Thank you for your interest in PSYC 116!

This unique course offered through the Psychology department at UCSD provides students the opportunity to become a research assistant in a clinical research lab affiliated with the University, while also developing important professional skills through a weekly seminar. Working in a clinical lab affiliated with UCSD, students collect and enter data, interview and screen participants, attend weekly lab meetings with a Principal Investigator (PI) and his or her team, and develop hands-on research experience.

In PSYC 116, students focus on developing professional skills during weekly cohort seminar meetings, including presenting and discussing extant literature, conducting literature searches, mastering APA style, understanding the value and process of grant submission, and integrating a body of research within a clinical field of interest.

Learn more about the current PSYC 116 professors: Dr. Jennifer Winward and Dr. Ariel Lang.


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

Students in PSYC 116 become research assistants in labs that conduct a range of research, including but not limited to the following: neurocognitive effects of heavy drug use in adolescence, risk factors for bipolar disorder, impact of mother-daughter communication on healthy weight management, neurobiology of addiction, impact of interpersonal trauma, influence of exercise on relapse risk, comorbidity of anxiety and depression, longitudinal course of Post-Traumatic 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 35 clinical research labs at UCSD, so space to enroll in the course is contingent upon the needs of these labs, which vary each quarter. As there is limited space in this course, preference is given to those of junior or senior standing and good academic standing.

An active waitlist – usually of over 500 students at a time – for this class is maintained. So please keep in mind that if you’re highly qualified but not yet of senior standing, then you have the option to remain on the waiting list for opportunities to join the class in a later quarter.


How are students graded in PSYC 116?

Your grade in the class is based on your lab participation, class participation, analysis of research articles, and final paper. The 116 grade involves three main components:

  1. A 10 hour/week commitment (i.e., 100 hours/quarter) to assist with research in a UCSD-affiliated, clinically-focused research lab.
  2. A weekly, 2-hour seminar meeting with the cohort and the Professor to discuss and explore clinical research and to share experiences from your research lab. During class, students present articles and hone their critical thinking skills while analyzing extant literature and discussing methodology and findings with their peers.
  3. An annotated bibliography and integrated summary (turned in at the end of the quarter) reviewing 10 articles from a field related to clinical research.


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’ve been on the waiting list for a while 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 get on the waiting list for PSYC 116?

Yes!  It’s amazing that you’re planning ahead and showing interest in the course in advance. Please complete the waiting list survey as soon as you know you’re interested in gaining admission to the class. You might be on the waiting list for over a year, but the earlier you get on the waiting list, the greater your chances of acceptance to the class.