Getting Involved

The opportunities provided at the University of Memphis represent a point of entry into the world of psychology that will take you far beyond the courses needed to earn a major in psychology. Motivated students can enter this world by becoming involved in ongoing research, colloquia, clubs, and honors seminars. The experience you gain from taking advantage of these and other opportunities within the department will supplement the knowledge you need to succeed in post-baccalaureate work in or outside the field of psychology.

The key to getting involved in psychology and events within the department is keeping your eyes on the undergraduate bulletin board (across the hall from Room 204) for updated information on the opportunities available to you. For more information on research areas and meetings, please see the Research Area Meeting Schedule.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Faculty members and graduate students often recruit undergraduates using flyers posted around the Psychology Department, especially on the undergraduate bulletin board (located in the hall across from room 204). Recruitment also takes place through the Psychology Academic Advising & Resource Center (Room 205), in-class requests for help, and through Psi Chi and the Psychology Club meetings. Click on Research to find out the many areas of psychological research being conducted at the UofM. Opportunities for undergraduates to get involved in research are readily available, and the enrichments are both numerous and variable.

You may receive letters of recommendation. You may ask for letters of recommendation from the faculty member or graduate student that you assist; however, receiving a letter of recommendation remains at the discretion of the researcher. Since graduate school applications are generally due before the spring semester of your senior year, you are encouraged to get involved in research as soon as possible.You can get course credit for assisting with research. There are two ways that you may register to receive course credit for assisting with research within the department: PSYC 4503 and PSYC 4504. These classes are considered pass/fail, and you may contract for any number of hours. However, only 9 credit hours of work can count toward your degree requirements. Of these 9 credit hours, you may contract with the same researcher for a maximum of 6 hours of course credit. See the undergraduate secretary in the main office (Room 202) for course contracts and contact information. PSYC 4503: Contracting for PSYC 4503 will allow you and the researcher of your choice to create a semester-long plan that will give you hands-on experience with psychological research today. PSYC 4504: The contract for PSYC 4504 is designed to allow you and the researcher of your choice to set up a special project, culminating in the writing of a related paper.

You may receive a paid assistantship for your work. The Psychology Department sponsors an assistantship program for psychology majors who are interested in research and teaching activities. The assistantship requires approximately 10 work hours per week for fall and spring semesters. These assistantships are rare, not guaranteed, and the rate of pay varies. For more information, check the undergraduate bulletin board or contact the department chairman in the main office (Room 202). You will receive experience and hands-on training beyond the average undergraduate psychology major. You will have a competitive edge over your peers in that you may, depending on your interests and how you take advantage of your opportunities, take part in research conferences and possibly receive authorship on published research. You may also ask to sit in on specialty area research colloquia, where the current research of graduate students, faculty, and invited speakers is discussed.You will gain many valuable friends and experiences that you will carry for the rest of your life. Each psychological experience you share with a faculty member or graduate student will enhance your knowledge of psychology and the steps necessary to achieve greatness in the field. Yes, there may be hard work involved, but in the end you will benefit from the opportunities you take now. 

Departmental Awards

Addington Award: The Addington Award is given to the outstanding senior psychology major in honor of Milton Addington, a former faculty member. The winner is selected on the basis of grades, contribution to the department, and an interview with Mrs. Addington and a representative of the benefactor. This honor carries a monetary award.

Chi Beta Phi Award: The Chi Beta Phi award is given each year to the graduating senior who has the highest grade point average.


Student Affiliation with APA and APS: Any student may become a Student Affiliate of the American Psychological Association or the American Psychological Society by completing an application and paying the membership fee. Members may attend APA or APS conventions, subscribe to APA or APS journals, and purchase other APA or APS publications at a reduced rate. Application forms for Student Affiliate memberships are available from the departmental office.

Psi Chi: The National Honor Society in Psychology Psi Chi was founded in 1929 for the purposes of encouraging, stimulating, maintaining excellence in scholarship, and advancing the science of psychology. Membership is awarded to graduate and undergraduate men and women who are making the study of psychology one of their major interests and who meet the qualifications. Psi Chi is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies and is an affiliate of the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society. The University of Memphis chapter, chartered in 1954, strives to sponsor a variety of events that include discussion panels, speakers, symposiums, and other social activities that encourage a sense of unity within the Psychology Department. The society has two major publications, Eye on Psi Chi, a magazine that helps to unite chapters and members across the nation, and Psi Chi Journal of Undergraduate Research, a national, fully reviewed, quarterly journal dedicated to the publication of student research.

Gamma Beta Phi Society (incorporated in 1964): The Gamma Beta Phi Society is an honor and service organization. The objectives as stated in its Constitution are to recognize and encourage excellence in education, to promote the development of leadership ability and character in its members, and to foster, disseminate, and improve education through appropriate service projects.

Naturally, this is not an exhaustive list of clubs and societies on campus. There are many, many more organizations on campus that you may become involved in. For more information on these, contact the Center for Student Volunteerism in the University Center (Second Floor, across from the Information Desk).


There are now two ways that psychology majors can receive honors from the University of Memphis. One way is receive honors recognition through the Department of Psychology, and the other is to get an Honors diploma through the University of Memphis Honors Department.

This site is only a jumping off point for you to become familiar with the opportunities available in the Department of Psychology at the University of Memphis. Keep your eyes open and you will discover opportunities around every corner of the Psychology building. Also, do not be afraid to speak to your advisors or class professors about any of the opportunities listed here. Most will be more than knowledgeable on some aspect of these opportunities and will usually be more than happy to refer you to a more knowledgeable person if he or she is not.