Research Internships

The School of Psychology offers a variety of possibilities for students who want to get some hands-on experience in the lab.

Voluntary Lab Experience:

Level 1, 2, or 3 students who would like to gain some insights into the work we do in the lab on a day-to-day basis are welcome to volunteer. Voluntary work is possible throughout the terms and also during the summer. It can involve designing experiments, running subjects, or data analysis. You might work on your own project, or help a PhD student/Post-doc with their projects.

What you need to do:

  • Think about what kind of research you would like to learn more about (e.g., face or object recognition, motion perception, ageing, emotions).
  • Look at the list of staff members to find a person whose research you are interested in. All staff members have a list of research interests on their school webpage and some even provide additional information on their personal webpages.
  • Once you identified a potential supervisor, contact him or her to find out about opportunities and possible projects. 

Paid Summer Research Internships:

There are several funding options available for summer internships. These internships are mostly for Level 3 students but some also allow for applications from Level 2 students (deadlines are usually between January and March). 

In addition, the School of Psychology and the University of Aberdeen's Development Trust fund several summer internships each year (mainly for Level 3). Exact details are disseminated to students in winter.

Before you apply for any of the schemes, you need to contact a potential supervisor approximately two months ahead of the deadline to discuss a project. He or she will be able to assist you with your application. Follow the same steps indicated for voluntary work above to identify a person you would like to work with. If you have any general questions, please contact Dr Bert Timmermans.

Top

Workplace Internships

The Psychology Internship Programme was initially set up in 2013, with a single applied internship.  Since then the programme has been developed to encompass up to ten internships per year (nine were completed in 2015/16, ten in 2016/17 and a further ten in 2017/18), from a variety of different areas.  The aim is to provide educational and work-based experiences for final year Psychology students in each of the main Psychology career areas including: Clinical; Occupational; Counselling; Health; Sports; Forensic; Psychotherapy; Research; Human Factors; Marketing; HR; Public Engagement. 

Each internship requires the student to engage in project activities one day a week throughout term or over summer.  The internship can be work based, usually comprised of a short-term or small scale body of work that the student will complete over a time period defined by the organisation.  This work often includes administrative duties, report writing, public engagement, presentation of work, meeting attendance and participation in training activities. Alternatively, the internship can be project based, including activities such as literature review and research activities (e.g. data collection and analysis). In each case the student has an organisational supervisor; the host supervisor should monitor the workload to ensure it is appropriate for the student, and manageable within the given timescale. 

The School-organised internships are not usually paid, but students can now gain 15 credits for their internships via the new work-related learning module.  This module is based on the student completing an internship (school-organised or student-organised) along with two pieces of graded coursework.

Past internships have included:

  • Forensic Psychology: Research based internships located with HMP Grampian.
  • Clinical Psychology: Research based internships based with the Clinical team at Foresterhill.
  • Care-based internships: Organisations such as Momentum and Buchan Community Farm have hosted practical internships where students get involved in aspects of care and support.
  • Human Factors: Dekra usually hosts a practical human factors based internship each year.
  • Human Resources: We have previously sourced internships within the University HR department, and with external HR companies.
  • Educational Psychology: Previous internships have been hosted by the Aberdeen Council Educational psychology team.

    The internships sourced by the School vary each year dependent on the availability of host organisations.

    If you want to find out more about the employability programme, students and organisations can contact Dr Amy Irwin.

Top

Testimonies

Jill Poots, Psychology MA (Hons)

Carrying out a Summer Research Internship has certainly opened a lot of doors for me. I have an interest in Human Factors and felt that research was seriously lacking in the Agriculture Sector. During my internship, I interviewed farm workers in Scotland and Northern Ireland about their experiences and these interviews were then coded for non-technical skills such as situational awareness, decision-making and teamwork. This research was published in Safety Science (Read more).

Undertaking the Summer Internship improved my research skills and assisted me with my own thesis, giving me the background knowledge necessary to formulate my own hypotheses in this particular area. I am just about to start working for Shell’s Safety team; the internship, along with my study of Human Factors in fourth year definitely helped support my application. I would thoroughly recommend taking an internship position – especially in an area you are interested in, who knows where it might take you? 

Ewa Butowska, Psychology (MA) Hons

Last summer, I took part in a project on age-related changes in biological motion perception related to autistic and schizotypic traits as part of a BBSRC research placement. Testing especially elderly people was a lot of fun and an amazing experience. I had the chance to meet and talk to many fantastic people, including participants and academic staff, which I would have never had the chance to do to such extent if not for the placement. Interacting with people who were often much older than me and also senior to me gave me a lot more self-confidence and also showed me how much more there is to learn. The whole experience was very motivating and inspiring.

During the ten weeks of my summer internship, my skills improved a lot. I was not only responsible for recruiting subjects and running the experiments using computer programs I had never used before, but I also analysed the data using statistical software. One of the nicest things about my time in the lab was to be really involved in current research and to see how research is being done on a daily basis.

I think that a summer projects is a great opportunity for a variety of obvious reasons such as gaining new experience, improving ones research skills, meeting academics, and acquiring knowledge; For less obvious reasons – find out for yourselves!

Diana Marosi, Psychology (MA) Hons

Before my summer internship, I was involved in a few experiments within the Department of Psychology as a Research Assistant, only gathering the data, but not being able to see how exactly an idea is formed from the previous studies, how the experiment is designed, how the analysis is run and how all these parts come together in a final piece of work. As I wanted to be part of this process and to get a deeper understanding of it, I applied for an internship. I was able to acquire an overview of the background literature, I recruited participants, tested them, ran a significant part of the analysis of the data with my supervisor and thought about the explanations for it and its implications, fitting it into a bigger picture.

Overall, I think this was a great experience, because I had the opportunity to see beyond the stage of testing participants, being exposed to a multitude of steps that one has to go through to end up with meaningful results and realised that different techniques of analysis can and should be improved at any stage. My supervisor gave me very helpful explanations whenever I needed more clarifications in various situations, offered guidance to solve the problems that arose in the course of the weeks and was patient and very supportive.

Top