisms linking daily experiences to long-term health and aging. We are interested in the role of positive experiences in stress and coping, as well as the day-to-day dynamics of psychosocial well-being, sleep, and other health behaviours. Our lab also has a strong commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) and offers professional development workshops and discussions to advance this goal.

We are recruiting research assistants for the Daily Experiences and Health Study, a remote longitudinal study that examines the day-to-day experiences of B.C. residents, involving daily surveys and sleep and physical activity monitoring. Successful applicants may be involved in preparing study materials, running remote participant sessions, phone-screening participants, and entering and cleaning data. With multiple moving parts in the study, we expect RAs to be detail-oriented, reliable, and able to problem-solve independently. We also expect RAs to participate in bi-weekly lab meetings, in which we hold journal club discussions, research presentations, professional development workshops, and discussions on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI).

  • Minimum commitment: 7.5 hrs/week
  • Minimum semester commitment: 2 semesters
  • Will References be requested: no
  • Will transcript be requested: yes
  • Will interview be requested: yes
  • Additional information required: lab-specific application sent later

The VanLab (PI: Dr. Leigh VanHandel) is interested in aspects of music cognition, which is how we perceive and understand music. Recent lab research has focused on the perception of tempo, or the speed of music, and how that is affected by things like melody, rhythm, and harmony. Students in the lab are trained to assist with experimental design and data analysis, as well as running subjects for in-person experiments. Weekly meetings will help students gain fluency with existing projects and develop their research skills.

  • Minimum commitment: 7.5 hours/week
  • Minimum semester commitment: 2 semesters
  • Will references be requested: No
  • Will transcripts be requested: No
  • Will interview be requested: Yes
  • Additional information: description of musical experience or education, including any instruments played and ability to read notated music (not required but helpful).

In the Visual Neuroscience Lab at BC Children’s Hospital (PIs: Deborah Giaschi and Hee Yeon Im) we study the typical and atypical development of visual processes in children. Our research examines how developmental disorders, including amblyopia and dyslexia, affect motion perception, depth perception, reading, and visuomotor skills. Research assistants in our lab are exposed to behavioural (psychophysics) and neuroimaging (functional MRI, magnetoencephalography) techniques. Typical duties involve assisting with in-person data collection, data analysis and literature reviews. Undergraduate students will work as part of a team with a graduate student supervisor, and participate in weekly lab meetings.

Minimum Commitment: 7.5 hours/week

Minimum Semester Commitment: 2 semesters.

Will References Be Requested: No

Will Transcript Be Requested: Yes (or list of courses taken)

Will Interview Be Requested: Yes

Additional Information Required: description of previous experience working with children in any capacity; a criminal record check is required for everyone conducting research with children at BC Children’s Hospital; to avoid conflicts of interest, students enrolled in Psyc 367 and/or Psyc 368 in 2023W will not be considered (students who have previously taken either course are encouraged to apply).


Frequently Asked Questions

Doing hands-on research in psychology labs is a common way of gaining many skills that are important for graduate work in psychology (e.g., data coding, participant recruitment, administration of tests and measurements, and more). These positions are known as “research assistantships”, or RA positions. While most psychology labs at UBC support undergraduate students as RAs, this is typically only done through volunteer experiences or third- and fourth-year directed studies courses.

Many students, however, cannot volunteer their time to work in psychology labs as RAs, and are therefore systematically excluded from this opportunity. The central goal of PSYC240 is to provide students with an alternative arrangement of working in a psychology lab for course credit, if they prefer this to volunteering.

We have three goals:

  1. be a vehicle for students who have entry-level research positions (acquired through the portal or otherwise) to receive course credit for position instead of volunteering;
  2. to simplify the process of applying to entry-level research assistant psychology labs through a centralized portal for students looking for new positions;
  3. to better understand the barriers that students experience when joining psychology labs, such that we can update our Department’s policies and protocols to, in the long run, be more transparent and equitable about students joining labs.

The portal typically opens in early July, November, and April, each time recruiting for the upcoming semester. We suggest that you pay attention to this page and to Department of Psychology social pages for updates on the date the portal will open. The portal closes when the add/drop date for the upcoming term passes.

Note that the portal remains open even if all labs with new positions have recruited to allow students to submit conversions from volunteer positions.

We don’t think so. Students in this course, like any course, will receive course credit that they can apply towards their degree requirement, and this course in particular can help create space within their timetables. Additionally, labs are not asked to hold or reserve any positions for PSYC240, so the pool of positions remains as open as it was before the introduction of the course.

A single credit in PSYC240 is equivalent to 5 hours/week in a lab as an RA for the duration of an academic term. While we expect most students to take PSYC240 for three credits, we want to give additional flexibility for students who do not have enough time for this commitment. Students therefore can take PSYC240 in a number of different configurations.

For example, a student can decide that they can at most spend 5h/week for 2 semesters, and therefore enroll in PSYC240 to gain one credit in the first term and one credit in the second. Or, a student might have 15h/week in the second term, but no time in the first.

Any of these configurations are acceptable so long as the student and the lab they are participating in agree on it. Once the student and the lab agree, the PSYC240 Course Coordinator is notified and handles all the administrative details to make this happen.

No – as with any other UBC course you can only take it once. For students interested in gaining course credit after PSYC240, we recommend that students review Directed Studies as an option.

No – at this time the course is limited to three credits.

Most labs require a minimum commitment of 7.5h/week for two semesters. The easiest way to make this happen is to have the student enroll in a half credit split (2 credits in the Fall term and 1 credit in the Winter term), but have them split their time evenly in both, working 7.5h/week for both semesters.

If a lab asks you to do 7.5h/week for two semesters, the easiest way to accommodate this is by doing a half credit split (2 credits in Fall and 1 in Winter) and doing 7.5h/week throughout both terms. There is no way to accommodate half credits.

For labs with this requirement, you will receive 2 credits for your 10h/week in one term, and 1 credit for 5h of your 10h/week in the other term. To satisfy the lab requirements you will have to volunteer 5h/week in that 1-credit term. Unfortunately, the reality of some areas of psychology research is that a higher hourly commitment is required, though it is often matched by more experience gained, as well.

This means that the lab has filled their positions for the upcoming term, and has been “taken off” the portal until the next time they have open positions. We do our best to update this page when labs are done recruiting, but the portal is the authoritative list of the labs that have positions open for new positions.

Absolutely, any Department of Psychology lab can support PSYC240 students (only a subset use the portal for new positions). Simply gain approval from a member of the lab (usually a graduate student, lab manager, or faculty) and use the portal to make a "conversion".

Unfortunately not. After you submit your application you will receive an email confirmation that it has been forwarded, and at that point you just have to wait for a lab to contact you back. Some labs are quick to reply, some slow, so there is no way to find out at what stage they are each in. The only way to know that your application was not successful is that you are not contacted by the time you receive an email that all positions have been filled, which is usually around the add/drop date.

If you are worried about labs not getting back in touch, our advice is to continue looking for volunteer positions in other labs not listed on the portal while you wait. Each lab lists their own protocols for applying on their websites.

Not in this term, but you can apply for the subsequent term.

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • reflect on the process of how quantitative research is conducted in psychology, including ethical decision making throughout;
  • reflect on how the ethical principles of the TCPS (Tri-Council Policy Statement; or Animal Care, depending on the lab) are applied in practice to ensure ethical treatment of participants (or non-human animals), and enact those principles as relevant;
  • summarize how faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students work together to create knowledge in psychological science;
  • contribute tangibly to an ongoing research project by performing tasks accurately and on time (e.g., data entry, coding, scheduling, materials preparation, data collection, literature search), as assigned by the Principal Investigator (PI) of the lab you are working in;
  • describe how their tasks contribute to an ongoing research project;
  • discuss the role of lab meetings and/or progress update meetings with the PI and/or lead graduate student; contribute to the progress of research;
  • compare and contrast research practices across psychology’s many subfields.

You will not receive a letter-grade for this course but will instead either be granted the credits or not at the end of each term. You will pass if:

  1. you completed the agreed-upon number of hours in the lab, and performed your duties as expected; and
  2. you completed the mandatory TCPS2 ethics training and uploaded your certificate to Canvas; and
  3. for each credit you signed up for, you submit a one-page reflection paper to Canvas, alongside a list of tasks and hours completed.

For the reflection papers, you will be asked to use specific examples to discuss how you have made progress toward the PSYC 240 learning objectives. For example, you might describe the tasks they have performed over the course of the past month, and explain how these tasks have contributed to knowledge generation in empirical psychology.

Yes, all the normal rules of course add/drop/withdraw deadlines apply normally.

If you and the lab you are in both agree to change anything, please contact the PSYC240 Course Instructor, whose contact information will be on Canvas, and they will sort out any changes you need.

No, but the PSYC240 coordinator will offer optional virtual meet-ups during which we will spend time discussing careers in psychology, graduate school, finding other research positions, and more.

Before applying, please take time to read the brief description of each lab, provided for you here. You will learn about the research topics, typical responsibilities of entry-level students in the lab, and what additional application details you might need to submit at a later time. When deciding on which labs to apply to, the most important details will be making sure that you can meet their hourly and semester requirements, that you are interested in the kind of research that they do, and whether the typical tasks for RAs match the skills you want to acquire. It is also very useful to think about what skills you already have that seem like a good fit for the lab (e.g., experience working with special populations, coding skills, etc.).

Most labs want to know about why you applied to them. Some ask additional questions, and these are listed in the Lab Descriptions so you can prepare for them in advance. Consider writing a short statement about what part of their research seems particularly exciting to you (and why), and what skills you might have that make you a good fit for them.

If you are converting an existing position, we will contact a member of the lab you are in to make sure you have approval, and then add you to the course.

If you are applying for a new position, then after the application is submitted, each lab that is still recruiting students and was selected by you will receive a short version of you application, which will only have the details for them (they won’t see what other labs you applied for, or the optional demographic details). They will then review your submission and, if interested, contact you via email about next steps.

There is not, though we strongly urge you to spend time reading the descriptions of various labs and only applying to those that you are actually interested in.

We expect that many more students will apply than can be accommodated into labs (this is true for volunteer positions, too). If you do not hear back from any of the labs and you are notified that all positions are closed, it means that none of them decided to advance your application further. For all students who were not matched to a lab, the PSYC240 coordinator will also offer advice for applying next year via an email.

We also encourage students to apply to any other lab within the Department – even if they are not listed on the Application Portal – since you can always gain a volunteer position on your own and then convert to PSYC240.

PSYC240 can only accommodate work in a single lab. You are welcome to simultaneously be in other labs as a volunteer or paid RA, but you can only be formally in a single lab for the PSYC240 credits.

If your question is still not answered, email the PSYC240 Coordinator at psyc240@psych.ubc.ca (note that our response times can be slow in summer months).

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