Undergraduate Training

PSY 499: Mueller Directed Reading or Research

University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Department of Psychology


Instructor: Dr. Charles W. Mueller Class Time: Friday 1:30-2:30pm, as needed
Office: Krauss Hall 101E Room: Krauss Hall 101D
Phone: 956-6727 Commitment: 10hr/week (3 credit hours)
Email: cmueller@hawaii.edu
Office Hours: by appointment


Course Description: Psychology 499 is a 3-credit advanced undergraduate level directed reading and research course, which allows students a hands-on opportunity to acquire practical, real-world psychology and psychological science knowledge and training. Students will learn how applied research for clinical, social, and/or experimental psychology is conducted. Prospective PSY 499 students must be enrolled at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and be seeking a Bachelor’s degree with a major or minor in the field of psychology. Unclassified graduate students are also welcome to apply. A two-semester commitment is preferred and on occasion may include summer sessions (e.g., Spring 2015 and Fall 2016, Spring 2015 and Summery 2016). No prior experience is necessary as students will be trained to perform assigned duties.


Research activities may include collecting, entering, or coding data; developing computer skills, especially word processing and data management skills; participating in research planning and review; literature search and synthesis; and miscellaneous project assistance. Adept and hardworking undergraduates can advance to active participation in study designs, data collection and analysis, and writing including co-authorship on conference presentations/posters and scientific articles. At least one hour per week will be spent in a weekly research meeting, which all PSY 499 students attend. Additional weekly research meetings may be required depending on the project or task a student is assigned.


Student Learning Goals:

  1. Psychological Knowledge: Students will develop an ability to identify and describe key concepts and working knowledge of clinical, social, and/or experimental psychology through conducting literature reviews, working on research teams, active participation in all research meetings, giving presentations, and data collection, management, and analysis.
  2. Scientific inquiry and critical thinking: Students will observe and participate in scientific reasoning by attending and participating in weekly research meetings and through experiential learning by assisting with research duties on one or more specific studies.
  3. Ethical and social responsibility in a diverse world: Students will observe ethical standards related to research and clinical practice including participating in the National Institute of Health Protecting Human Participants Course and learning standards related to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
  4. Communication: Students will communicate their learning through one or more brief presentations (including a PowerPoint they developed) about a topic they are working on during the semester.
  5. Professional development: Students will develop basic organizational and time-management skills related to the tasks they are completing during the semester. Students will also have the opportunity to discuss and receive individualized mentorship on future educational and career goals including preparation for graduate school. This may include didactics on preparing a graduate application, tips for studying for the GRE, and how to request a letter or recommendation.


Text and Course Resources:


Class Format and Requirements:

Responsibilities: It is each student’s responsibility to notify the URA Coordinator (or their graduate student or RET supervisor) if there are any questions regarding assigned tasks or if they are in need of work to fill their weekly hours.       Unless otherwise indicated, tasks should typically be completed within one week from their assigned date.       Students are expected to proactively consult with their graduate student supervisor (or the URA Coordinator) about deadlines for assigned tasks. Examples of tasks students may be asked to complete include conducting literature reviews, reviewing documents for consistency with APA format, preparing conference posters, and entering data.

Hours: Students are expected to observe a 10 hour per week commitment (i.e., two hours per school day). Students are responsible for meeting their hour requirements each week, including communicating with their graduate supervisor and the URA Coordinator if they have available hours that need to be filled. Holidays listed on the university academic calendar (http://manoa.hawaii.edu/records/calendar/) are observed. For example, a week with one holiday would have an 8 hour required commitment (4 days x 2 = 8). Attendance at a weekly research meeting will count towards the 10 hour commitment. Students are expected to keep track of their hours each week on an electronic document, which should be shared with the student’s graduate supervisor and the URA coordinator. Each PSY 499 student, under the direction of either their graduate student supervisor or the URA coordinator, will set up their schedule according to their weekly availability and the needs of the projects they are working on.

Absences: If you need to miss the weekly research meeting or other weekly obligations, please inform your graduate student supervisor and the URA coordinator and arrange to make up your hours.

Confidentiality: As part of training, all students are required to take the National Institute of Health Protecting Human Participants Course and submit their certificate of completion to the URA coordinator. Students assigned to RET must complete all appropriate forms and training, which will be provided by their graduate supervisor. All students are expected to sign a Center for Cognitive Behavior Therapy confidentiality agreement.

Professionalism: The Center for Cognitive Behavior Therapy, where the Mueller lab is located, is a university clinic that treats youth and adult clients. Professional behavior and attire is expected.


Evaluations and Grading:

Student Evaluations: Graduate student supervisors provide mid- and end-of-semester evaluations to undergraduate students on the criteria listed below using the following grading system: A+, A, A-, B+, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, F. Graduate student supervisors will meet with their undergraduate students to discuss the evaluation, which will be submitted to Dr. Mueller as part of grading considerations. A recommended overall semester grade is also suggested.

  • Responsibly attends to duties
  • Shows care in work and attention to detail
  • Meets commitments
  • Follows directions and procedures
  • Actively communicates
  • Is consistently respectful of others
  • Provides highest quality work possible given abilities and skills
  • Demonstrates initiative
  • Other: Specify


Student Course Evaluation Feedback: In order to help improve the quality of the 499 experience, undergraduate 499 students are expected to provide feedback to Dr. Mueller about their experience as a PSY 499 student.


The ratings are submitted to Dr. Mueller as part of consideration for a student’s semester grade. Adhering to the weekly hour commitment is also taken into consideration for a student’s grades.


Any student who feels s/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability is invited to contact Dr. Mueller privately. Dr. Mueller is happy to work with students, and the KOKUA Program (Office for Students with Disabilities) to ensure reasonable accommodations in this course. KOKUA can be reached at (808) 956-7511 or (808) 956-7612 (voice/text) in room 013 of the Queen Lili‘uokalani Center for Student Services.