Early Scientist Program

The Department of Psychology is proud to offer an Early Scientist Program

What is it?

The Early Scientist Program in the Department of Psychology gives undergraduate psychology students a chance to become actively engaged in research early in their careers – right after finishing the general psychology course (PSY 121). The program helps students start developing strong research skills as soon as possible – as freshmen or sophomores – and start them down the path to becoming expert researchers.

Over the course of their college careers, Early Scientists who continue working in research labs and pursuing independent research projects develop superior research skills. These skills are highly desirable in the job market and make students more competitive applicants for graduate school. With the extra years of laboratory research experience offered to them, they often go on to compete for university-level undergraduate research grants to support their own projects, complete honors theses, present research projects at major conferences around the country, and even publish papers in professional research journals. But these accomplishments take time and effort, which is why Early Scientists have an advantage. They get an early start and therefore have more time to achieve a high level of research training. Graduates of the early scientist program have gone on to many graduate and professional schools.

In addition to the valuable research experience, the Early Scientist Program is a good way to get to know faculty and graduate students working in the research labs in the department. It is a good way to stand out and get to know professors well enough to get a meaningful letter of recommendation for jobs or more advanced training (i.e., graduate school).

Who can participate?

Currently, the Early Scientist Program is “by invitation only,” meaning that you have to be asked to join, and is open only to psychology majors. Typically, the top 5% of students in PSY 121 are invited each year. Students who are eligible for the program will be contacted via email by the Director of Undergraduate Studies. The email will include details about the program requirements and procedures.

What if I’m not eligible for the program? Can I still do research?

There are many other more traditional ways to get involved in scientific research at UNCG. We pride ourselves on both the quality and quantity of research opportunities available to our students. If you want to do research, but were not invited into the Early Scientist Program, you can still apply to join labs in the traditional way. Our page on research and independent study opportunities outlines how to do that.

To Contact Our Director of Undergraduate Studies: Undergraduate Program Director