Carnegie Mellon University

Undergraduate Opportunities

Review our information about how students can get involved in research with the Center for Behavioral and Decision Research.

Research assistant opportunities are generally available during the school year and open to CMU students. Many researchers partner with the Undergraduate Research Office to offer Summer Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship opportunities during the summer semesters.

Research Assistants

As a research center, we welcome the involvement of bright and motivated students. If you are interested in gaining research experience as an undergraduate, please read the information provided below.

Please note: The Center for Behavioral and Decision Research (CBDR) does not currently hire RAs directly. However, we help connect researchers with students interested in working in the behavioral and decision sciences. If you are only interested in working with a specific faculty member, we recommend you contact that person directly. 

Research assistantships may be available for pay, course credit, or on a volunteer basis.

Getting involved in research is a good way to learn practical skills, such as coding and running participant studies, and to see whether psychology, economics, and decision science are for you. Many students find that obtaining research experience helps them clarify their goals and gain admission to graduate programs (e.g., in psychology, economics, business, public policy, political science, or law school).

As a research assistant in the lab, you will work closely with members of the Center for Behavioral Decision Research on one or more of their research projects. Your involvement may include scheduling participants, preparing experimental materials, running experimental sessions, and coding raw data. In addition, you may be asked to give feedback on hypotheses and methods, to enter data from lab materials, to conduct basic data analysis, to prepare materials for projects, or to conduct literature searches.

If you choose to apply, among other things, you will be asked to submit a resume or curriculum vitae, describe your availability during the semester, respond to a few short-answer questions, and have the option of including a cover letter.

All researchers with CBDR, including research assistants, need to complete two online training courses via the CITI Program (https://www.citiprogram.org/). The courses that need to be completed are:
  1. Social and Behavioral Basic/Refresher
  2. Social and Behavioral Responsible Conduct of Research

Though these courses do not need to be completed prior to submitting an application, please be sure to complete them before working on any research projects. For more information about these courses, please see the Information for Researchers section of the website, and click on the section entitled Starting Research with CBDR.

Summer Internships

For Summer 2020, CBDR is facilitating connections to faculty members interested in working with Carnegie Mellon University students through the Summer Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship (SURA) program. Please email cbdr-lab@andrew.cmu.edu for more information.