The Department of Psychology offers students many opportunities for success and growth. Some are designed for students of any level, while others are more appropriate for students in their final two years of education.

Guest Speakers

The Psychology Department regularly hosts guest speakers to present on a variety of topics. These speakers might be part of the InPsyT program, faculty from other departments on campus, or invited as part of other departmental programming. Students are encouraged to attend guest speaking events as a way to learn more about different areas in the field and potential new career options.

Psychology Club

Psychology Club is an organization for students majoring in psychology or those with an interest for psychology. Students are welcome to join Psychology Club at any point in their education; there are no requirements for membership.

It’s the best way for students to meet others who are also interested in the subject of psychology. The Psychology Club hosts many fun events such as movie night, volunteer work and guest speakers. The club also regularly coordinates conference trips, or you can talk to your advisor to discuss upcoming opportunities to attend—or even present at—a conference.

Psychology Club's Highway Cleanup

Adopt-A-Highway Roadside Cleanup

Read more about the Psychology Club on BeaverLink.

Conducting Research with Psychology Faculty (Independent Study or PSY 4447 Research Lab)

The Research Lab course is a low-enrollment class (usually 10 students) designed by the faculty instructor to explore a specific topic or work on a specific research project. While it is an actual course (with a syllabus, assignments, sometimes a textbook), it may be a lot less structured and a lot more focused on building skills rather than content knowledge. Frequently, Research Lab courses are offered only on campus, but there have been online Research Labs as well. The major difference between registering for PSY 4447 and doing an independent study (see below) is that this is a course designed by a faculty member, while independent study projects can often be student-directed. Here are some examples of prior online Research Lab course projects:

  • Dr. Cronin: Students wrote and tested internal reliability, content validity, and criterion validity of a psychological construct of their choosing.
  • Dr. Fournier: In different semesters, students (1) conducted content analyses of health behavior in television commercials; (2) examined portrayals of equine-assisted psychotherapy on YouTube, exploring messages the public receives about the intervention; and (3) conducted an experiment to test the effects of human-animal interaction in sit-spot experiences.
  • Dr. Klement: Students examined relationship boundary setting and violations in romantic comedy films.

While in both you can work on a research project, Independent Study differs from Research Lab in several key ways. In a Research Lab course, the faculty instructor designs the course and project (or at least general topic or method) with a syllabus, textbook, and assignments.

However, Independent Study is often used as a way for students to register for 1-3 credits to work on a specific (student-led) project. To register for PSY 4910 credits, students need to work with a specific faculty member of their choosing to determine what the final submitted project will be, as well as any other milestones (e.g., rough drafts, presentations) that might be included.


Attending a conference provides you a unique opportunity to learn more about psychology as a career track and to network with peers and professionals from around the state and the region. Students are encouraged to present their work from a Research Lab or Independent Study at campus, regional, or national conferences. Further, students are encouraged to attend at least one conference—the earlier the better—so that they can start considering what areas and topics most interest them.

  • Minnesota Undergraduate Psychology Conference. The Minnesota Undergraduate Psychology Conference, (MUPC), is the oldest psychology conferences in the United States. The conference gives a platform for presentation of original research, applications and conceptual papers from undergraduate students in psychology. Bemidji State University students are very active participants in this conference; historically, BSU students have accounted for more than 1/3 of presenters.
  • Regional and National Conferences. BSU psychology students have the chance to work on original research projects and present them at conferences around the United States.

PSY 4917 Teaching Associate

Some psychology faculty recruit students to be a part of the Undergraduate Teaching Associate Program (UTAP). Students can register as part of UTAP for 1-2 credits, and then can work with the faculty member to assist in specific tasks for a given course. For example, if you took Basic Stats, got an A, and really enjoyed the content (and maybe even found yourself helping your classmates while taking the course), you could contact an instructor teaching Basic Stats in a later semester (or they could contact you) to be a Teaching Associate (TA).

Some benefits of being a TA are:

  • Getting a peek behind the curtain of what faculty do to prep and manage an online course.
  • Building problem-solving skills and further developing your understanding of the course content.
  • Getting an opportunity to design or facilitate learning activities or discussions.
  • Developing a different type of connection with a faculty member, which allows them to write about more than teaching/advising stuff in a letter of recommendation for a job or graduate school.

TA duties will look different depending on the course and faculty, but note that this position doesn’t at all involve grading duties. Students interested in participating should reach out to the faculty member teaching the course to be TA’d. Check UTAP, including links for the paperwork needed.


Though not a program requirement, we urge students to consider applying for an internship during their time here at BSU, especially if they plan to pursue graduate study in psychology.

Psychology majors may choose to complete an internship in their senior year after they have completed all relevant course work in the major.

Psychology internships provide students the opportunity to gain professional-level work experience in a variety of human service and research settings on-campus and in communities across the state. Psychology internships are highly structured; individual goals are closely supervised by both Psychology Department faculty and an on-site supervisor.

Why consider an internship?

  • You will gain formal workforce experience, which can be helpful if you haven’t had a non-service job before.
  • You can gain a strong reference in your supervisor for future job applications or graduate school applications.
  • If you are interested in earning the Minnesota mental health practitioner credential, you need an internship to be able to practice with your BA/BS.
  • You can get hands-on training and experience for a potential future career and get started on forming your own professional network.
  • You can find out whether a given type of job is really something you want to do.

Students are registered for internship credits after they have completed Pre-Internship Seminar (PSY 4870) and the seminar instructor has approved their internship plan. Psychology majors may apply up to six (general elective) credits of internship to the major. A six credit internship requires 200 hours of work (33.3 hours per credit).


We have five different merit-based scholarships that we award to students each year – amounts vary depending on availability of funds. All students are encouraged to apply.

Please see the last page of this application (attached below) for more information on the scholarships and the criteria. If applying for InPsyT, please follow the separate application link provided. Students may apply for more than one scholarship. Any student who feels they meet a scholarship’s criteria especially well are particularly encouraged to apply. The deadline for all applications is March 25.

Email your completed application to

Apply for Psychology Scholarships

Rafferty Scholarship(s) — $3,200

These scholarships were originally endowed by Mr. Kirk Gregg, a BSU Psychology major. Mr. Gregg announced the endowment on the 25th anniversary of his graduation from BSU; the scholarships were given in the name of Dr. Jim Rafferty because of the impact he had on Mr. Gregg’s life as an undergraduate at BSU.

Criteria: Currently enrolled at BSU, junior or senior status as of the coming fall semester, majoring in Psychology, with a BSU GPA of 3.0 or higher for all coursework (based on a minimum of 2 semesters at BSU) and a GPA of 3.0 or higher for all BSU psychology courses completed. Preference will be given to applicants demonstrating an interest in research psychology.

Bender Scholarship — $700

This scholarship was originally endowed by Ms. June Bender (1977), a graduate of BSU’s Community Service program (now the Psychology major).

Criteria: The minimum qualifications for this scholarship are: sophomore, junior or senior status, majoring in Psychology, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Preference will be given to a female student 25 years of age or older. GPA, human service experience, achievements and awards, contributions to the Psychology Department, research activities and endorsements from faculty will be taken into account.

Lee-Jackson Scholarship — $700

This scholarship was originally endowed by Dr. Louise Jackson and Dr. Russell Lee, Professors Emeriti in Psychology.

Criteria: Outstanding junior or senior Psychology student. Preference will go toward students earning a minimum of a 3.25 GPA. Students of color are strongly encouraged to apply. The donor requests that, during the academic year, each scholarship recipient write a letter to the donor in which they comment on their experience in the department and on their post graduate aspirations.

Beltrami County Behavioral Health Scholarships — $2,000 (renewable)

The purpose this scholarship is to promote Bemidji State University and to increase capacity for mental health professionals by providing scholarships to full time students majoring in social work, nursing or psychology who intend to work in the mental health field and intend to work in the Bemidji area.

Criteria: The recipient of this award must be a sophomore, junior or senior majoring in social work, nursing or psychology. Recipients must be graduated from a high school in Beltrami County, Clearwater County, Hubbard County or Lake of the Woods County. American Indian students are highly encouraged to apply. Up to six $2,000 scholarships across departments will be awarded annually. Scholarship awards may be renewable.

Indigenous Students in Psychology Training —  $500

The psychology department has a culturally based program called Indigenous Students in Psychology Training (InPsyT) to train and prepare American Indian psychology majors for careers in psychology. InPsyT will offer mentoring opportunities and a support network with Native Psychologists and mental health professionals.

Criteria: All Indigenous psychology majors are welcome to attend InPsyT Programming throughout the year to learn about American Indian Psychology and Indigenous research methods. There is an opportunity for up to 5 students to receive a $500 scholarship and have a paid trip to attend the annual Society of Indian Psychologists (SIP) conference!

The InPsyT Scholarship is a separate application found here: InPsy Scholarship Application

BSU also offers a variety of other scholarships (e.g., the BSU Alumni Relative Scholarship); more information is available through the BSU Financial Aid Office.