Resources for Students

It can be challenging to plan and navigate your psychology pathway from PSYC100 to senior year to career. But you’re not alone! UR psychology students and faculty have created this resource-filled roadmap to help guide you along the way.

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If you have experiences you would like to share in internships, academic jobs, or non-academic jobs, please click below to contribute! Information will only be accessible by members of the UR community.

  • First Years & Sophomores

    It can be hard to get a sense of everything psychology has to offer, especially if you’re just starting out. A good first step is to get familiar with the different aspects of psychology and to explore what subfields you might (and might not) have affinities towards. Try to get a sense of which branches of psychology you find the most interesting and begin to consider whether the career paths of students who have specialized in that field of psychology are ones you could see yourself going down.

    Generally speaking, your first two years should be spent familiarizing yourself with the possibilities of psychology and attempting to feel out the scope and direction of your interests. There’s a lot out there to consider and we know it can be daunting to navigate. Here are some steps to help with that process!

    1. Begin by taking PSYC100: Introduction to Psychological Science and broadly considering what interests you most about psychology.  You can get a broad understanding of all the “flavors” of psychology by exploring the American Psychological Association (APA) Divisions in Psychology. (All 54 of them!). Find few that strike your fancy and explore what’s possible with them and, most importantly at this stage, what related courses you can take here at UR.
    2. Next, begin taking courses related to your areas of interest to assess which are a good fit for you. You will want to take PSYC200: Methods and Analyses soon after PSYC100 as it is the only pre-requisite for most upper-level courses. PSYC299 courses, however, don’t need PSYC200 and typically integrate different areas of psychology so you can get experience with more than one area. (Later, you can take the more specialized courses at the 300 and 400 level to go deeper into different types of psychology.) 
    3. After completing PSYC200, it’s strongly recommended you take PSYC300 in the next semester or so. This course allows you to gain real research experience working in a lab that might correspond to your interests. In many fields of psychology, it becomes important when planning your future career to consider whether you wish to pursue research or other, and thus getting involved with research early in your academic career can help better prepare you for the future.
    4. It’s also a great idea to reach out to professors in the department that conduct research similar to your interests to see how you can get involved in their laboratory. While PSYC300 is a great way to get involved, you may be able to volunteer or do summer work before you take PSYC300 depending on the professor.
    5. By the end of your sophomore year, you will want to decide whether you’d like to major or minor in Psychology and officially declare! When you do this, you’ll be assigned an academic advisor in the department. You can view the major and minor requirements here.
    6. Begin to consider how you could use internship experiences in psychology and experiences during the summer to further explore your interests and build your skills.
    7. It’s never too early to begin to explore careers other students who have studied particular branches of psychology have ended up in and consider the skills and experience you need to get for those kinds of opportunities.

    For some inspiration on the types of jobs you can do with psychology here is a (very) brief list of some of the fields that prior UR graduates have gone into. You can view a more comprehensive list of what UR psychology alums are up to here.

            • Data Analytics / Research
            • User Experience (UX)
            • Marketing
            • Industrial / Organizational
            • Human Resources
            • Consulting
            • Human Services
            • Nursing / Allied Health
            • Publishing / Editorial
            • Non-Profit Sector
            • Academia
            • Law enforcement
  • Juniors

    Really start nailing down your likes and dislikes of psychology. Consider the following: Do you like research? Can you see yourself going to graduate school? Which sub-discipline(s) of psychology are going to play a role in your future career?

    Those who can see themselves doing research in the future or who want to pursue a field that requires graduate training in research should work to identify faculty collaborators and opportunities via PSYC300, Psych 361 (Independent Study), summer research at UR or elsewhere, or volunteering — especially if conducting an independent senior research project or honors research project is something you think you might want to pursue. And, if you think you want to go to grad school — especially if you’re thinking of going right after you graduate from UR — you will want to start learning about that process now!

    If you’ve decided that research isn’t for you, try to get a concrete sense of what you want to get out of psychology and what you still need to do in order to get there. There are a lot of positions out there that don’t require you to conduct research. Now is the time to consider how internships in psychology, either for course credit (PSYC388) or over the summer via the Richmond Guarantee, can help you figure out how psychology will fit into your future. It’s also a good time to set up an appointment with UR Career Services to figure out next steps.

    For a sense of ideas of what past graduates have gone on to do in the ‘real world’ in jobs outside of academia you can click here (accessible to UR students only) to see what our alumni have done with their UR Psych degrees!

    **Many of these past graduates are happy to chat with you about their experiences and have included their contact information. Don’t be shy!**

  • Seniors

    If you’re considering academia in your future (either ‘just’ for graduate school or for your lifelong career):

    • Thoroughly peruse these resources designed to help with all stages of the process (deciding whether graduate school is a good fit, what to do during a gap year, considerations to keep in mind when applying, etc.)./li>
    • Check out this list of grad school labs our alumni have worked in (or even lead!). (Accessible to UR students only.)

    Graduate school applications will likely be due near the end of the fall semester of your senior year, so make sure you stay on top of things and start early.

    Or maybe going to graduate school right away isn’t the way you want to go. There are lots of good reasons to get some additional experience before committing to grad school — this document highlights a few of them.

    One great option is to work as a lab manager or research assistant. The application process for lab manager positions starts quite a bit later (spring semester) and depends on which type of psychology you want to get involved with and when the grant funding for these types of positions becomes available. No matter what your intended research area, don’t feel discouraged or overly stressed if you haven’t found a position even toward middle or end of the spring semester. These positions can be frustratingly slow to advertise (if they advertise at all), and slow in responding back, so keep trying!

    • See our academia path document for tons resources on where to find research assistant or lab manager positions and concerns and considerations to keep in mind as you apply.

    For those who are considering pathways outside of academia:

  • All Students