Students are encouraged to present their research at one or both of two major annual conferences: the Lehigh Valley Undergraduate Psychology Conference or the Psi Chi Undergraduate Research Symposium, held in conjunction with meetings of the Eastern Psychological Association. In addition to an active Psychology Club, the department sponsors a chapter of Psi Chi, the national society in psychology, and a student chapter of S.H.R.M., the Society for Human Resource Management.
Several of the advanced courses (e.g., Psychology 311, 315, 335, 340, 355) provide students with the opportunity to conduct independent research. The Department views this opportunity as enhancing the learning experience. Students can apply and often extend the empirical results they study in the classroom. While some students research will be directed toward satisfying course requirements, other research may spark student interest and lead to an honors or independent study project.
Students are encouraged to present the results of these projects at regional conferences. In the past, Moravian Psychology students have presented at the Eastern Psychological Association (EPA), American Psychological Society (APS) and the Lehigh Valley Undergraduate Psychology Conference, held each Spring at one of the LVAIC institutions.
Finally, conducting and presenting independent research are very good ways to develop one's analytical and communication abilities. Such abilities are crucial for professional development, whether the student is directed toward graduate school or a particular career. The Department believes that there is no better preparation for psychology and related professions than some "hands-on" experience.
In addition to participating in research through advanced course work, undergraduate students are also encouraged to become involved with ongoing faculty projects. This is an excellent opportunity for students to follow the development of a particular area of research across time. The faculty member benefits from sharing his or her area of interest and from getting to know the student in a professional context. Such working relationships are particularly helpful to faculty members when writing letters of recommendation for students. We suggest that you read the faculty descriptions included in this handbook, determine whose interests seem similar to your own, and set up an appointment to discuss research possibilities.
When scientifically studying behavior, psychologists and students of psychology bear the responsibility of treating research subjects, human or animal, in an ethical fashion. Faculty and student research subjects must necessarily be evaluated as ethically acceptable before they may be conducted. The ethical researcher avoids procedures that unnecessarily create undue stress or serious harm to the subject.
Appropriate frameworks for research using human and animal subjects have been established by the American Psychological Association (APA). The Psychology Department at Moravian adheres to these frameworks, and anticipates that students embarking on the study of psychology will realize the importance of these principles.
Copies of the APA guidelines for research are available from the departmental secretary. In addition, the role of ethics in psychology is discussed in detail in many of our course offerings.
Independent Study provides students with an opportunity to undertake a program of supervised reading, research, or artistic production not normally provided within existing courses. Such programs may involve study in depth of a topic briefly introduced in an existing course, a program of reading and comparable project in music or art. Independent Study should not be used simply to approximate an existing course for a single student or to cover projects more properly described as Field Study.
The Independent Study option is available to regular session and Continuing Studies students who have junior or senior standing with a cumulative Quality point Average of at least 2.70. Transfer students must have completed one full term of study at Moravian College before taking an Independent Study. An Independent Study earns one course unit. Students may schedule no more than one Independent Study or Honors course unit a term to a maximum of four over the period of the junior and senior years.
Independent Study may be taken in the fall or spring terms or during the summer. A student may not take more than one Independent Study during the summer and must register for it no later than the beginning of the Main Session. The Independent Study will appear on the student's transcript as a Post-Session course, thus allowing the student the summer to complete the project.
A student planning to do Independent Study should identify the project at the time of pre-registration for the term in which the project is to take place. The student must submit the preliminary application to his/her academic advisor in the department. All applications will be reviewed and the student will be informed before the registration period as to the outcome. If approved the student must have the project director initial the student's registration form to indicate approval of the project.
Between the pre-registration and the beginning of the term in which the project is to take place, the student initiates completion of an "Information and Approval Form" describing the project and certifying that the student is eligible and qualified to undertake the project. This form, available at the Registrar's office, must be signed by both the project director and the student's academic advisor. All actions concerning an Independent Study proposal must be completed by the end of the first week of classes. Pre-registration which lacks a completed "Information and Approval Form" will automatically be dropped by the Registrar at the end of the drop/add period, and the student, the project director, and the academic advisor will be so notified by the Registrar.
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