University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Psychological Science

Independent Readings and Research (PSYC 197 & 198)

What is APLE?

APLE (Academic Programs for Learning and Engagement) is the term used by the College of Arts and Sciences for opportunities to do research with faculty members and to get hands-on experience in internships. Science students typically work in research laboratories both in Arts and Sciences and in the Medical School, others become involved in the local community through internships and service-learning projects, and still others follow their interests in settings far from the University of Vermont both in the United States and abroad.

Academic Credit for Research and Independent Study

man working in a lab Independent Study is a course (PSYC 197, Fall only, and PSYC 198, Spring only) that is taken for credit, tailored to fit the interests of a specific undergraduate student, and occurs outside the traditional "classroom setting." Independent Study activities can take a variety of forms. Common examples include: working on a research project in a faculty member's laboratory or in the community; working in a community organization that provides psychology-related services (e.g., as an internship); working on an extensive theoretical paper in psychological science; and functioning as a teaching assistant in a psychological science course. Regardless of what form the independent study takes, it must:

  • be conducted under the supervision of a Psychological Science faculty member, and
  • require the student to complete one or more academic products that are to be used for evaluating and grading the student's performance (e.g., papers, abstracts, written exams, oral presentations, etc.)

How Do You Identify a Project?

The best way to identify an Independent Study project is to speak directly with faculty with whom you might like to work. Check out our faculty's research interests. Contact faculty members directly when you find work that is interesting to you. Most but not all projects will require that students have completed at least PSYC 109 (and perhaps PSYC 110) before enrolling in Independent Study.

How Do You Enroll?

Enrollment requires an override approved by both your faculty sponsor and the Department of Psychological Science. Undergraduate Committee. You must first obtain the approval of your Psychological Science faculty sponsor and the Department of Psychological Science. Undergraduate Committee by completing an APPLICATION/CONTRACT FOR INDEPENDENT STUDY (pdf) (also available in hard copy in the rack outside room 246, John Dewey Hall). This Application/Contract requires that you and your sponsor agree to terms of work, including hours spent per week, the scope of the work you will do, and the nature of the academic projects you must complete.

You must register for Independent Study to receive credit for your research.

Once completed and signed by the student and faculty supervisor, the form must be returned to the Department of Psychological Science Office (Diana St.Louis, room 204 John Dewwy Hall) for approval by the Undergraduate Committee. The course override will then be executed.

Submit the APPLICATION/CONTRACT during the pre-registration period or as early as possible at the beginning of the semester in case there are questions involving your application. If enrolled students have not submitted their Application/Contract Form to the Department Office by the end of Add/Drop, they will be removed from the course.

Independent study may be taken for variable credits (1-6 per semester). The number of credits granted must be mutually agreed upon by the student and the faculty sponsor prior to registration and correspond with the amount of work the student is to complete. Generally, three credits of Independent study correspond to 7-10 hours of work per week. When a project is to cover more than one term, the designation XC (extended course credit), rather than I (incomplete), is to be used on the final grade sheet for the first term of work.

Service-Learning Internships

Students interested in academic credit for community service also may choose to do so through Career Services. Those credits are granted through the College of Education and Social Services (not Psychological Science). All service-learning and internship courses include substantial academic projects (e.g., research, papers, learning logs, etc.).

Is there Funding?

Funding is available on a competitive basis for research and creative projects, so check for criteria and deadlines!


Questions may be directed to the Director of Undergraduate Education in Psychological Science, Professor Sondra Solomon.

Last modified September 23 2014 12:18 PM