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Getting into grad school: Research experience, a letter and an essay

This page is about gaining research experience with a professor, your professor's letter of recommendation and your biogrpahical essay.

Research Experience


  • Volunteer to work with a professor on the professor's research.  When I do this, I ask for the student to volunteer about 3 hours per week.
  • Register for independent study credit.  Students usually reigster for 3 hours (the same amount as most of our classes).  I give my students three options:
    • Write a literature review - during the semester the student writes a literature review, usually on a topic they are interested in.  I'll encourage the student to submit the paper to the York Scholar (our student journal) for publication.
    • Work as a research assistant -- I'll train you in research techniques in social psychology and you'll then run experiments on my research project.
    • Independent research -- The student will develop a research idea and collect and analyze data on a topic of their choosing (either totaly independent of my research or based upon an offshoot of my research).  This will take 2 semesters of independent study.  I'll encourage the student to submit an abstract to a conference or a paper for publication. 

See the research interests of the Psychology faculty.

Letters of Recommendation

Most grad schools require three letters of recommendation from your profoessors. 

Social Psych Network's advice on letters page.

 Here is my form for students to fill out if they wish me to write them a letter.  It helps me write a stronger letter.

Biographical Essay

Most grad programs require that you write a biographical essay about your past and reasons for applying to grad school.

Psychwww's page on essay tips

 Avoid BIG mistakes in your essay.