Undergraduate opportunities

Information for Undergraduates interested in Research

We welcome your interest in our laboratory.  This page is designed to provide you with some information about our projects, and how you can become involved.  Here, you will find a list of projects, links to our graduate student and post-doctoral colleagues, as well as some lab rules/policies.

Screening application for our laboratory

Link to application here

Fill out the application, and e-mail it to the doctoral student who is overseeing the project your are interested in. List of projects is below. These questions help us (and you) to gauge whether you would be a good fit in our laboratory environment.

MACS Study – Link to lab (pending) – Link to Psychology information (see bottom of page) – Link to Honors information

VITAL Study – Link to lab – Link to Psychology information (see bottom of page)  – Link to Honors information

How to register and HIPAA/IRB/CHP Volunteer form

Registration procedures are similar, whether you are taking CLP 3911, or PSY 4911/4905/4970.  In each case, you first need to identify a project and complete the screening (above).  If the graduate students agree there is a good fit between you and the project, the doctoral student should contact me to expect your registration.  About two weeks before the start of the semester, you should schedule an appointment with Dr. Marsiske (marsiske@ufl.edu).  At that appointment, you should bring the five forms below.  You should also bring your registration form (all forms are available below).

  • For CLP 3911, we take all the forms (we need to show them in order for you to be registered), and you will then register IN THE DEPARTMENT OF CLINICAL AND HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY (enrollment is controlled, you cannot register elsewhere).
  • For the PSY courses, we will sign your registration form, which you will take BACK to PSYCHOLOGY to get registered.
  • For both CLP and PSY courses, the five forms below will be used to request SERVER ACCESS for you in the laboratory.
  • Note that for PSY 4905, you will be required to turn in a final paper to the Psych undergraduate advising office.  The paper must be 3-pages-for-every-credit (i.e., 2 credits = 6 pages; 3 credits = 9 pages).
    • (a) Be sure to discuss the format of this paper with Dr. Marsiske and your supervising doctoral student during the first week of classes;
    • (b) submit a draft of your final paper to the doctoral student three weeks before the end of class;
    • (c) submit a revised “final” draft to Dr. Marsiske two weeks before the end of class;
    • (d) incorporate any revisions from Dr. Marsiske and turn in this final paper to the Psych undergraduate advising office before the last day of classes.

Per College/Health Science Center rules, no student may work with us unless having completed FOUR elements.  The upshot is that you take these online courses; each one is followed by a test.  You need to pass the test, and then you may print a certificate.  Each of these certificates needs to be brought in the department before we can (a) let you in our lab and (b) issue you a college server account.  The steps are fairly efficient, and can be completed in about an hour or two.  UF also requires all students to complete a “volunteer” form (#4 below).
1.  Take HIPAA Research and Information Privacy, and print certificate (must be renewed annually)

2.  Sign Confidentiality Statement electronically, then also print and sign manually (must be renewed annually)

3.  Complete NIH IRB training, and print certificate. Note that UF’s IRB has additional training requirements for all persons involved in research:  http://www.irb.ufl.edu/education/trainreq.htm.  Please read these documents before beginning work on any research project.

4.  Complete and print the UF Volunteer form. (Note that this form requires two references; you should have this form completed by your doctoral student contact BEFORE coming to see Dr. Marsiske)

When you’re done, you need to bring these five documents to the doctoral student with whom you are working.  We will present these to a staff person in our department, who will authorize you to work with us, and who will get you an e-mail/server account in our college.

Lab policies (including how to register/senior thesis/dress code)

We are a fun and flexible group, so don’t let this “policy” stuff scare you off. However, in working with students for a number of years, we’ve found that it is best to state some expectations up front, to avoid problems due to a lack of communication.  In addition to the academic stuff, don’t miss the dress code/personal hygiene stuff here!
1.  What are the expectations of undergraduates?

We expect undergraduates to register for a minimum of 4 credits with us (i.e., min 2 credits per semester for a minimum of 2 semesters).  Generally, students should register for CLP 4911, Introduction to Clinical Research, Introduction to Research in Psychology.  If you’re thinking of doing a senior thesis, see point #4 below.  You’ll find the link to the form below.
2.  What do I do with the form for CLP 3911/PSY 4911?

Fill it out, and schedule an appointment with Michael Marsiske to have it signed.  Note, time gets tight during registration periods, so planning ahead is good.
3.  Can Dr. Marsiske supervise any research credits in Psychology (CLAS)?

Yes.  Dr. Marsiske is jointly appointed in Psychology, and will supervise PSY 4905, and PSY 4970 (Senior Thesis).  For a Psychology major seeking an introductory research experience, CLP 3911 should be registered for (and is equivalent to PSY 4911 for the purposes of your major).   See special paper requirement for PSY 4905 above.
4.  Can I do a senior thesis with Dr. Marsiske?

Sometimes.  This is a minimum two-semester commitment, and is independent of the CLP 3911 option above.  We will never accept new thesis students for only one semester.  All students wishing to pursue a thesis must have a MINIMUM GPA of 3.5 (per Psychology rules).  Theses are a lot of work for you and the lab team (lots of drafts to read, comment, revise), so we want to make sure that students are intrinsically interested in the research, have read extensively to prepare themselves to conduct a major study, are excellent writers.  Generally, students who are planning to apply for further graduate study in Psychology would be the best suited to conduct a thesis in our lab.  For this reason, much advance work and preparation is needed, as indicated below.
A senior thesis needs to be negotiated well in advance.  Dr. Marsiske views the senior thesis as similar to the Masters, in that it is a collaborative, mentored piece of work.  Generally, independent data collections by undergraduate collaborators are not strongly supported; we like it more when students construct their thesis by analyzing data from projects already in progress, or, sometimes, by adding measures/questions to projects already in progress.  Here are the steps:
(a) ONE TO TWO SEMESTERS BEFORE THE THESIS, arrange to register for Psy 4905 (minimum of 2 credits; you can do up to 4 credits of this) with Dr. Marsiske.  Link to the form is below. This application will require, per Psychology rules, a description of the intended activity in enough detail to be evaluated for relevance and scope, including a statement about form of the written report to be submitted as part of the study. You should meet with Dr. Marsiske to have this description approved BEFORE submitting it.  Psy 4905 directions can be found here. See special paper instructions for Psy 4905 above.
If you are approved for PSY 4905, during the semester(s) in which you are enrolled for it, we will write the Thesis Proposal.  We have strong expectations for the Thesis proposal (it should be discussed, outlined, and submitted for critique before submission).  Note, that to write the Thesis proposal, we expect you to work with us to first select a list of about 20 relevant journal articles that summarize the state of the art in your area of interests.  We expect you to read and synthesize these articles, and to discuss them with us, to prepare yourself to do “next step” research in furthering this body of research.
(b) When registering for THE SEMESTERS OF THE THESIS, obtain the application form for Psy 4970 (minimum of 3 credits; you can take up to 6 credits over two semesters). To submit this form, you will need to

  • submit a formal proposal (this needs to be approved by Dr. Marsiske FIRST (before submission), with a full read-through with edits)
  • fill out the PSY 4970 application, which Dr. Marsiske needs to sign; PSY 4970 directions can be found here.
  • identify two additional Thesis committee members, who will read the thesis and attend your final oral defense.  YOU SHOULD NOT DO THIS INDEPENDENTLY.  Discuss prospective committee members with Dr. Marsiske, and get his final approval for committee composition.

(c) FOR THE THESIS ITSELF, we usually set a tight 2-3 month timeline for its completion, with a lot of sub-deadlines.  Students are expected to work with Dr. Marsiske and collaborating doctoral students to carefully outline the document, and then to send drafts of chapters/sections to Dr. Marsiske by the deadline.  The thesis culminates with an oral defense (made up of a committee of three faculty members; composition to be worked out with Dr. Marsiske), which involves a 10-15 minutes oral presentation with Powerpoint slides, followed by 45 minutes of questioning and suggests for revision from the committee.
Thesis work with students is important to me, and I enjoy it.  However, it is a mutual commitment to doing a lot of intensive work together, and should not be entered into casually.
5.  Are there paid student positions?

Not currently. Students who have registered for research credits and/or volunteered usually get first consideration when paid positions become available.
6.  Can I publish lab work?
Possibly. In the past, undergraduates have participated in laboratory presentations and publications.  In rare circumstances, undergraduates might even serve as first authors (if they have shown intellectual leadership, and if this is pre-negotiated).  Top quality thesis work is a good candidate for student publication, and can be completed even after the student has graduated from UF.  As a general rule, NOTHING from the lab may be disseminated (even locally, even in classes) without explicit permission and review by Dr. Marsiske.
7.  Why is there a dress code?

Most of our students interact with older adults as research assistants (testers, interventionists).  Thus, like all customer service/clinical interaction environments, we need to adhere to the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology’s dress code rules.  Often, older adults working with us may be stressed by being tested; they may also belong to a generation that was used to much more formal professional dress.  Thus, it is reassuring, and inspires trust, if we adhere to these rules.  Internally, members of our lab tend to be open and non-judgemental about individual styles and preferences…but this is not the face we present to follow lab members–it is about the face we present to clients and participants.

8.  What is the dress code?

In Clinical and Health Psychology, students may not wear: (1) halter tops, strapless, and muscle shirts; (2) clothing with obscene language or messages pertaining to alcohol, cigarettes, and violence or inappropriate logos or advertisements; (3) blue jeans except dressy jean skirts (no cutoffs); (4) no exposed bellies, breasts, or underwear; (5) no see-thru shirts; (6) no facial piercings such as eyebrows, lips, noses, etc.; (7) no hats indoors.  Students must conform to the following guidelines: (1) pants and shorts must be worn at the waistline, preferably tucked in, with a  belt, for men; (2) all dresses, shorts and skirts must be at pinky finger length (when arms are extended down along the sides) or longer; (3) students should be mindful of bathing/deodorant/breath status, as they will often be working in close quarters with senior clients.

Ideal dress would be slacks and collared shirts for men, “office casual” attire for women.  Students are free to wear unadorned white lab coats as well.  When working with participants cutoffs, shorts, sandels, baseball caps, unkempt hair all tend to detract from the professional image…no matter how likeable you are.  (When working in the lab on computers, etc. these dress issues are much less important).

Application forms for CLP 3911/PSY 4911/PSY 4905/PSY 4970

Students wishing paper copies of these forms may obtain them from the departments.  CLP form is available in hanging cubbies in the “cafeteria area”, just outside the department’s main office on the third floor of the HPNP building (Rm 3160).  PSY forms are available from the undergraduate advising office (PSY 135) or the main office (PSY 114).