Summer Research Opportunities

Research with Carleton Faculty

Reach out to Psychology professors and ask if they’re doing summer research and need student help. Professors often work on projects during breaks, making it an easy way to connect. Even if they don’t have openings, they might point you to other possibilities, so don’t hesitate to reach out.

Check out all the cool research the Carleton faculty is up to: Faculty Research Labs.

Non-Carleton Opportunities

If you find an unpaid research opportunity or if you want to work in a specific professor lab that will be unpaid- you can apply for funding/fellowships! Look under the funding section for more info.

Reaching out to Professors or Labs (Cold Emails)

If you have specific professors or labs that you would like to work in, reach out to them expressing your interest in their work and your desire to join their lab. Write a professional email introducing yourself, connecting your research interests to their work, and expressing your desire to join their lab. Keep this concise, no more than about 3-7 sentences. Attach your resume or CV to showcase your background and experience. Be patient and follow up if needed after a couple of weeks.

Here’s an example email:

Dear [Insert professor name],

I hope this email finds you well. My name is [insert your name], a senior psychology student at Carleton College. I am interested in examining [insert your research interest, connecting it to the professor’s work]. Your work on [describe their work] has greatly inspired me, and I am reaching out to inquire about potential research assistant positions in your team. [If applicable, see section below on Funding] Carleton offers funding for external research positions like this, so if you agree to work with me, I may be able to provide my own funding.

I have attached my CV for your consideration. I am more than happy to answer any questions about my training, professional goals, and research experiences.

Thank you in advance for your time. I am looking forward to hearing back from you.


[Insert your name]

After sending an email, prepare to discuss your interest in the position further. Make sure you can answer these questions: 

  • Why do you want to join the specific lab?
  • What are your research interests and how do they align with the lab’s work?
  • How can you contribute to the lab’s research projects?
  • What are your educational goals and how will working in the lab will help you achieve them?

Try to link your personal experiences or global issues to your research interests whenever relevant. Connecting past experiences with the specific focus of the lab and demonstrating how you can contribute is crucial and it’s more effective than simply listing out your accomplishments and intelligence.

If professors have not responded in 1-2 weeks, consider contacting their graduate students or lab managers. Graduate students often require assistance with their research and may be more accessible for undergraduates seeking opportunities. Approach them professionally and respectfully.

Helpful tip: Keep a spreadsheet to keep track of the emails you have sent so you know who you have already contacted and how long you have been waiting for a response. 


  • Career Center Funding: funding for internships lasting six weeks or more (240+ hours)
    • Application Deadlines:
      • March 5, 2023, at 11:59 p.m.
      • April 2, 2023, at 11:59 p.m.
      • May 7, 2023, at 11:59 p.m.
      • June 4, 2023, at 11:59 p.m.
  • Kolenkow-Reitz Fellowship: research funding for Carleton students collaborating with external science and math faculty during summer or winter break, aiming to enhance students’ growth as scientists and encourage their exploration of science, math, and related careers.
    • Winter Break Application Deadline: 5:00 p.m. on Monday, October 3, 2022; Awardees will be notified by Monday, October 24, 2022.
    • Summer Break Application Deadline: 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 28, 2023. Awardees will be notified by Monday, April 10, 2023.
    • Questions? Please contact Paula Stowe.
  • Summer Science Fellowships: aims to boost diversity in science and math by offering underrepresented students the chance to engage in paid research over two summers, fostering collaboration and growth through group activities and Science Fellows Research Colloquium participation.
    • Application Deadline: Friday, February 3, 2023, 5:00 PM
    • Questions? Please contact Amy Csizmar Dalal

Need Help with CV, Cover Letter, and Interviews?

Carleton’s Career Center is a great resource for getting help with your application materials, including Resumes/CVs and cover letters. They can also provide guidance and mock interviews to prepare you for the actual interviews.

Other Resources

Remember, finding the right research position may take time and persistence, but with these steps and resources, you’ll be well on your way to gaining valuable research experience in psychology. Good luck!