Orange Alert

Summer Research in the Department of Psychology

The psychology department offers two full-time mentored summer research experiences to undergraduate students from backgrounds which have been historically underrepresented in science.

Summer Training in Alcohol and Health Research - Undergraduate (STAHR-U)
This 8-week program, supported by the National Institutes of Health, is open to students from across the country who have strong interests in alcohol, substance, and other health research and the advancement to a graduate school in related disciplines.

Summer Program Advancing Research Careers (SPARC)
SPARC is open to Syracuse psychology majors and neuroscience ILM who are interested in pursuing graduate studies in a psychology discipline.

Students will spend 20-25 hours per week in their matched research lab gaining hands-on research experience in psychology. In addition, students join a weekly professional development series designed to help them prepare for graduate school application. At the end of the program, participants showcase their original research project at a symposium.

Outside of gaining first-hand research experience, housing with fellow SPARC and STAHR participants and social outings with mentors provide a supportive community. Room and board for the duration of the program will be provided.

Participants are matched with a faculty and graduate-student mentor in: Clinical Psychology, Cognition Brain and Behavior Psychology, Social Psychology, School Psychology, or Neuroscience. To view a list of faculty members in the department of Psychology, as well as their research interests, please visit our faculty directory.


Summer research programs have been shown to facilitate undergraduate students’ pursuit of scientific careers and to increase the actual pipeline of students pursuing graduate opportunities in science (Hunter, et al 2007; Lopatto, 2007; Pender, et al., 2010). With the goal of broadening the participation in the sciences, especially for students from underrepresented groups, the Department of Psychology created the Psychology Research Initiative for Diversity Enhancement (PRIDE) program.

The first PRIDE cohort participated in the summer of 2008. Program participants who have graduated from SU have gone on to graduate school such as PhD programs in clinical psychology and neuroscience, and Master’s programs in social work.

In 2024 the department reintroduced PRIDE as SPARC and partnered with the STAHR to expand programming.


Those interested in participating in SPARC must meet the following requirements:

  • Psychology major (including Psychology/Neuroscience ILM majors)
  • Member of one of three underrepresented groups in science as defined by The National Science Foundation:
    • Individual from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in science on a national basis: Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinx, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders)
    • Individual with disabilities (those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities as described in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990)
    • First generation college students who also meet federal income guidelines, as established by the US Department of Education
  • Have an interest in pursuing a science-related career and attending graduate school
  • Sophomore or junior current class standing preferred
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 is preferred


  • Q: Do I need a letter of recommendation to apply for SPARC?
    A: No. However, you must include a psychology professor as a reference on your application.
  • Q: What if I do not know a psychology professor?
    A: That's okay! You can indicate any professor or professional who is willing to be a reference on your behalf.
  • Q: I'm not really interested in pursuing a career in psychology. Can I still apply for SPARC?
    A: Yes. Previous participants have been accepted to graduate schools in diverse disciplines such as: neuroscience, social work, medical school, physician assistant programs, etc.
  • Q: I'm interested in applying for SPARC but I'm graduating in May. Can I still participate?
    A: No. The SPARC program is for current students only.
  • Q: Can I make a presentation or publish a paper?
    A: Yes. All participants give an oral presentation about their independent research as part of our program. Many students will go on to present a poster at a national conference or our annual Poster Session. Past participants have published a research paper with their faculty mentor.
  • Q: How can I financially afford to participate?
    A: A stipend, on campus housing, and meal plans will be provided to all program participants. If you live locally and would prefer to commute, you may decline housing. We encourage SPARC students to consider applying for additional funding through SOURCE.