Note: The Second Edition of this book is now available.


More students are majoring in psychology than ever before—over 85,000 students graduate with psychology degrees each year—so competition for grad-school spots and good jobs is fierce. What are you doing to stand out from the other hundreds of thousands of psychology majors? If a good GPA is all you have to show for your years in college, you may be in trouble.

To go beyond the minimum, students could (and should) get involved in research, develop their scientific writing skills, attend conferences, join clubs and professional organizations, build a library of professional books, and present their research. By getting out of the classroom and actively participating in the real world of psychology, students can build skills that will prepare them for the competitive realms of graduate school and the workforce.

Written in a lighthearted and humorous tone, this book shows both grad-school bound and career-bound students how to seek out and make the most of these opportunities.

Table of Contents


  1. Introduction

  2. Getting Involved in Research

  3. Rewards and Challenges of Research Experience

  4. Getting Psyched: The Joys of the Psychology Lifestyle

  5. Analyzing People, Analyzing Data: Getting More Out of Statistics

  6. Primary Sources: Finding, Reading, and Understanding Journal Articles

  7. Writing Research Papers

  8. Attending Academic Conferences: The Etiquette of Binge Thinking

  9. Presenting a Research Poster: How to Overcome Optical Obscurantism

  10. Presenting a Research Talk: How to Survive Your 12 Minutes of Fame

  11. Conclusion


Appendix: Good Books for Your Professional Library



About the Authors

Author Bios

Paul J. Silvia, PhD, is a social psychologist at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He has served as the director of the department's honors program, and he teaches undergraduate courses on academic writing and professional skills. His other books include How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing (2007) and Exploring the Psychology of Interest (2006).

Peter F. Delaney, PhD, is a cognitive psychologist at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He has won several teaching awards and taught thousands of students, and he conducts laboratory research on human memory and problem solving. He also speaks Armenian.

Stuart Marcovitch, PhD, studies cognitive development at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He is the faculty advisor for Psi Chi—the national honors society for psychology—and is involved with continuously improving the undergraduate curriculum. If asked, he will lecture tirelessly on why batting averages are not technically statistics.