Student presenting a poster at UMKC undergradaute research symposium SEARCH.

Undergraduate Research (Psych 490/491)

When you participate in Supervised Research  (PSYCH 490 and PSYCH 491), everything you learned in your psychology research classes comes alive when you conduct your own  research!

Students in Psychology 490/491  work independently under the supervision of a research mentor and participate as research assistants on  research projects.  Details of the research experience vary from team to team and project to project.  Expectations are negotiated individually between the students and their  mentor.   These courses can be taken for 1-3 credit hours during the 16-week semester.  The number of credits is negotiated with the mentor prior to enrollment in the course.  Generally, students are expected to work 3 hours per week (during a 16-week semester) for each credit in which they are enrolled.

  • PSYCH 490 students work with UMKC Psychology faculty as their mentors in one of their research laboratories on campus or in a field-based project they are conducting.
  • PSYCH 491 students work on research projects at one of our community partner sites such as Children’s Mercy Hospital or KU Medical Center.  They are directly supervised by  Ph.D- or M.D.-level researchers at those locations.


In addition to helping you consolidate and apply your “book” learning, students considering or planning to pursue graduate degrees will receive valuable training that will better prepare them for graduate school.  Research mentors will also have the opportunity to evaluate students’ levels of preparation for graduate degrees and write well-informed  letters of recommendation.

Students who participate in a faculty research project may have the opportunity to present the outcome of their work at local, regional, or national conferences.  All 490/491 students are encouraged to present their projects at the annual UMKC Symposium of Undergraduate Research and Creative Scholarship held each spring.

Learning Goals

  • Upon completion of PSYCH 490 or 491, you will be able to:
  • Conduct research in an ethical and standardized manner
  • Critically evaluate research in Psychology
  • Conduct literature reviews using library databases
  • Use statistical software for data entry/analyses

How to Apply

Please download and complete the Psychology 490 & 491 Application.

Once completed, please leave it in the mailbox of the faculty mentor with whom you would like to work.  Faculty mentor mailboxes are located on the third floor of Cherry Hall, Room 356.  Or, if you complete the application electronically, you can email it to the potential faculty mentor.  Please review faculty members’ research profiles to best determine whose research area most closely relates to your own interests (link to new faculty page here).

For students interested in PSYCH 491, announcements will be sent by the Psychology Advising Office to the student list serv when externship opportunities become available.  Please contact the Psychology Advising Office for more information.

Approval to enroll in PSYCH 490/491 must be given by the faculty mentor before the course can be added in Pathway.  Please remember that most faculty research mentors receive many applications each semester.  Focus on creating a strong application that highlights your interests and experiences. Include a clear explanation of your research interest in relation to the research mentor’s area of expertise.  A strong, well thought out application will improve your chances of being accepted as a PSYCH 490/491 student.