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: 

• The Psychology Advising Office maintains lists of research opportunities at SDSU, as well as within and outside of San Diego for students to explore. To access the various lists of research opportunities, please visit our Psychology Homeroom on Canvas, and select the “Research Opportunities” icon to be directed to the relevant module. Before each semester, an updated list of open faculty labs is posted under the “On-Campus Research Opportunities” page; however, if you are interested in a research lab that is not on this list, you may still reach out to the faculty research advisor/lab manager to inquire about open research assistant positions

Unofficial application

• 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.

  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