Psychology 196A: Research in Psychology

Course Description

Psych 196A (Assistantship in Psychology) offers undergraduate students the opportunity to assist Psychology Department faculty members and graduate students who are conducting research in the area of Psychology. Psych 196A is often taken in preparation for Psych 199, Directed Individual Research and Study. To receive credit for the course, students are required to work a minimum of 7 hours per week for the 10-week quarter and attend a one-hour weekly seminar, arranged by the faculty sponsor (Summer enrollees are required to work a minimum of 74 hours over the 6-week session). A five to eight page typed research paper is also required.

This course is most successful when both students and faculty benefit from the arrangement. This generally occurs when these two conditions are met: students contribute in a meaningful way to faculty members’ research and faculty members provide students with opportunities to learn specific research skills and reflect on all aspects of research.

Course Forms and Deadlines:

  1. Find a research position. Four to five weeks prior to the start of the quarter, look through the approved research positions and contact the Research Coordinator to secure your research placement. If you have a position with a Cognitive Science faculty member, that will be automatically approved as well.
  2. Propose a new research site. If you are proposing to work with a research position that is not already listed as an approved position or with a Psychology faculty member, the faculty member you request to work with will need to complete the Lab Position Placement Form for Faculty by Friday, December 15th at 5:00pm for Winter Quarter 2024. Position Placement Forms received after the deadline will not be reviewed.
  3. Create a Psych 196A course contract. Instructions can be found below under “how to enroll.” Obtain your faculty mentor’s signature on the course contract. This is the only signature that you need on this form, despite the form indicating otherwise. ENSURE YOU CREATE THE CONTRACT FOR 24W. IF YOUR CONTRACT IS CREATED FOR THE WRONG TERM, THEN YOUR CONTRACT WILL NOT BE PROCESSED.
  4. Submit your forms. Signed course contracts must be submitted to the Psychology Advising Office via MyUCLA’s Message Center by Friday, January 12th at 5:00pm for Winter Quarter 2024 in order to be enrolled in the course. Course Contracts and Supplemental Forms submitted after the deadline will not be reviewed.
  • Once you turn in your Psych 196A Contract, you will be enrolled in 4 P/NP units of Research.
  • To receive credit for the course, you MUST be enrolled in a total of 4 units on a P/NP basis.
  • Sophomore, Junior, or Senior standing is required.
  • Some labs require that Lab Safety Fundamentals Concepts (LSFC) Training MUST be completed when creating their contract – if you are prompted to complete this course, you must do so in order to finish creating the contract
  • To sign up for Lab Safety Fundamentals Concepts training, please follow the instructions found here:
  • Students must do the work in the same quarter that the Research class is taken for credit.
  • Only 12 units from any combination of courses 185, 192, 194, 195, 196 may be applied toward undergraduate degree.
  • This Research course does not satisfy any major requirement for Psychology, Psychobiology, or Cognitive Science majors.
  • Students cannot earn credit for a Research in Psychology course and SRP (Letters & Science Student Research Program) for working on the same research project in the same quarter.
  • Students continuing with the same research project in future quarters must submit a new Contract and enroll in the course.
  • Look through the research listings and contact the professor, post doc, or graduate student to secure your research placement.
  • Log on to your MyUCLA and click on CONTRACT COURSES on the left menu bar.
  • Follow the instructions to create your Psych 196A contract & email it to the Professor for approval and signature. A scanned signature or e-signature is acceptable.
  • You do NOT need the Department Chair’s signature.
  • Once you have completed course contract and have obtained your faculty mentor’s signature, submit the course contract to the Psych Advising Office via the Message Center on MyUCLA. Please include your full name and UID in your correspondence. Please see the steps below for submitting documents.
    • Log in to MyUCLA
    • Click on the yellow “Need Help?” button in the top right corner
    • Click “Message Center”
    • Click the green “Ask a Question” button
    • Select “Academic Counseling Unit” and type “Psychology” in the text field
    • Type “196A Contract Course Enrollment” into the Subject Line
    • Attach electronic or scanned copies of your course contract
    • Click “Send”
    • You will receive a reply in the Message Center after your contract has been received and processed.
  • The deadline to submit the contract to Psych Advising Office is Friday of Week 1. 
  • Visit your College Counseling Unit if you need approval to take more than 5 P/NP units or are planning to exceed 19 units for the quarter.
  • Last step is to check your MyUCLA Study List on Thursday of Week 2 to make sure you are properly enrolled in a total of 4 P/NP units with the correct Professor. The deadline to make changes to your Study List without a late fee is Friday of Week 2.

Research Paper

A typed paper of at least five pages and three references is required. The topic of the paper must be directly related to the project you are working on. A satisfactory paper demonstrates that you have researched the topic, organized and integrated the information, and linked the research activities to the topic. You must turn in a copy of the paper to your faculty sponsor by Friday of Finals Week.

Faculty Sponsor’s Responsibilities

The faculty sponsor must be a regular faculty member in the Psychology Department. Post Docs and Graduate Students may guide the Research in Psychology students in research projects only under the supervision of a regular faculty member. Sponsors should lead the one-hour weekly seminar or lab meeting, provide written feedback to the student on their research paper, and evaluate the student at the end of the quarter. Sponsors are also responsible for disseminating departmental information and regulations regarding running subjects, otherwise they risk their project being banned from the use of the subject pool.