Helen's army narrow

Because Dr. Chapman is leaving Rutgers in summer 2017, she is not accepting any more applications for undergraduate research positions.


Undergraduates interested in doing supervised research are encouraged to consider the Medical Decision Making Lab. Undergraduate research students are assigned to one or more research projects ongoing in the lab, depending on their particular interests.  Students receive supervision from Dr. Gretchen Chapman and from graduate students.

Student research assistants engage in a combination of the following activities depending on skills and interests:

  • Helping to design experiments and make up questionnaire or interview protocols
  • Administering questionnaire or laboratory studies to students or other participants
  • Assisting with running field study protocols
  • Programming and testing computerized studies
  • Entering and checking data and assisting in data management
  • Conducting statistical analyses under supervision
  • Participating in weekly lab meetings where study procedures and findings are discussed
  • Writing summaries of study findings
  • Conducting literature searchers and other library research
  • Semesterly lab “outings” for bowling, miniature golf, games, etc.

 Undergraduates who have the best experience in the MDM lab tend to have these characteristics:

  • strong record of scholarship
  • works well independently
  • aptitude for math and statistics
  • pre-existing interest in research on decision processes
  • passionate about psychology research
  • plans for PhD graduate study in experimental psychology

Credit/thesis/pay options:  Generally, undergraduate research assistants work about 8 hours/week during the semester and receive academic credit for research (3 credits of 830: 391 or 830:495 – the later is writing intensive).  A writing assignment in the form of an abstract (for 830:391) or 15-page experiment write-up (for 830:495) is due each semester, and undergraduates give a brief lab meeting presentation at the end of semester.  Grades are based on these assignments plus performance throughout the semester.  Students who wish to volunteer rather than work for credit have the same assignments as those working for credit.  Undergraduates may also do a senior honors thesis. It is required that students begin working in the lab by their junior year if they wish to complete a thesis because a thesis involves an original piece of research designed by the student (in conjunction with Dr. Chapman). Past undergraduates have applied for and received their own funding to cover their thesis research and travel to a research conference.  Very rarley, opportunities are available for students to work for pay, depending on available funds and the student’s performance.

How to apply:  Interested students should send e-mail to Dr. Chapman (gretchen.chapman at rutgers.edu) that includes answers the questions shown below. Students in any year may apply.

Application questions

  1. Name and contact information (e-mail and phone number)
  2. Major, minor, year in college, and GPA
  3. Why do you want to get involved in undergraduate research?
  4. What skills and interests do you have to offer the MDM lab?
  5. Do you have any previous research experience?
  6. What topics in psychology particularly excite you, and what do you like about those topics?  For example, is there a well-known theory or famous experimental result that really interests you?
  7. Graduate students in the lab have various research projects or interests described under Research and People. Do you have particular interest in one or several projects? Please indicate which ones if you do.
  8. What are your post-graduation plans?  If you are thinking about graduate study in psychology, what type of program interests you?
  9. Anything else you’d like us to know about you?
  10. Please attach a copy of your course schedule for the semester you wish to start work in the lab.

Department of Psychology, Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey

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