It is essential that psychology students develop an appreciation and understanding for research, as well as gain the specific skills needed to carry out studies of their own. Graduate students are expected already to have had some undergraduate background in research methods and/or statistics.
Courses include an emphasis on both basic and applied research, as well as on quantitative and qualitative methods. Students become familiar with some of the research tools used to investigate basic psychological processes, to assess needs and identify relevant factors that contribute to those problems, and to evaluate the impact of programs designed to meet those needs.
For those students who wish to gain additional research skill and experience, there are directed study, project and thesis options that allow them to concentrate on a particular area of study.
UMass Lowell is a major research university. Our campus is ranked as a "Carnegie II" university ("doctoral, intensive") based on the campus's high volume of externally-funded research. This criterion is enough to place us in the second-highest tier of all colleges and universities in the U.S.
Much of this research is coordinated through a number of campus research centers and institutes. Psychology graduate students are encouraged to link up with one of several centers and laboratories that are closely affiliated with both the Psychology Department and its graduate program. Among them are:
The Center for Community Research and Engagement, which provides education, training, consultation, research and organizational support to dozens of local community groups, and which initiates numerous social, economic, and environmental programs of its own. Its goal is to promote the mental health and well being of families and communities.
The Center for Women and Work is an interdisciplinary center dedicated to improving the conditions of work and enhancing economic opportunities for women through education, research, and social action. The Center offers exciting opportunities for student involvement in both research and community-based action projects relevant to the theme of women and work.
The Laboratory for Children and Families emphasizes research on how diverse ethnic, cultural, economic, and personal backgrounds influence child development and family life.
The Laboratory for Immigrant Research is committed to research that investigates the impact of culture on the psychological, social, and health development of ethnic minority immigrant individuals, families, and communities. Both quantitative and qualitative methods and approaches are utilized to understand the immigrant experience. The ultimate aim of the Lab is to produce information that will be useful for intervention development in immigrant communities.
Each of these centers and laboratories offers opportunities for students to do research and action studies, to conduct projects and theses, and at times to gain paid employment.
Externally funded research at Lowell is coordinated through the campus's Office of Research Administration (ORA), which provides invaluable support to faculty and students who are seeking funding for their research.