Undergraduate Opportunities

This page includes information about how students can get involved in research with the Center for Behavioral and Decision Research, including research assistant opportunities and our summer internship program. Research assistant opportunities are generally available during the school year and open to CMU students. The summer internship program is open to all undergraduate students.

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 hire RAs directly, but helps connect researchers with RAs. If you would like to begin working right away or have a faculty member that you are interested in working with, it is strongly recommended that you contact that person directly.

Research assistantships through the CBDR may be available for pay, course credit, or on a volunteer basis. Please note that most RA opportunities are for students at CMU.

Typical RA Responsibilities: 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.

RA Training: 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, and (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.
If you are interested in a research assistant opportunity through CBDR, please download and fill out this form. Please email any questions to cbdr-lab@andrew.cmu.edu.

Summer Internship

CBDR is not currently accepting applications for the summer internship program. 

It has not yet been determined if CBDR will be coordinating a summer internship program in the summer of 2018. Please check back at a later date. General information about the internship program is below.

The Center for Behavioral and Decision Research (CBDR) at Carnegie Mellon University runs an annual summer internship program. CBDR seeks undergraduate students who are interested in gaining familiarity with social science research to participate in the program. CBDR's affiliated researchers have training in topics such as social and cognitive psychology, behavioral economics, marketing, computer science, and organizational behavior. Interns will spend most of their time working on studies led by faculty and graduate students affiliated with the center. Work may include tasks such as running participants in the lab, field data collection (including on our Data Truck), and coding data. In weekly seminars, researchers will present their findings and lead workshops on related topics, broadly ranging from academic concepts to researcher practices to the graduate admissions process.

Logistics: The internship will run from Monday, June 12 through Friday, July 21. Interns are expected to be present for the entire program and to work approximately 36 hours per week. All applicants must commit to attending the entire program (arriving no later than 6/11/2017 and departing no earlier that 7/22/2017). Please check your calendar and final exam schedule prior to submitting an application. Applicants who cannot attend the entire program will automatically be removed from consideration.

Eligibility: Applicants should be current undergraduates interested in behavioral and decision-making research. Previous research experience may benefit your application, but it is not required. Students who have housing in the Pittsburgh area, either with relative or because they attend a local or nearby school, are encouraged to apply.

Funding: During the summer of 2017, CBDR is unable to provide a stipend or housing to participants in the internship program. If you need funding, check with your home institution (academic advisor, career center, financial aid office, etc.) to see if they provide scholarships for summer internships or research. We are happy to provide any information needed to apply for financial aid.

Application materials: To apply for the CBDR summer internship, please email the following documents to the CBDR lab manager at cbdr-lab@andrew.cmu.edu:

         1. A one-page cover letter describing your research experience and interests. Please explain why you would like to participate in the program and any future goals you may have, including whether you plan to attend graduate school in a related field. This letter should also describe all previous relevant research experience, such as work in a lab, independent projects, and research methods coursework. Your cover letter must end with an explicit confirmation that you can attend the program in its entirety.
         2. A resume or curriculum vitae. Please indicate your university, major, relevant courses, relevant research experience, GPA, expected graduation date, email address, and a working telephone number. 
         3. One letter of reference from a member of your academic community, either a graduate student, postdoctoral researcher, or professor.

Questions? For more information about the Center for Behavioral and Decision Research, feel free to browse this website. Any questions may directed to cbdr-lab@andrew.cmu.edu.