Thank you for your interest in PSYC 116!

This unique course provides the opportunity to enhance your experience as a research assistant in a UCSD clinical research lab by developing skills relevant to research-based careers in mental health. In PSYC 116, students focus on developing professional skills during weekly experience-based seminar meetings, including developing oral and written presentation skills, critically evaluating and discussing extant literature, mastering APA style, understanding the value and process of grant submission, and generating research ideas.

The 116A-B-C series to start in Fall 2019 is currently accepting applications, which are due Friday, April 19, 2019 at 11:59pm. Please complete your application prior to the deadline. Those offered interviews will be contacted in early May.

The coursework is linked to a PSYC 199 lab placement in which students engage in a variety of research activities, which may include collecting and entering data; recruiting, interviewing, and screening participants; learning specialized laboratory skills; and attending weekly lab meetings with a Principal Investigator (PI) and his or her team.

This course is an excellent opportunity to preview graduate studies in clinical psychology or other mental-health related fields. It is less directly applicable to those who are seeking a career in patient care.

Learn more about the current PSYC 116 professors: Dr. Jennifer Winward and Dr. Ariel Lang. And please see below for answers to the most frequently asked questions.


What types of research labs do students have access to through PSYC 116?

Students in PSYC 116 become research assistants in labs that conduct research with children, adolescents, and adults involving a range of mental health problems. Examples of past placements include the following: neurocognitive effects of heavy drug use in adolescence, risk factors for bipolar disorder, evaluation of smoking cessation programs, neurobiology of addiction, influence of exercise on relapse risk, treatment of hoarding disorder, psychotherapeutic treatment of veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder, and the effects of mindfulness meditation on memory in older adults.


How does PSYC 116 count toward my Psychology major requirements?

  • PSYC 116 progresses as an A-B-C series during the Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters. At the completion of the course, students will have satisfied their research requirements and three upper division electives.


Are there requirements or expectations to enroll and to continue in this course?

  • Most labs require a 3.0 minimum GPA and a minimum 3 quarter commitment. Students enrolling in PSYC 116 will typically enroll in the course for 3 quarters and then decide to (a) continue as a 199 during the summer, (b) volunteer in the same lab without credit to continue the relationship with the PI, or (c) pursue other research opportunities separate from the class.
  • The lab commitment is exceptionally important. It is expected that you be on time, diligent, professional, and positive while working with the lab team and its research participants. The lab PIs and Instructor will be in consistent communication throughout the quarter about your lab progress. Please recognize and value that you’re being trusted by a PI and his or her team to contribute and to be accountable.


Is it hard to get into PSYC 116?

Acceptance to this course is highly competitive and requires an application and an interview with the instructor to learn about you and your clinical interests and also to evaluate which labs would be the best fit. The PSYC 116 course has a partnership with numerous clinical research labs at UCSD, so space to enroll in the course is contingent upon the needs of these labs. As there is limited space in this course, preference is given to those of junior or senior standing and good academic standing.

Applications are accepted in spring quarter for the following academic year. We are currently accepting applications for students who wish to start the 116 A-B-C series in Fall 2019. Please complete your application prior to the deadline of Friday, April 19, 2019 at 11:59pm.


How do I get matched with a research lab?

When you apply for PSYC 116, you will be provided with a list of lab openings for the upcoming academic year. You will rank your top 5 choices and be placed in a lab by the Professors. We are not always able to place students in a lab they ranked but always try to match a student’s research interests with a lab.


How are students graded in PSYC 116?

Your grade in the class is based on your class participation, class projects, and lab participation. Assignments vary by quarter and instructor.


What if I’m not eligible for PSYC 116 but I’m still interested in doing research at UCSD?

Students have the opportunity to participate in research at UCSD through the PSYC 199 program, which has two options:

  • 2 Units: 6 hours/week in a research lab
  • 4 Units: 12 hours/week in a research lab

Students interested in locating labs that currently offer PSYC 199 opportunities, should visit the UCSD REAL portal.  For additional questions regarding the research requirement for Psychology majors, see the Psychology website.


What if I’m not accepted and I’m graduating soon?

Since acceptance to the PSYC 116 program is highly competitive, many students will show interest but not be offered admission to the class. Interview are typically conducted each Spring quarter to select students to enroll the next Fall. If you’re not accepted to the 116 program, then it’s important to seek other opportunities if you’re concerned about meeting research hours required for graduation. If you’re graduating soon and require research units for your major, then it’s highly recommended you seek 199 opportunities to fulfill that requirement.  Contact Psychology Advising if you have any questions about your research requirement.


I am a freshman or sophomore. Can I apply for PSYC 116?

Yes!  It’s amazing that you’re planning ahead and showing interest in the course in advance, but juniors and seniors will have priority for the class when space is limited. If you are not accepted for your sophomore year, you certainly may apply again.