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B.S. Research and Paper Guidelines 

Please upload your research paper, including your professor's approval (a screenshot of their emailed approval will do) to our Research Paper submission form.

Research Experience Requirement

The research experience courses will be completed through laboratory courses or PSYC 199 courses (Independent Study) totaling 8 units of research credit. Approved combinations are:

  • Two PSYC 199s + Research Paper
  • One Lab Course* and One PSYC 199
  • Two Lab Courses*

*At least one Psych lab course (or CBN lab course for CBN majors) must include an APA-style research paper (guidelines listed below).

PSYC 199s can be taken for 2 or 4 units, but must total 8 units for the B.S. degree requirement. If a total of 8 units of PSYC 199 courses are taken to fulfill this requirement, they must be directed by a psychology faculty and culminate in a research paper approved by their primary research faculty advisor. Although it is recommended that a psychology faculty is selected within the chosen area of specialization, it is not required.

Research Paper Guidelines

The paper must focus on the research being conducted in the PSYC 199 faculty member's research lab. Either a review paper or empirical report is acceptable. This will be a new paper, students may not use a research paper submitted in a previous course (I.e. PSYC 70).

The faculty member you work with will determine the specific requirements for the paper, but all papers must meet the following department minimum requirements:

  1. Written in APA format
  2. Papers must include:
    • cover sheet: a faculty mentor can either sign the cover page or email their approval to the student. sample cover page [PDF]
    • at least 6 full pages of text (must be text, does not include charts, graphs, etc.)
    • at least 5 references, including a minimum of 3 empirical papers
  3. Discuss specific methodologies used in the lab or research articles cited
  4. Written clearly so a non-expert can follow the logic of what is being presented
  5. Demonstrate evidence of critical thinking about research (not summarizing what has been done)

Your final B.S. research paper must be approved by your faculty mentor and submitted to the Psychology Advising Office no later than 3:00 PM Thursday of the final exam week of the student's graduating quarter. We will accept a screenshot of your PI's emailed approval attached to your paper. Upload all BS Research Papers to our online Research Paper form.

It is the student's responsibility to ensure their faculty mentor reviews, approves, and signs off on their B.S. research paper as well as submits it to our office before the deadline. Outside reviewers may be asked to read papers before they are accepted, you must plan accordingly. Failure to submit the paper by the deadline delays your official graduation term to the following quarter. 

Psychology Honors: An approved psychology honors thesis fulfills the B.S. research paper requirement. Once submitted, the thesis may need revisions as requested by faculty reviewer(s).

Tips for Writing the Research Paper

Research papers typically reflect the student’s PSYC 199 and/or lab research experiences.  As such, they make take the form of an empirical research paper (which describes an experiment or series of experiments that the student was involved in).  Alternatively, they make take the form of a literature review (which describes an area of research that the student was involved in). 

For information and helpful tips on how to write both types of papers (such as how to find references, how to structure the paper, scientific writing, and an example paper), and to do so using APA style, please visit the “Writing Research Papers" section of this website.