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Research Opportunities

Undergraduate Student Research Opportunities

About 25% of our undergraduate students conduct research with psychology faculty. Students work under the supervision of a faculty member to learn the principles and practice of research in the major areas of psychology, including child development, cognition, social psychology, learning, and behavioral neuroscience. Students may also work on independent research projects.

Students can be involved in the research as part of the requirements for an Honors thesis, for up to 9 hours of psychology course credit, or if they are interested in a general research experience.

Undergraduate students can apply for research funding through the TCU College of Science & Engineering Research Center (SERC). Most undergraduates present posters of their work at the Student Research Symposium (SRS) held on campus each spring.

Students may also present work at regional, national, and international scientific conferences.

Graduate Student Research Opportunities

For an MS thesis, graduate students conduct research for about two years under the guidance of a psychology faculty advisor and a committee. Thesis research projects focus on questions specific to each faculty member’s research lab.

For a Ph.D. dissertation, graduate students continue research under the guidance of a psychology faculty advisor and a committee for an additional three years. A student enrolled in the Ph.D. program has a maximum of 5 years of funding.

Research Facilities

The Department of Psychology, housed in Winton Scott Hall, has undergone recent, multi-million dollar renovations providing state-of-the art research and teaching facilities.

Each faculty has an exclusive research lab and there are also common areas for use by multiple labs. Facilities vary for each individual lab and generally include space for testing in large groups, individual testing, testing non-human animals, data analysis, and secure data storage. Facilities for research with human participants include computers with touch-sensitive display, computers and tablets for remote testing, a fully equipped virtual reality system, eye-tracking technology, camcorders, and ambulatory physiological equipment to record heart rate and skin conductance.

Animal Research Facility

The Department of Psychology also operates an animal research facility housing rodents and birds. Common areas in the vivarium include a surgery room equipped with stereotaxic frames for small animals, a perfusion room for handling chemicals, housing rooms for animals with temperature and humidity controls, and a cage washer. A veterinarian oversees the facility and a full-time technician coordinates its maintenance.

The labs of individual faculty include fully-equipped Skinner boxes, fully-equipped contrast boxes, open fields, Morris water maze, Barnes and elevated-plus mazes, fully automated runway, touchscreen-equipped operant chambers custom-built for pigeons, extracellular amplifiers for in vivo neurophysiology, stimulators for brain stimulation, hardware for sound recording and analysis, songbird recording chambers, ultrasonic recording microphones and speakers for playback of ultrasound, backyard brains electrophysiology equipment for teaching and demonstrations, syringe pumps, and microscopes for histological analyses.

Institute of Behavioral Research (IBR)

The IBR occupies a 10,000 sq. ft. building on the TCU campus that includes 20 offices and graduate student cubicles, a large library/conference room, several smaller conference rooms, a secure archive for storage of original data files and computer media, and a computer workstation area for research project teams, document scanners, and other office equipment.

Institute of Child Development (ICD)

The ICD is located on the 3rd floor of Reese-Jones Hall. The ICD has an observation facility designed specifically for the strange situation and other observational procedures, an observation room with one-way mirrors, and a larger main room approximately 21×16 sq. ft. Facilities include two remote-controlled cameras mounted on the ceiling of the main room, ample storage space in both rooms, and two large workrooms. The large workrooms have multiple computer workstations.

Computer Network

The Department of Psychology, IBR, and ICD are also supported through the TCU computer network system. Such resources include access to the statistical software, TCU Library catalogs and services, and many other libraries and abstract sources, the Internet, and other on-line services.