Joining the Lab


Graduate Students

The Department of Psychology at Oakland University offers M.S. and Ph.D. positions on a competitive basis. Information on the graduate program within the Psychology Department can be found here , with additional program requirements for the MS and PhD programs found here and here, respectively. Once ready, click here to apply.

Prospective students should indicate their interest in working with Dr. Welling in their Statement of Purpose. Applicants should be aware that space in the program is limited. Any questions prospective students have regarding the graduate program or application procedures should be directed to Dr. Virgil Zeigler-Hill via email at zeiglerh[at]oakland[dot]edu. Moreover, prospective students can contact Dr. Welling if they wish to discuss any specifics of working in the lab and/or project ideas. 

Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and competitive GRE scores to be eligible to apply. Review of candidates begins January 15th each year and continues until available positions are filled. 

Please note that funded positions are awarded across the whole department by the Graduate Programs Committee. Decisions regarding funded positions are made after all faculty have interviewed their own eligible graduate applicants, which occurs virtually in March each year. 

Independent Study & Honors Students

Independent Study: Undergraduate independent studies can be done in the lab for credit by doing a literature review (PSY 4921), an undergraduate research apprenticeship (PSY 4995), or through being an undergraduate teaching assistant (PSY 4997). Interested students should approach Dr. Welling via email well in advance of the semester in question. Once a project is agreed upon, undergraduate students need to complete an independent study form and submit it to Danielle Bildson (, and must then register for the course via SAIL. 

Graduate students can also do independent study projects (PSY 6970) in the lab. Graduate students must submit a proposal to the Graduate Programs Committee the semester prior to the proposed independent study and, if approved, contact Danielle Bildson in order to register for the course via SAIL. 

Honors College: Honors College applicants must adhere to the schedule and requirements set out by the Honors College, which can be found here. Honors College students interested in doing a thesis with Dr. Welling should approach her via email well before their final year starts. Students should expect to run a full research study from start to finish, including writing a proposal, applying for IRB approval, collecting and analyzing data, writing up their final thesis, and presenting their research to the Honors College. The honors thesis is usually completed during the student's senior year.

Department Honors: Students interested in doing a psychology Department Honors project in Dr. Welling's lab should typically first volunteer in the lab as an RA for a minimum of one semester prior to their senior year. This is to make sure the person is a good fit for the lab. The department requires honors students to complete the requirements for the liberal arts major in psychology (please see the Oakland University student handbook for more information) in addition to PSY 4998 and PSY 4999 (Honors Independent Studies I and II), PSY 4921 (Readings and Research), or PSY 4930 Field Experience. Students must also complete PSY 2500 and PSY 2510 and at least two 3000-level courses with a grade of B+ or above in each class. PSY 4510 is recommended, but not required. Department Honors applicants need to have a minimum 3.2 GPA with a minimum 3.5 average in psychology courses. Students must initiate the process for receiving departmental honors by submitting an honors project application form to the departmental administrative secretary (Danielle Bildson,, which is due by the end of the first month of the semester of intended graduation. In coordination with the faculty mentor, the student must also submit the final written paper (minimum of 15 pages for the body of the paper, not including title page, abstract, reference list, and figures) in APA–format, a letter of recommendation from the Faculty Mentor, and a curriculum vitae to the Undergraduate Programs Committee one week prior to the end of classes. The Undergraduate Programs Committee will review materials and make final decision to award Departmental Honors. 

Students can receive both Honors College and Departmental Honors. Honors students should also understand that they will need to dedicate a significant portion of time to their project/thesis (typically their full senior year) and should not approach Dr. Welling unless they are willing to make this commitment.

All of the above project students working in the lab will have to register and complete the required CITI training in advance and should also contact Janell Hallauer ( to schedule bloodborne pathogen training.

Research Assistants

There are often volunteer research assistant positions available in the lab for students at Oakland University who are looking to gain some research experience. Students wishing to volunteer should fill out an application form and email it to Dr. Welling at welling[at]oakland[dot]edu. You can view and download a copy of the application form here.

Students should be aware that volunteering in the lab can take up a substantial amount of time (up to 10 hours per week) and should be prepared to make that level of a commitment before applying. Only serious, responsible applicants, please. Please note also that the vast majority of work is done during business hours, so interested applicants should have reasonable availability during the week.

Students working in the lab will have to register and complete the required CITI training in advance and should also contact Janell Hallauer ( to schedule bloodborne pathogen training and laboratory right-to-know training. Finally, students need to print, fill out, and sign the student volunteer form and return it to Dr. Welling.