Receiving Unit Credit for Research

If you are working as a Research Assistant in a faculty lab, see instructions here for getting units for your work.

The Benefits of Volunteering as a Research Assistant

    • Students can earn units toward the psychology major and graduation.
    • Students gain excellent research experience, which is often a component of being a competitive candidate for graduate programs, particularly PhD programs.
    • Research is a great way to get to know a faculty member and potentially secure a Letter of Recommendation for graduate school.


Important Instructions for Students

  • To get credit for volunteering as a research assistant, you must first be accepted into a psychology laboratory.
  • After obtaining a research assistant position, you will need to complete a Variable Unit Form (PSC 099/199 or 098/198). Often, you will receive this form from your lab manager, but it can also be downloaded HERE.
  • Forms should be turned into the Advising Office once the student has a CRN.
  • Students with 84+ units will register for PSC 199 or 198. Students with fewer than 84 units will register for PSC 099 or 098; these are lower-division units and will not grant credit toward the major.
  • You can obtain the CRN from your lab manager, PI, or major advising.  
  • Students are responsible for signing up for their units. Students can enroll in a maximum of 5 special study units per quarter.  Each unit earned requires 3 hours per week of volunteer time, or 30 hours over the course of a 10-week quarter.  Most labs require 6-9 hours per week for 2-3 units of credit per quarter.
  • Make sure to check with your College Dean's Office Adviser to be sure that you are not exceeding the maximum number of "special study" units allowed by your college.
  • Transcript notation for students earning 40 hours or more per quarter is also available via the Internship and Career Center.



  •  The deadline to sign up for PSC 099/199 or 098/198 with a CRN is the 12th day of instruction.
  • If you plan to take more than one unit, you must change the VARIABLE units, via Schedule Builder, by the 25th day of instruction. 



Would you rather be a research subject instead of the researcher? Learn more about participating in psychological studies HERE.