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.
  • 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. 

Apply for Lab Positions

Learn more about exploring and applying to Psychology and Cognitive Science research positions on the Yellow Cluster Advising website.


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