Research Apprenticeship Scheme

University of Plymouth

School of Psychology


The goal of the Research Apprenticeship Scheme is to provide an educational experience to undergraduate students, by exposing them to the process of conducting cutting-edge research in “learning by doing.”


What is the Research Apprenticeship Scheme?

Students can volunteer to conduct research under the supervision of a staff member, and will be involved in various aspects of the research process. These may include, but are not limited to, literature review, planning and design of research studies, preparation of research materials, data collection, data analyses and manuscript preparation. Students may also attend meetings of research groups. The precise involvement will vary depending on the nature of the research and is determined by the staff member supervising the student.


How does it work?

Students who are interested will need to identify a staff supervisor based on their own interests, and based on available apprenticeship positions. Individual staff members decide who to accept. The time involvement will typically consist of 4 hours per week. Students can apply to do the apprenticeship for any of the following terms during Stage 2: Term 1, Term 2, and Summer Term. The scheme is unpaid, and entirely voluntary. Neither students nor staff are required to participate. Students need to check with staff members who they would like to work with if they are willing to accept students (they can check availability on the website). Once a student is accepted however, the placement is normally binding for both parties for the term for which the student applied.


Research Ethics:

The goal of the Research Apprenticeship Scheme is to provide hands-on experience to students, so that they acquire research skills by working one-to-one with a member of academic staff. As part of this learning experience, students will learn about research ethics, because for the apprenticeship, all rules and regulations regarding ethics will have to be followed. As with all other staff-directed research, ethics clearance needs to be obtained for the research. It is the responsibility of the supervisor to educate the students about ethical issues, and to ensure that all regulations pertaining to ethics are followed.


 Benefits to Students:

-          One-to-one training with academic member of staff

-          Exposure to cutting-edge research

-          Preparation for Stage 3 Project

-          Opportunity to receive letter of recommendation from advisor

-          Practical experience relevant to possible post-graduate study

-          Finally, occasionally there are opportunities for selected individuals to continue their apprenticeship work over the summer as part of our undergraduate research assistance scheme. The number of opportunities changes from year to year and depends on a number of factors.  The undergraduate research assistance scheme pays a small bursary to help students with living expenses during the research period.  In years when funding is available, students should discuss this opportunity with their direct SUPERVISOR. The bids for summer undergraduate research assistance are determine via a department pump-priming competition and at time there might not be any funds available.