The Research Assistant Application Program (RAAP) provides first-hand experience with psychological research on a variety of exciting research projects. Students can research factors that influence human behavior at every point in the life span, from prenatal to old age. Students in good academic standing are encouraged to become involved in research as early as possible in their academic program, preferably during the sophomore year. This kind of opportunity will be invaluable for students who are thinking about pursuing graduate work in psychology or related areas. It will help them decide whether they have the interest and aptitude for research and will help them become competitive for admission to a graduate program.

Also, download the RAAP Application HERE!


There are 2 ways one can go about applying to become a research assistant: official and unofficial. You may choose to use both of these methods at the same time; however, this is not necessary.

Finding a Lab: 2 Ways

• Before each semester, a list of open labs will be posted in the RAAP folder (Getting Involved/Relevant Experience –> Research Assistantships –> RAAP) on the Psych homeroom found on Blackboard.

• On SDSU’s Psychology Department website, under People – Faculty Research Labs, there is a list of faculty members and their research labs, along with a description of their research interests.

• You may want to consider applying to a lab of a professor that you already know from previous coursework, although this is not necessary.

Official Application

  1. Select 1-3 labs of interest. Applying to more than one lab will increase your likelihood of being accepted into a lab.
  2. When a Blackboard announcement that RAAP is opening for the upcoming semester appears, go on to the Psych homeroom page on Blackboard where you will have access to a link to the Google Form. You should come across the link to the under the RAAP folder (Getting Involved/Relevant Experience –> Research Assistantships –> RAAP) where the link will be posted at the top of the list of open labs.
  3. Tailor your application to fit the lab you are applying to. If you are applying to multiple labs you will need to submit separate individualized applications. Students may apply to a maximum of 3 labs.
  4. If you meet all of the selected faculty member’s requirements, the RAAP coordinators will inform you and send your application to the faculty member. After this point, the communication will be between you and the faculty member.
  5. The faculty member will typically notify you within 2 weeks after receiving your application if you are to be interviewed. However, sometimes the process may take longer. If you have not heard from the faculty member after 2 weeks, you may want to contact him/her with a brief reminder of your application.
  6. If you have missed the RAAP period before a semester, you may still contact professors you are interested in with an Unofficial Application.

Unofficial application

  1. Select 1-3 labs of interest.
  2. E-mail the professors. In these e-mails you will need to briefly introduce yourself and express your interest in their lab and why. You will need to ask if they have openings in the semester you are interested in. You will also need to ask them if they want you to provide a CV/resume, and/or provide an unofficial transcript.
  3. From this point, you will wait up to 2 weeks and if they don’t respond, you will want to send a follow up e-mail.
  4. If they respond and sound interested, you will want to set up a meeting with the professor.

Helpful Hints:

  • Many professors heavily weigh the grades you earned in Statistics and Methods, PSY 280, PSY 281, PSY 301, and/or PSY 410 when evaluating your application.
  • Peer advisors in LS105 can help you with CV/resume building