Department of Psychology

Course Credit for Research Participation

As a psychology student at UNCW, you may be eligible to earn credit for your classes by participating in psychological research using the research sign-up system. Students enrolled in PSY105 must complete 6 credit hours of out-of-class activities and one rewarding way to earn these credits is by participating in research. Students in a number of other psychology classes are eligible to earn extra-credit points for their participation. Go directly to the Research Sign-up System.

What is the Psychology Research Sign-Up System?

The Psychology Research Sign-up System is an on-line system for managing experiments conducted by faculty of the UNCW Psychology Department. Experimenters post descriptions of their experiments along with their location, duration, and number of credits offered. Students in participating classes can then browse these descriptions and sign-up for studies for which they are interested and eligible. Experimenters can use the system to track student participation and to issue students credits that they can use toward their grades in a number of courses.

How do I access the research system?

The login page for the research system is located at

To sign-up for experiments, you must enter your user ID and password on the login page. If you do not have login information, ask your instructor whether you are eligible to participate in research. If you are, your instructor can then arrange for you to get the necessary login information.

Do I have to use this site to get research credit?

Yes, you must use the research sign-up system if you want to earn credit by participating in experiments. However, as described in the My Rights section below, you are not required to participate in research. Talk to your instructor about alternative means for earning course credit.

Can I participate if I'm under 18 years of age?

In general, yes, "minors" can participate and earn credit in psychology experiments, although they must sign an Acknowledgement Form (provided by the experimenter), and in certain cases there may be restrictions on participation. Please see this document for more information about how minors can participate in experiments.

Why should I participate in experiments?

In addition to earning credit for your course, research participation gives you hands-on experience with the psychological research process and introduces you to techniques that may be useful for a career in psychology. It also allows you to contribute to the scientific study of mind, brain, and behavior.

How do I use the sign-up system?

Your instructor can provide you with general instructions about using the system. You can also find information on the Psychology Research Information Board located in the main hallway in the Social and Behavioral Sciences building (just outside the main Psychology office). Complete system instructions are also available in the following manuals:

How much credit do I get for participating?

Research participants receive ½ credit for every 30 minutes of participation. For example, studies lasting 30 minutes or less will be worth ½ credit, studies lasting between 31 and 60 minutes will be worth 1 credit, between 61 and 90 minutes will be worth 1.5 credits.

Can I be penalized if I don't show up for an experiment?

No. As described in the My Responsibilities section below, you will not lose previously-earned credits if you fail to show up for an experiment. However, failing to show up, or being late, for a scheduled experiment is recorded in the sign-up system as an "unexcused absence". After two unexcused absences, you will be locked out of the sign-up system. Please read the My Responsibilities section for complete details.

What are My Rights as a research participant?

You have rights as a research participant. First, you may elect not to participate in experiments. Most students find participation in research fun and educational, but participation is completely voluntary. You can talk to your instructor about other options. Second, you are free to leave an experiment early without penalty (although you will only receive credit for the time you actually participated). Finally, provisions are taken to protect your privacy as a subject and to maintain the confidentiality of any information you provide. Prior to each experiment, you will be asked to read and sign a consent form that will outline your rights as a participant in detail.

What are My Responsibilities as a research participant?

There are rules and responsibilities that go along with being a research participant. Here are the most important ones:

  • Protecting your account: You must change your password the first time you login to your account. Keeping the default password makes your account vulnerable to tampering by others. You are responsible for all activityin your account, so choose a unique password and keep it confidential.
  • Canceling an experiment: You can use the sign-up system to cancel an experiment provided it is at least 24 hours in advance of the experiment's start time. Simply log in, click on "My Schedule and Credits", click on "Sign-Up History", and select "Cancel" next to the study that you need to cancel. Within 24 hours of your appointment, it is your responsibility to contact the experimenter directly using the contact information provided to you on the experiment's sign-up page and in the confirmation e-mail. If you fail to notify the experimenter prior to your scheduled time, the system will count it as an "unexcused absence".
  • Being late for an experiment: Please be on time for all experiments. Being late may result in you receiving an unexcused absence".
  • Receiving two unexcused absences: If you fail to appear, or are late, for two scheduled experiments, you will no longer be able to access your account on the sign-up system, and will lose your privilege to participate in additional psychology experiments. If this happens, you should (a) cancel by phone or email any remaining experiments for which you have already signed up; and (b) discuss with your instructor other ways to fulfill your requirement.
  • Participating in the same experiment twice: Unless it's a multi-part experiment, or explicitly states that you can participate more than once, you can only participate in an experiment one time.
  • Availability of Experiments. Experiments are posted continuously throughout the semester and there is generally ample opportunity for participation. However, we cannot guarantee the availability of studies at any time, so it is a good idea to get started early to ensure that you are able to fulfill your requirement.

Please note that it is the responsibility of all students using the research signup system to read and follow all of the rules and procedures associated with this system. Click here for an official description of these rules, as well as those related to fulfilling the PSY105 out-of-class activity requirement.

How do I know how many credits or absences I have?

You can keep track of your credits and absences (excused and unexcused) using the system. Simply log in and go to the "My Schedule/Credits" menu. Click on "Sign-Up History" at the bottom of the page to see the list of experiments in which you have participated and the credits/absences you have received. You can also use this menu to apply your credits toward specific courses if you are enrolled in more than one course that accepts research-participation credit.

What if my experimenter doesn't show up?

If the experimenter is not at the designated location at your scheduled time, wait at least 10 minutes. You should also double-check the time and location of the experiment to make sure the error isn't yours. If you are on time, at the correct location, and waited 10 minutes but the experiment still did not show up, contact the Psychology Research Administrator ( as soon as possible and notify them of the situation--including the name, time, & location of the study, and the experimenter in question. If the experimenter is judged to be at fault, you will receive full credit for the session.

Where do I go to participate?

As part of the sign-up process, you will be given the specific location of each study. You should record this information and ensure that you know how to find the correct building prior to your scheduled appointment. A campus map is posted on the Psychology Research Information Board along with a directory of relevant research buildings. You can also use the on-line interactive campus map. Failure to find the location of an experiment is not a legitimate excuse for an absence.

Who can use the Research Participant Parking Spaces in the Teaching Labs parking lot?

The use of the research participant parking spaces adjacent to the Teaching Labs building is limited to visitors to our campus who are participating in psychological research. All visitors using these spaces must display in their vehicle a special parking pass provided to them by their experimenter. Undergraduate research participants are not permitted to use these spaces, except where safety or special needs are a consideration. Such exceptions must be reported in advance to the experimenter and special permits must be obtained. Graduate and undergraduate experimenters are not permitted to use these spaces under any circumstances.

What if I have additional questions?

If you have further questions, please contact the Psychology Research Administrator at