Help us help you

Faculty laboratories in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences have openings for undergraduate students to work as research assistants. Students can become involved in all aspects of research, from scheduling and running subjects to analyzing data. Depending on the lab, students can interview clients, run test sessions, and even design their own research projects.

Opportunities for professional experience

Working in a research lab is a great opportunity to find out whether a student might be interested in a research career. In addition, students considering graduate school in psychology are strongly advised to obtain research experience while they are still undergraduates -- most graduate schools weight research experience quite strongly when making admission decisions.

Students can get course credit for working in a lab; this is generally offered on a satisfactory/fail basis rather than being graded (an exception is honors research). Most labs prefer that interested students register for course credit in the lab -- one hour of course credit usually translates into approximately three hours of time in the lab.

The requirements for different labs vary, and students are encouraged to talk to faculty whose area of research interests them or whose classes they have enjoyed. Some labs require a 2-semester commitment and may also have minimum GPA requirements as well.

Undergraduate research opportunities

Below is a list of Departmental labs or other units that often involve undergraduates as research assistants. Contact information for each lab is supplied. This is the primary way in which most labs make their positions known to students. However, some labs will occasionally post positions on Office of Undergraduate Research or on Handshake . The application and decision process for most labs usually happens months before the start of the semester (e.g., in March-April during course-registration time for the Fall semester). See lab postings for specific information.

Positions Available: For volunteer initially, but it could become for credit if the student demonstrates commitment to the lab.

Research Description: Humans spend about a third of their life sleeping. Yet, our understanding of the cognitive, emotional and neurodevelopmental functions of this essential behavior and how these may be disrupted in clinical populations is still very limited. Our focus is on defining the physiological features of sleep disturbances in psychiatric disorders, investigating their relations with symptoms and cognitive deficits, and examining the neural circuitry involved in these sleep deficits. Our lab exploits multimodal neuroimaging and electrophysiology techniques to investigate these questions. The ultimate goal of our research is to identify sleep-related biomarkers that play a causal role in psychiatric disorders.

Responsibilities & Expectations:
Students in this lab will have the opportunity to assist data collection in behavioral, sleep EEG or MRI experiments, organize and maintain databases, and aid in preprocessing of data. They may receive training on EEG and MRI data acquisition, sleep scoring, RedCap, and MRI safety. This is an attractive position for those who are interested in pursuing graduate careers in neuroscience, clinical or cognitive psychology in the future. There is opportunity to conduct honor theses if the student’s research interest aligns with the goals of our lab, and they demonstrate commitment and excellence. We seek mature, reliable, motivated, curious and diligent students who are eager to develop and hone their research skills. Any experience working with neuroimaging or clinical populations is highly desirable

To apply, please fill out this form:

Contact Information:

Website: Visit NAP Lab Website

This posting was last updated on 11/17/2020

Positions Available: For credit.

Research Description: How do ideas get communicated from one person to another? How do our thoughts change over time? Research in this lab explores the interaction of spoken language and hand gestures as children and adults learn new things and communicate about the world. We use nonverbal behavior as both a window onto how thinking changes over time and as a tool for facilitating change in thinking. Students are generally involved in every stage of the research process- including designing studies, and collecting, coding and analyzing data. We are looking for students who are curious and persistent, and who can commit to spending at least two semesters in the lab. We prefer students with a GPA of at least 3.5. To learn more about the lab and to submit an application, please visit our website.

Contact Information:

Website: Visit CoLLab Website

This posting was last updated on 04/03/2018

Positions Available: For credit.

Research Description: My research focuses on the cognitive and neural mechanisms of action and learning. Specific interests include executive control, skill acquisition, and bimanual coordination. Research assistants will gain experience with many lab procedures (e.g., data collection and analysis) and have the opportunity to participate in independent research projects, such as honors theses. Minimum GPA of 3.0 and a two semester commitment are required.

Contact Information:

Website: Visit Hazelab Website

This posting was last updated on 03/04/2016

Positions Available: Research Assistant

Research Description: In my lab, we study how vision and memory are used to support intelligent action. Specifically, we study scene perception, working memory, attention, and eye movements, with the goal of understanding how these systems interact to guide behavior. Research assistants will work on laboratory projects: from the development of the research question and experimental design to data collection and analysis. Projects can be independent, including honors theses. Research assistants will gain experience with data collection procedures (e.g., eye tracking) and analysis. Minimum GPA of 3.0 required. Students who have completed Research Methods and Introduction to Cognitive Psychology are preferred, although these courses are not required.

Contact Information:


This posting was last updated on 12/02/2019

Positions Available: Volunteering or for-credit research assistant positions are available.

Research Description: The Hwang lab conducts research to understand the neural mechanisms of executive functions. Specifically, we are interested in discovering the neural architecture, processes, and dynamic systems that allow brain networks to select, inhibit, transfer, and integrate information. Together, these mechanisms support many important mental functions, such as attention, working memory, response selection and inhibition. We address our research questions with a comprehensive human neuroscience approach, combining multimodal research methodologies, including fMRI, EEG, TMS, eye tracking and behavioral testing.

Research assistants will gain valuable experience with cognitive neuroscience research. Specifically, the research assistant will assist with subject recruitment, behavioral/EEG/TMS/fMRI data collection, quality control of neuroimaging data, and execution of data analyses. If motivated, the applicant will also have the opportunity to learn advanced neuroimaging methods and develop research projects. Assistants are also encouraged to attend regular journal clubs to discuss the most up-to-date scientific literature.

Preference will be given to applicants who plan to pursue advanced training in a related area (e.g., PhD in Psychology or Neuroscience). Experience with programming/scripting languages, such as Python or Matlab will be a plus but not required. A two-semester and minimally 6-10 weekly hour commitment is preferred, with the understanding that continued participation beyond 2 semesters is encouraged. Applicants should have a GPA of 3.2 or higher.

If interested, please email our lab manager Hannah Morrow ( with your resume/CV and a letter of interest. Please list relevant courses taken and grades.

Contact Information:

Website: Visit Hwang Lab Website

This posting was last updated on 12/13/2022

Positions Available: Volunteer or for credit.

Research Description: The Kliemann lab studies the neuroscience of human social behavior, from a basic research perspective, as well as in its applications to disorders, with a special focus on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and individuals with brain lesions. We are interested in the biological basis of cognition in the brain, especially how the brain compensates and re-organizes. How does variation in brain structure and function lead to intact or impaired social cognition? How can we use insights from neuroimaging to better understand the psychological mechanisms? We use a multimodal approach (including behavioral, eye-tracking, lesion studies, structural and functional MRI) to study brain-cognition-behavior relations that ultimately produce complex social cognition.

Responsibilities & Expectations:
We are looking for students who have an interest in studying social cognition, and/or possess an interest in working with individuals with autism. Students will have the opportunity to conduct behavioral research, receive training on MRI safety and data acquisition, maintain and update databases, and assist with data processing and analysis. This position is a chance to earn valuable research experience before pursuing graduate degrees in cognitive neuroscience, clinical psychology, or related fields.

If you are interested, please submit an application via this form:

Contact Information:

Website: Visit Kliemann Lab Website

This posting was last updated on 11/17/2020

Positions Available: For credit, volunteer, or internship

Research Description: We are currently working on the Children and Parents Study (CAPS), which follows 200 families from infancy to age 4. The goal of CAPS is to learn about many aspects of young children’s social and emotional development. We are particularly interested in how and when very young children begin to comply with their caregivers’ requests and prohibitions, how and when children begin to learn to follow rules, avoid prohibited actions even when unsupervised, and engage in prosocial, desirable behaviors.

Students in this lab have the opportunity to work on a longitudinal study to help collect data during laboratory sessions, code behavioral data from video, and perform preliminary data management. Positions in our laboratory may be particularly interesting and greatly beneficial for students who plan to enter psychology graduate programs or pursue a career with youth (e.g., social work, occupational therapy, speech pathology, pediatric medicine, etc.). Students may have the opportunity to pursue an honors thesis within the lab.

GPA of 3.5 is desirable. Applicants must supply two letters of recommendation. Excellent attention to detail, experience with young children, a strong work ethic, and a sense of responsibility are required. Preference is given to students who are available in the summer and can provide a two-semester commitment.

To apply, please submit the following application:

Website: Visit Child Lab Website

This posting was last updated on 09/01/2021

Positions Available: Undergraduate research assistant - for-credit opportunities preferred.

Research Description: The THRIVE Lab focuses on clinical health psychology research, including women's health, chronic disease, and the long-term impact of traumatic experiences. The lab examines the effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a mindfulness- and acceptance-focused behavioral therapy that seeks to promote psychological flexibility. We have also examined the modifiable therapeutic processes that play a critical role in the long-term consequences associated with traumatic experiences (both adverse and resilient outcomes). We have an ongoing collaborative study with Dr. Demir-Lira’s DEN Lab, wherein we are recruiting pregnant individuals and measuring mental health and neuroconnectivity throughout pregnancy, postpartum, and early childhood.

Undergraduate research assistants will have the opportunity to learn how to manage and interact with data. Research assistants may have the opportunity to be trained to conduct structured diagnostic interviews following substantial training. Research assistants will assist with recruitment of and interaction with participants. Exceptional research assistants may complete honors theses or participate in poster presentations or manuscript publications. Undergraduates are expected to attend weekly lab meetings, wherein all lab members will read and discuss empirical articles, and each lab member will lead a discussion of one empirical article each semester. Undergraduates are expected to commit at least 9 hours per week to the lab. Participation in the lab will be strong experience for those applying to graduate or professional programs (e.g., clinical psychology, medical school). Preference given to students who can continue research in the summer.

Interested students can find the undergraduate research assistant application at: A GPA of 3.50 or higher is preferred. All lab members are expected to strictly adhere to ethical standards in research. Other qualifications include: enthusiasm for learning, completion of a research methods and/or statistics course, excellent attention to detail, strong organizational skills, and strong work ethic. Preferred qualifications include: experience working with clinical populations; completion of clinical psychology, abnormal psychology, or laboratory coursework; prior research experience; and experience with statistical software or data management programs. To learn more about the lab, please visit our lab website:

Contact Information: Emily Thomas,



This posting was last updated on 10/2023

Positions Available: For credit.

Research Description: Our primary research studies relationships between stress, resilience, emotions, and tumor growth in ovarian cancer. We are also involved in studies of pelvic pain. We invite students with backgrounds in Psychology, Health and Human Physiology, and/or Biology or related fields to consider joining our laboratory. Students involved in the lab will help in ongoing projects, and responsibilities may include patient screening and interviewing, immune and other laboratory assays, data management, library research, and web-based activities, depending on the background and interest of the student and the needs of the lab. Students need to have a 3.2 GPA and at least a B+ in their statistics and research methods courses. They should perform well independently, be 100% reliable, and be able to multitask. A two semester commitment is required. Practicum students ordinarily register for three semester hours (9 hours/week of working in the lab, including attending lab meeting which is usually Monday at 4 PM) each semester. This is an excellent opportunity for a student who has an interest in medical school or graduate training in clinical or health psychology. Freshman and sophomores are particularly encouraged to join the lab. We are especially looking for students who will be available over the summer.

Contact Information:;

Website: Visit Lutgendorf Lab Website

This posting was last updated on 10/2023

Positions Available: For credit.

Research Description: Research in the Mechanisms of Audio-visual Categorization Lab (MACLab) examines how people form and use perceptual categories to understand speech. We work with a variety of populations, including children, adults, people with cochlear implants, and people with specific language impairment. Our undergraduate research assistants learn to do language assessments, use computerized eye-tracking, and may have the opportunity to do event-related potentials (ERP) research. Contact us if you're interested in perception, cognition, or development-- we support a wide range of student projects! Priority will be given to students with a strong academic record who can make a two-semester commitment.

Contact Information:

Website: Visit MACLab Website

This posting was last updated on 04/07/2016

Positions Available: For credit.

Research Description: The Attention & Motor-Perceptual Systems (AMPS) lab is looking for qualified students to work as Research Assistants. We need people who have at least a C grade point average and have completed the Elementary Psychology course. We give preference to those students who have taken 031:016 / PSY:2601 (Introduction to Cognitive Psychology) or 031:121 / PSY:4020 (Lab in Psychology, Cognition and Action with Professor Hazeltine) and/or are already IRB certified. You will gain valuable experience working in a lab that studies both basic and applied information processing, using everything from simple, button-pressing experiments to driving simulations.

Contact Information:

Website: Visit AMPS Lab Website

This posting was last updated on 08/19/2020

Positions Available: For credit.

Research Description: Research projects in the Iowa ADHD and Development Laboratory focus on identifying the genetic and contextual factors that contribute to the development and persistence of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) from childhood through adolescence and young adulthood. In addition, we are interested in exploring the relationships between ADHD and co-morbid disorders and how factors such as neuropsychological functioning and temperament/personality may contribute to these patterns of overlap. Research assistants in the laboratory are trained to administer diagnostic and neurocognitive assessments and to collect biological samples for DNA analysis with both child and adult participants. Preference is given to students with a 3.5 GPA or higher who have earned at least a B- in Research Methods and Introduction to Clinical Psychology. Students who are highly organized and detail-oriented are especially encouraged to apply. A minimum of 6 hours per week of work is required for at least 2 semesters.

Contact Information:

Website: Visit ADHD and Development Lab Website

This posting was last updated on 08/19/2020

Positions Available: For credit or volunteering initially, but there may be opportunities for paid positions for students who have been in the laboratory for a while and demonstrated their commitment and interest.

Research Description: What We Study:
The Developmental Psychopathology Lab conducts research to understand how children develop behavior problems as well as positive adjustment. We have been particularly interested in externalizing behavior problems, such as aggressive, disruptive, and noncompliant behavior. We focus on the development of self-regulation skills and the consequences of children's self-regulation skills (or deficits) for their school readiness. The goal of our lab is to improve understanding about how children develop behavior problems from a very early age (3-7 years). We focus on the early development of behavior problems to improve the early identification of at-risk children before later, more severe, and more stable behavior problems develop, which may lead to improved intervention and prevention approaches.

How We Study It:
To study the development of self-regulation and behavior problems, we follow children and families longitudinally over time and we examine multiple levels of analysis, including how biological, psychological, and social-contextual processes relate to the development of behavior problems. For instance, we examine brain development (as measured by EEG/ERP), sleep, stress, parenting, temperament, and language skills in relation to the development of behavior problems. For even more information, please visit our website:  Developmental Psychopathology Lab

Expectations, Responsibilities, and Qualifications:
Research assistants will gain experience with many lab procedures (e.g., collecting data during child lab visits, data management, and video coding of parent-child interactions). There are also opportunities to complete honors theses for students who are interested and who have been in the lab for a while. Positions in our laboratory may be particularly interesting and greatly beneficial for students who plan to enter graduate programs in clinical psychology or developmental psychology. A two-semester commitment for three credit hours (9 hours/week of working in lab, plus 1 hour weekly lab meeting) each semester is preferred. Experience with young children is highly desirable. Completion of introductory courses in research methods and statistics is desirable but not required.

To apply, please submit the following application:

If you have questions, please contact the Developmental Psychopathology Lab at:

Contact Information:

Website: Visit Developmental Psychopathology Lab Website

This posting was last updated on 11/17/2020

Positions Available: For credit initially, although there are sometimes paid positions available for students who have been in the lab for a couple of semesters and who are interested in pursuing graduate work in developmental or cognitive psychology.

Research Description: Our lab focuses on a broad range of problems in developmental and cognitive psychology. More specifically, we're interested in problems such as how children and adults make decisions and coordinate movements when crossing roads, and how children and adults remember and communicate about where things are. In our work on risky decision making and perceptual-motor coordination, we use immersive bicycling and pedestrian simulators to study how children and adults cross traffic-filled intersections in a virtual environment. This work aims to understand factors that put people at risk for bicycling and pedestrian injuries involving collisions with cars. In our work on spatial memory and communication, we're interested in how people use spatial memory strategies to enhance recall and in how mothers talk to young children about finding things. Minimum GPA of 3.3 required. Please go to our websites to learn more about this research: and

Contact Information: OR 319-335-2405

Website: Visit Perceiving, Acting & Thinking Lab Website

This posting was last updated on 04/09/2018

Positions Available: Paid and for-credit positions are available.

Research Description: The research program investigates the neural correlates of higher-order cognitive and behavioral functions, including memory, language, perception, emotion, and decision-making. The primary approach is neuropsychological, whereby neurological patients with focal brain injuries are studied with standard and experimental cognitive tests, and the findings are related to specific neuroanatomical structures. Functional imaging approaches (fMRI, PET) are also used. Studies of healthy, non-brain-damaged participants are also conducted to collect normative data. Students with a GPA of 3.5 or better, who have completed at least one research methods course and who have some "hard science" background (especially biology and related courses), are preferred.

Contact Information: OR 319-384-6050

Website: Visit Tranel Lab Website

This posting was last updated on 03/08/2016

Positions Available: For credit positions available

Research Description: Research in the Clinical-Cognitive Science lab addresses the role of cognitive processing in psychopathology, with a particular focus on applications in sexual aggression between acquaintances. At this time, we are looking for highly motivated, conscientious, and reliable students for the fall and spring semesters of 2023-2024. A minimum GPA of 3.40 is required, as well as a commitment of two semesters (up to 9 hours in the lab each week, which includes a required 90-minute educational meeting on Friday morning at 9 am). Students with a background in research methods and statistics, as well as interests in pursuing a research-oriented career, are preferred.

Contact Information:

Website: Visit Clinical-Cognitive Science Lab Website

This posting was last updated on 02/17/2023

Positions Available: For credit, with some opportunities for paid positions after students have worked in the lab for a few semesters

Research Description: My research focuses on the cognitive and neural mechanisms of visual attention. Specific interests include attentional control--how attention knows where to go in a visual scene. Research assistants will gain experience with many lab procedures (e.g., data collection and analysis) and have the opportunity to participate in independent research projects, including honors theses. Minimum GPA of 3.0 and a two semester commitment are required. Students who have completed Research Methods and Introduction to Cognitive Psychology are preferred, although these courses are not required.

Contact Information:

Website: Visit Visual Cognition Laboratory Website

This posting was last updated on 10/21/2019

Positions Available: For credit, 2 positions available for pay (hourly rate dependent on experience).

Research Description: Our research examines the neurobiological mechanisms associated with cognitive aging and age-related neurological diseases, and how to effectively intervene for improved cognition and quality of life. One line of projects focuses on determining the effects of exercise, physical activity, and sedentary behavior on the brain and cognition in young and older adults. Another line of research examines age-related individual differences in the neural mechanisms of skill acquisition and associative memory. We examine neural mechanisms using non-invasive neuroimaging techniques, such as structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). We are looking for undergraduates currently enrolled who would like to gain more lab experience, particularly in exercise psychology and cognitive neuroscience. Priority will be given to students who can commit to 2-3 credit hours over at least two semesters. We also have one full-time position open for next academic year. This position requires previous lab experience and a commitment of at least 1 year, and will include responsibilities related to study coordination and recruitment.

Contact Information: OR 319-335-2057

Website: Visit HBC Lab Website

This posting was last updated on 03/04/2016

Positions Available: For credit

Research Description: Our research examines the neural mechanisms that underlie flexible behavior and cognition.

We are interested in how humans carry out and maintain goal-directed behaviors; specifically, how the cognitive system resolves challenges to this goal. Common examples of such challenges are unexpected events and action errors.

We investigate the dynamic interplay between brain networks that subserve:
- The monitoring of the external and internal environment.
- The evaluation of action outcomes.
- The adaptation of ongoing behavior and cognition in the short and long term.

We use a variety of methods to study these questions, including (but not limited to):
- Scalp-recorded Electroencephalography (EEG).
- Invasive recordings of brain activity (ECoG and DBS-LFP recordings).
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).
- Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI).
- Computational modeling.
- Autonomic psychophysiology.

Finally, we study how pathological processes, brain lesions, and (ab)normal aging affect these networks.

As a research assistant, you will:
- Collect data from behavioral tasks
- Recruit research participants
- Learn how to collect electroencephalography (brain wave) and other physiological data
- Gain valuable research experience for graduate school.

To apply, you need to have the following:
- GPA 3.0 or higher
- Good work ethic and interpersonal skills
- Programming experience (MATLAB) preferred but not required

Contact Information:

Website: Visit CogNeuroLab Website

This posting was last updated on 09/2023

Positions Available: For credit.

Research Description: This lab conducts studies on judgment and decision making. Broadly speaking, the research topics are relevant to social psychology, cognitive psychology, and decision science. We are intrigued with issues of how people seek out, evaluate, and use information for making judgments about the future, choice options, themselves, and other people. We seek to understand how such processes guide decisions and behavior, especially when uncertainty is involved. Many of our studies focus on biases, their causes, and how they can be avoided. This focus makes the research findings relevant across various domains, with a primary example being how our findings are relevant to heath-relevant issues (e.g., encouraging prevention behavior, minimizing risky behavior, making wise treatment selections). Please look around our website to learn more about who we are and what we do.

We are looking for highly motivated, conscientious, and reliable students. A minimum GPA of 3.0 and a two-semester commitment are required. There is an application link available on our lab website.

Contact Information:

Website: Visit Judgment, Decision, & Social Comparison Lab Website

This posting was last updated on 08/02/2022

Positions Available: The National Advanced Driving Simulator seeks motivated undergraduate student research assistants for research in transportation human factors. Student research assistants will gain experience with experimental design, data collection and analysis, review of scientific articles, and other aspects of applied experimental research.

Research Description: The National Advanced Driving Simulator is located on the research park and conducts research on driver behavior and traffic safety. Ongoing research topics include automated vehicles, driver state monitoring (distraction, drowsiness), and advanced safety systems and displays. The research utilizes many driving simulators, including the full-motion NADS-1 simulator (one of the most advanced in the world), along with instrumented and on-road test vehicles. For more information, see: Interested students should have reliable transportation to and from the facility. Preference will be given to students willing to make a multiple-semester commitment.

Contact Information: John Gaspar,

Enrollment Options

Research Practicum PSY:3994

Students working as research assistants in the lab of Psychology faculty are able to earn 1-3 semester hours of credit with Research Practicum. Offered only on an S-F basis, this course allows students to gain hands-on research experience while earning psychology credit. All work must be unpaid. Students in the University of Iowa Honors program can earn credit via HONR:3994 Honors Research Practicum.
  Note: Alternatively, students may earn transcript notion for this same type of activity via CCP:1005 Internship in Liberal Arts (see description in Volunteer/Internship Opportunities section).

Advanced Research Practicum PSY:3995

This course offers students the opportunity to earn 1-3 semester hours of graded credit by working as a research assistant within the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.  Students must have two semesters enrollment in Research Practicum before enrolling in Advanced Practicum.  It is expected that students enrolled in Advanced Practicum will engage in more independent work than students enrolled in Research Practicum.  Additionally, a writing component is expected with enrollment in Advanced Practicum.   

Honors Thesis Research  PSY:4990

This course allows students to earn 1-3 sh of graded academic credit for working on their honors thesis project.  Students can enroll in this course more than once, however, enrollment is not required for graduation with honors in the major.