Department of Psychology

Research Experience Scheme

Research experience for the real world

Our Research Experience Scheme (RES) brings together students and staff across our department to work on academic research projects.

The scheme has helped many of our students gain a greater understanding of how academic research projects work, and led to them developing skills that have proved useful in their own projects and future employment.

What is the RES?

This Scheme allows students in the department to apply to work with academics in our department on specific research projects that the academic is running.

You may not be the only student working with a particular academic. Depending on the research and the projects that are available, some academics may recruit two or three students.

The Scheme is a great opportunity for you to develop your research skills and potentially learn how to carry out experiments, or how to manage and assess data. These highly transferable skills are relevant for both a career in research and non-academic employment.

These placements also meet the criteria for a Big Essex Award unit, which showcases the skills you have developed at the University.

More about the RES

Which students can take part?

The scheme is open to both undergraduate and Masters students in our Department of Psychology. We do not recruit students from other departments.

The RES is not open to students undertaking postgraduate research degrees (such as a PhD) as you should already have research experience. However, the department may recruit postgraduate research students for paid roles such as Graduate Laboratory Assistants or Graduate Teaching Assistants.

What will I be doing?

There are a variety of tasks that the academic you are working with may ask you to carry out. This can include assisting in experiments such as collecting, organising and analysing data, or helping design and set up experiments. You may be trained to use equipment such as EEG or tES.

Other work may include carrying out some research in the library, or recruiting and co-ordinating participants for research experiments.

How much time do students have to commit?

You will need to commit a maximum of five hours per week. These can be arranged with your academic supervisor to be at a time that suits you both.

Placements will normally run for a total of 25 hours and will qualify for a Big Essex Award unit. This time can spread across more than one term depending on the hours per week you are undertaking.

Is there a limit to how many opportunities a student can undertake?

You will only be recruited to one opportunity at a time.

There is no limit on how many you apply for or how often you apply, but if a project receives a high number of applications the academic may prioritise candidates who have not taken part before, as this gives everyone a chance to participate.

How do I find out about available opportunities and apply?

Opportunities are advertised throughout the year on a dedicate RES Moodle page. All application information will be provided in the advert.

If you are an incoming first-year student you will be given access to Moodle in Welcome Week, and will then be able to enrol to the RES Moodle page to see advertised projects.

Does this scheme count towards my final degree mark or prioritise my application for a Masters course or PhD?

While RES is not considered for your final degree mark, it can still give you a head start in your career.

RES gives you additional experience in managing and carrying out academic research. As a result you may find it useful to reflect on this experience and elaborate on the skills you have developed as part of applications and interviews for jobs or a postgraduate degree.

"I can wholeheartedly say that choosing to be a part of the RES was one of the best decisions I have made during my time as a student. Participating in the RES is a great way to gain much needed experience in the field of research, which is particularly useful for those interested in an academic career."
Dr Ana Gheorghiu Senior Research Officer, Department of Psychology

Further research experience

While the Research Experience Scheme is aimed at psychology students, Essex also runs an Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme, which gives you the opportunity to apply for research placements in other departments.

Research degrees

Our research degrees (such as a PhD) are separate from the Research Experience Scheme. You can apply online for a postgraduate research degree.

Get in touch
Dr Rael Dawtry Research Experience Scheme organiser